A wine-making workshop at Cal State San Marcos aims to stir North County’s interest in the craft, with advice for both amateur and professional vintners.

The day-long workshop on July 28 will cover the fundamentals of viticulture and wine-making, with a lecture by John Giannini, a faculty member at California State University Fresno’s Department of Viticulture and Enology.

Giannini will cover red and white wine production, fermentation processes and aspects of wine chemistry, in the third session of a lecture series hosted by the university.

“There’s a huge number of new winemakers, both amateur and professional in the county,” said Ron Gerevas, a business professor and advisory board member at the university, and himself an award-winning winemaker.

“That is one of the things that could differentiate our college at CSUSM, if we led the way to raising the level of knowledge and visibility and sophistication in viticulture and enology (wine-making) in San Diego.”

The county, historically a grape-growing region, has seen a resurgence in grape cultivation and wine-making in recent years, as water needed to irrigate citrus and avocado orchards has become scarce, Gerevas said.

“Now we have a shortage of water, water is more expensive, and farmers are converting back to grapes,” he said.

Since 2011, Escondido city officials and community leaders have been focused on expanding Escondido’s wine industry[1], which includes more than a dozen wineries, and boosting the area’s reputation for wine-making.

Belle Marie Winery will launch a joint tasting room[2] in September to help some small local wineries market their products, the Escondido Chamber of Commerce has launched weekend tours of local wineries, and Cal State San Marcos is adding wine-making seminars.

The lecture series began with free talks by Pete Anderson, a Carlsbad resident and grape mentor with San Diego Amateur Wine-making Society, whom Gerevas describes as the “Johnny Appleseed of the wine world.”

Anderson, who grows Italian varietals in his own small vineyard, said he discussed grape-growing techniques in an effort to gauge interest in the program.

After 152 participants showed up for his first talk, he sought to expand the workshops with help from Fresno State University’s viticulture program.

Faculty members from Fresno State delivered an overview of wine-making, and a primer on vineyard management, in two previous lectures, Anderson said.

Those paid workshops drew about 75 participants, organizers said, ranging from new amateur winemakers, to emerging commercial vintners and restauranteurs seeking to expand their wine knowledge.

Giannini’s lecture this month is the third in the series, and will cover topics including communicating with growers, grape maturity evaluation, white and red wine production, fermentation monitoring, volatile sulfur compounds, malolactic fermentation, pre-harvest and grape issues, winery sanitation, yeast nutrition, pH and titratable acidity, oxidation and sulfur dioxide, according to a statement on the workshop.

If the workshop series goes well, CSUSM could expand on the program by introducing wine-making certificates, and potentially add a viticulture degree, officials said.

“What we’re doing now is testing the waters to see. ‘Is this a sustainable program?'” Anderson said. “If so, then the school will consider offering it as a certificate. There’s a lot of people here getting into the commercial aspect of wine-making.”

The upcoming viticulture seminar will take place at Cal State San Marcos on Saturday July 28 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Entry is $75 per person, including lunch, refreshments and parking. Guests in the Temecula area can attend the simulcast presentation at the CSUSM at Temecula campus for $50.

For more information or to reserve a spot, please call 760-750-4270 or email Carrie Smith at casmith@csusm.edu[3]. Register online at www.csusm.edu/coba/viticulture[4].

The CSUSM business college will also sponsor a wine festival on Sept. 8, featuring tastings from amateur and commercial wineries, and local restaurants. For information and upcoming ticket sales, visit: cobawinefestival.com[5].

For more news, sports and entertainment coverage of North San Diego County, like us on Facebook[6].

References

  1. ^ Escondido’s wine industry (www.nctimes.com)
  2. ^ joint tasting room (m.nctimes.com)
  3. ^ casmith@csusm.edu (www.nctimes.com)
  4. ^ www.csusm.edu/coba/viticulture (www.csusm.edu)
  5. ^ cobawinefestival.com (www.nctimes.com)
  6. ^ like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com)

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