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Cougars & Mustangs 

Welcome, students of the world, to your first quarter of Cal Poly! We’re glad to see so many fresh faces, shining, shimmering, splendid, eager to draw in all the knowledge that their classes can provide, and then shoot it back out with a cold one afterward. Yes, yes, we know, you’re hitting the bars so hard that visible dents are left behind, but pull yourselves together! You’re at the prestigious California Polytechnic University—act like it! That is to say, why settle for the cheap stuff when you’re so close to wine country?

Cal Poly, which prides itself on that most sacred of mottos, “Learn By Doing,” attempts to provide every opportunity it can for its students to gain real experience that goes beyond a lecture. Among an uncountable (because it’s so high) number of instances demonstrating learning in action, the school boasts the opportunity for viticulture students to actually try their hand at tending real grapes in an area well suited for it. 

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Well, guess what? That opportunity’s about to get even better! 

Paul Fountain, a retired Cal Poly viticulture and fruit science professor, donated $250,000 to the university’s Wine & Viticulture Department for the purpose of making dearly needed improvements, such as the replanting of now-distressed terrain. As a matter of fact, this generous sum of money will work to replant half of the 12 acres Cal Poly boasts for the purposes of hands-on viticulture education. The grounds previously gave students access to 40 different grape varieties (not all of them wine, of course). The grant boosted that number to more than 100 varieties. 

Fountain, who earned a bachelor’s degree in fruit sciences in 1964, oversaw the development of much of Cal Poly’s vineyard land while serving the school in various related professorial positions. He was even the head of the Crop Sciences Department until he retired in 2001. Portions of the vineyard that fell prey to pests and disease have already been removed, and replanting is scheduled over the next five years. The donation also resulted in a monetary pool from which to draw funds for continued maintenance on the acreage.

So, students, as you begin your respective journeying into the Mustang-ridden wilds, never may ye forget that if college credit can be obtained for the production of alcohol, then—somewhere—there really is a major for you. 

Contributor Chris White-Sanborn drinks to the health of all who have it coming to them. You know who you aren’t. Send her your collegiate news via [email protected].

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