Wine and Viticulture

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Worth the Wait

Membership Opens for the Cal Poly Wine Club

By Lecturer Adrienne Ferrara

“Heck yes, I’ll join,” exclaimed alumna Rachel Lippa (Wine and Viticulture, ’19) when asked if she’s planning to become a member of the recently launched Cal Poly Wine Club. Lippa was one of many wine and viticulture students who played a role in launching the club. 

“Cal Poly has given so much to me that I want to give back, and I think this is the perfect opportunity! Not only will I be supporting student professional development, I’ll also get to enjoy the amazing wine,” she said. 

The Cal Poly Wine Club has been in the making for quite a while. Some things can’t be rushed. Just as some fine wines require time to age, the Cal Poly Wine Club needed time to launch. 

It’s taken nearly a decade for Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture (WVIT) Department and WVIT Lecturer Adrienne Ferrara to see the fruits of their labor come to fruition. Ferrara is thrilled to open membership to Cal Poly alumni, friends, parents and supporters. Currently, membership is to California residents only.

“We are excited about this new chapter,” Ferrara said. “The wine club will allow us to showcase our commercial student-influenced wines on a quarterly basis to people who want to support our program and students.”

The wines are carefully crafted by students under the mentoring of enology Associate Professor Federico Casassa. “We grow the grapes on campus, make the wines, handle the marketing, and now pick and pack the wine club shipments,” Ferrara said. “Student fingerprints will be on every box.”

The club is another avenue to support and expand students’ hands-on learning opportunities. 

“I learned so much about packaging, compliance and working with a fulfillment warehouse. If that isn’t Learn by Doing, I don’t know what is,” said alumna Ivy Thompson (Wine and Viticulture, ’19), who now works as an account sales executive for Regal Wine Co. in San Luis Obispo County. “I helped develop the new wine club website, brainstormed ideas about allocation frequency, and helped set goals for the club. I hope this shows our supporters that we have some exciting things going on in WVIT!”

Alumna Lippa added, “The club gives students a way to showcase what they’re doing, whether their concentration is in enology, viticulture or wine business,” she said. “Working with Cal Poly Wine, we gained skills in sales, marketing, logistics, customer service, supply chain management and much more! These skills enhance our professional development more than any textbook could.”

Lippa, who now handles sales and project development for Bozzano & Co. in San Luis Obispo, also helped build the club’s website. “This was the first step to starting the wine club,” she said. “We needed the online platform to support our sales and the club.” 

She also created digital and print marketing content while learning to master Adobe programs such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.

Club Details

  • Cal Poly Wine Club members will receive six bottles per shipment, three bottles each of two featured wines. 
  • The shipments will be delivered to club members’ doors three times annually, in line with the quarter system, but skipping the warm summer quarter. 
  • Members who join during this inaugural year will be elevated to Legacy Membership and will receive a surprise Cal Poly-branded gift with every wine shipment.
  • Legacy Memberships will close at the end of 2020, at which time any members thereafter will become Mustang Members. In 2021, members can expect notice of exclusive release parties and special access to Cal Poly events.
  • Each shipment will include a newsletter with updates, wine pairings and recipes. 
  • Each shipment costs $120-$145, plus tax, shipping and handling. 
  • The proceeds generated by the wine club will help bolster winemaking activities and maintain Cal Poly’s new winery, which is expected to open by the end of fall 2020.

For more information or to sign up for membership, go online to: or contact Adrienne Ferrara at 805-756-6781 or


Visit Vines to Wines Fall 2020 to read more stories.

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