Wine and Viticulture

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A Big Thank You!

The Wine and Viticulture Department is thankful to its industry partners who have donated and discounted equipment to fill the new on-campus winery in the JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture, and to support our current wine production programs. 

“This donated equipment will not only allow our faculty and students to make wine on campus, it will also provide critical Learn by Doing experiences for our students using equipment similar to what they will experience in the industry,” said Department Head Benoît Lecat.

The following equipment is a sample of some of the generous gifts the department has received:

Equipment for Justin and J.lohr Center For Wine and Viticulture


  • ETS Laboratories, an independent ISO-accredited wine and spirits laboratory headquartered in Saint Helena, California, is providing analytical services for senior projects, research and classes valued at up to $10,000 per year. “Their expertise is invaluable in supporting rigorous quality control through cutting-edge technologies,” Lecat said. “Recently ETS Laboratories developed a great set of tools to test grapes and wines for smoke impact, which is affecting much of California’s wine industry.”


  • Our partner Cooperages 1912 Napa has named a barrel room in The Lohr Family Winery.


  • Scott Laboratories donated equipment for the crush pad, including an incline conveyer, Armbruster Rotovib destemmer, Armbruster Vibrating Sorting Table, and an Armbruster Must pump. Lecat said, “In recognition of this generous donation, the winery’s crush pad will be named the Scott Laboratories Crush Pad.”


  • Slot Drain Systems Inc. donated $30,000 and supplied the drainage system for the new winery. Its unique slot drain system is the first pre-sloped, prefabricated drain system. The stainless steel drains are designed to handle harsh temperatures and chemicals without corroding, while also reducing bacteria and saving time and energy in cleaning.


  • The winery will use Cloacina’s Membrane Bioreactor Package unit as a wastewater management system. “We chose this system as a long-term investment in our future, knowing that new statewide wastewater regulations are likely on the horizon,” Lecat said. Cloacina generously discounted this equipment and is offering free quarterly services.


  • Scott Laboratories also donated an Oenoflow FIT crossflow filtration system. Cal Poly will share this piece of equipment with Fresno State’s Viticulture and Enology Research Center. 


  • Custom Covers Inc. donated custom burgundy, open top covers for tanks.


  • Pellenc donated an optical sorter that gives students and faculty the ability to sort berries quickly and with precision.


  • ClearWater Tech has donated to the winery a Clean-in-Place panel mount ozone system. The system will reduce the need for chemicals and hot water and provides an environmentally friendly process for cleaning.


  • Richetti Water Solutions is donating a reverse osmosis system and is supplying a carbon filter system to remove chlorine from the water of the entire winery.


  • The Belli Family, owners of Westec Tank and Equipment, made a cash donation of $100,000 to the Center for Wine and Viticulture, and Westec fabricated the majority of the tanks in the new winery. “In addition to providing our large blending tanks, production tanks and smaller tanks for our student-made wines, Westec is working with Associate Professor Federico Casassa to design small, 30-gallon research fermenters,” Lecat said. Anyone interested in naming a tank, which ranges in cost from $25,000 to $50,000, should contact Allyson Dela Cruz at
  • On Sept. 8, 2020, the Westec Tanks were delivered and installed.

      Wine Production

      Commercial, Student-made, and Research Wines


      • The following companies have donated barrels: Cooperages 1912 Napa, Leroi, Independent Stave Co., Rewine Barrels, and also Michele Testa McGarry from Seguin Moreau, Tommy Gentry from Cadus, Coby Parker-Garcia from Francois Freres, and Bernard Retornaz from Louis Latour.


      Special thanks to our partner Chamisal, part of Crimson Group, and General Manager and Head Winemaker Fintan de Fresne and his team.


      • Multi-Color Corp./WS Packaging.


      • G3 Enterprises donated Diam closures and bottles.
      • Scott Labs for large-format corks.


      • J. Lohr donated Cabernet Sauvignon.
      • Stinton Family (Shell Creek Vineyards) donated Valdiguié.


