Alumni Troy and Basia Gillespie pledged $1.2 million to help fund a new viticulture lab.

“We know the value of viticulture and want to invest in its future because it is so important that students go down that path,” Troy Gillespie said in a press release. “You need good, quality grapes to make good wine, and Cal Poly’s hands-on style of teaching is invaluable to the future of the industry.”

According to the press release, the planned Center for Wine and Viticulture will include a commercial-grade, bonded winery and learning facility that will provide students with a full understanding of the wine and viticulture industry.

“The Cal Poly Center for Wine and Viticulture will be a model for the hands-on learning for which Cal Poly is known,” Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Andrew Thulin said in the press release. “With the visionary support of generous individuals and families like the Gillespies, we will soon have a world-class facility for teaching the next generation of wine professionals.”

The approximately 40,000-square-foot bonded winery will include crush, fermentation, bottling and barrel rooms, along with teaching and meeting facilities. There will also be sensory, enology and viticulture teaching labs as well as commercial and catering kitchens, and university and public meeting spaces, according to the press release.

The center is being designed and construction is planned to begin within the next couple years.

To help with the project, contact Director of Development Grant Kirkpatrick at

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