Wine and Viticulture

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Winemaker Showcase Dinner - Fall 2020

Raises More Than $150,000 to Support Student Development

The Wine and Viticulture Department (WVIT) celebrated its 25th anniversary of the Cal Poly Winemaker Showcase, which raised more than $150,000 to support student development.

The event, formerly known as the Cal Poly Winemaker Dinner, was held on Feb. 28, 2020, and included a formal dinner at Villa Loriana in San Luis Obispo. 

“The Winemaker Showcase allows us to honor alumni who have gone on to produce fabulous wines from all over the country,” said WVIT Department Head Benoît Lecat. 

Kim Ledbetter-Bronson (Agribusiness, ’96) from Vino Farms was the guest of honor. 

“As CFO, Ledbetter-Bronson oversees her family’s farming operation every day, including all financial and legal activities for the business that farms over 17,000 acres,” Lecat said.

Since its inception, the Cal Poly Winemaker Showcase has been run entirely by WVIT students. This year’s team was managed by Melissa Mannon, Emily Cross, Allie Donegan, Scarlett Hartmann, Shelby Frey and Brianna McMillan. They produced and managed the event, which included silent and live auctions. Almost half of the $150,000 raised will go to purchase a state-of-the-art bladder press for the newly erected Cal Poly Winery.

“In this unpredictable time of COVID-19, the new student team is planning to be ready for  anything,” Lecat said. “Led by Shelby Frey and Bri McMillan under the supervision of event planner specialist Amber Karson, the students plan to reimagine how the showcase might look in 2021.”


2020 Winemaker Showcase team
Left to right: Melissa Mannon, Brianna McMillan, Shelby Frey, Scarlett Hartmann, Allie Donegan, Emily Cross

For more information, go to the Wine and Viticulture Department website or email

Visit Vines to Wines Fall 2020 to read more stories.

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