Fresno State, Hancock College to host event in Santa Maria for

growers and vintners — early bird registration is Feb. 22

Growers and vintners throughout California are invited to attend the fourth annual Central Coast Viticulture and Enology Issues Conference on March 8 and 9 in Santa Maria.

This two-day collaborative event between California State University, Fresno’s Viticulture and Enology Research Center (VERC) and Allan Hancock College’s Enology and Viticulture Program will be held at the Santa Maria Airport Regency Hotel and Conference Center.

The educational event is designed for professionals in the grape and wine industry, as well as those who are currently seeking careers in the field.

Each year the conference attracts new and established vineyard managers, owners, and vintners from several of California’s grape growing regions. Many of the central coast’s grape and wine industry leaders also participate or attend this annual conference.

Local and statewide speakers focus on current grape and wine issues through presentations, panel discussions, and tours to local vineyard and winery operations.

This year’s conference will focus on grapevine water management strategies.

“Because agriculture is the largest consumer of water, we can expect to be scrutinized by the rest of society, especially as water resources become limited,” said Robert L. Wample, director of the Viticulture and Enology Research Center and chair of the newly created Department of Viticulture and Enology at Fresno State.

“As the interface between vineyards and our surrounding communities becomes more intense, we need to be proactive in our management practices to be as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible,” Wample said. “This conference is intended to provide growers with the detailed, fundamental knowledge to achieve the goals of increased efficiency with equal or better yield and quality.”

Wample will join Keith Patterson, viticulture instructor in the Crop Science Department at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and other university and industry representatives on the program.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. on March 8 at the Santa Maria Airport Regency Hotel. The program concludes the following afternoon.

The registration fee for this year’s conference is $145 per person. Organizers are offering a special discount fee of $130 per person for those who preregister by Feb. 22. Student discounts and discounts for additional registrants from the same company are also available.

The registration fee includes admission to all sessions and sponsor exhibits, the tour, refreshments and lunch on both days and a program booklet. The Santa Maria Airport Hotel is also offering a special discount on overnight accommodations for participants. Checks and/or credit cards (Visa or MasterCard) will be accepted.

For an additional fee, participants will have an opportunity to network with organizers, sponsors, and presenters at a local area restaurant on March 8. Round trip transportation to this special dinner will be provided from the Santa Maria Airport Regency Hotel and Conference Center.

Cynthia Wood, information services coordinator for the Viticulture and Enology Research Center at Fresno State, and Merilark Padgett-Johnson, Allan Hancock College’s full-time enology/viticulture instructor and program coordinator, are coordinating this year’s program.

To receive a registration flyer, contact VERC at (559) 278-2089. Organizations interested in sponsorship details may contact Wood at (559) 278-7135 or email For more information about Allan Hancock College, visit and select enology as your quick link to the enology and viticulture program website.