      Cal Poly colleague Rhonda Cooper (Wine and Viticulture, ’09), Payroll Department, donated various carboys, lab glassware and an auto-buret. She also gave a Buono Jet filter exactly like the one we have now, so two students can filter at the same time.


      • Encore glass donated wine bottles and Cork Supply donated the closures for the student-made wines.


      • Digital Dogma donated printing services for student-created labels.


      • Dana Merrill of Mesa Vineyard Management donated some Chardonnay, Merlot, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot grapes for the last two years.
      • John Machado from White Hills Vineyard donated Chardonnay grapes for the last two years.
      • Monterey Pacific (Alta Loma) donated Syrah grapes.
      • Deaver Family Vineyards donated Zinfandel grapes.
      • E. & J. Gallo, Sunnybrook, Petite Sirah.
      • Newlin Hastings donated Viognier, Cabernet franc and Petit Verdot.


      • Laffort USA
      • Enartis
      • Gusmer
      • Scott Labs



      • G3 Enterprises donated Diam closures and bottles.


      • Sunnybrook Ranch and Sierra Madre Ranch.


      • George Donati and his team working for Pacific Coast Farming.
      Many thanks to all anonymous supporters who gave their time or service to the department. Anyone interested in making a donation to Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture Department should contact Allyson Dela Cruz at

      Santa Barbara County Wine Community

      Department Head Benoît Lecat gave a presentation to the board of the Santa Barbara Vintners Association about Cal Poly’s wine and viticulture program (WVIT), the new JUSTIN and J.LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture, and opportunities for wine industry leaders and corporations in Santa Barbara to get involved with faculty and students. The WVIT Department thanks the generous Santa Barbara County supporters who have stepped up to support Cal Poly students and Learn by Doing.


      Andrew and Kristen Murray of Andrew Murray Vineyards made a generous donation to name a production tank in the JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture. Andrew firmly believes in Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing teaching approach and has hired a number of Cal Poly interns and graduates over the years. He was instrumental in introducing the Cal Poly wine and viticulture program to the Domestic Rhône Tech event, which aims to enhance knowledge and foster growth while celebrating and preserving California’s Rhône heritage. Proceeds from this event in 2019 were graciously donated to Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture Department.


      Coastal Vineyard Care Associates also made a donation to name a production tank in the JUSTIN and J. LOHR Center for Wine and Viticulture. “Alumni Ben Merz (Wine and Viticulture, ’00) and Mike Testa (Wine and Viticulture, ’05) along with their partners Jeff Newton and Ruben Solorzano are excited to get involved with the program and collaborate with our faculty and students in the field and in the classroom,” Lecat said. “We look forward to engaging the CVCA team to tap into their renowned expertise in applying sustainable, organic and biodynamic principles in the management of vineyards.”


      Cambria Estate Winery and Brewer-Clifton Winery made generous donations to support the Black, Indigenous, People of Color Scholarship in Wine and Viticulture. Their generosity will help support students of color aspiring for a successful career in the wine industry.

      World of Pinot Noir

      The World of Pinot Noir was established in 2001 by a small, dedicated group of winemakers from California’s San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties wine regions as a nonprofit trade organization. Its mission is to bring Pinot noir producers from the most exceptional and unique regions in the world together with enthusiasts for a weekend of celebration and education. They organize an annual event at the beginning of March that includes three days of in-depth wine seminars; vineyard excursions; grand tastings and gourmet, locally influenced lunches and dinners — all manned by a team of experienced sommeliers.

      Effect of Extreme Fermentation Temperature Regimes in the Detailed Phenolic and Chromatic Composition of Three Pinot noir Clones from the Central Coast of California

      The World of Pinot Noir board of directors has pledged $5,000 to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department to support Pinot noir research. 

      Associate professor of enology and sensory analysis Federico Casassa, Ph.D., and graduate student Josh Reynolds will use the funds to finance the data collection and analysis of the project “Effect of Extreme Fermentation Temperature Regimes in the Detailed Phenolic and Chromatic Composition of Three Pinot noir Clones from the Central Coast of California.”


      Visit Vines to Wines Fall 2020 to read more stories.

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