An Interview with Lila Mague ’18
A summer lacrosse camp at Fresno State was the first time she heard about a major in Viticulture. She was drawn to the idea of blending science and creativity in a major that provides lots of opportunities in the wine industry. Surprisingly, it was only offered at 4 CA schools to obtain a Bachelors - Cal Poly SLO, UC Davis, Fresno State and MiraCosta. Lila wanted to be by the ocean and play college lacrosse…so CAL Poly was it!
Viticulture is in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences and your courses focus heavily on chemistry, environmental science and business. You learn the principles of wine grape growing, winemaking and the wine business. There are around 80 students per grade in the major and every Tuesday they meet as a club and listen to guest speakers from all over the wine industry share their experiences. Lila shared, “It’s fascinating to learn how different winemakers found their place in the wine industry, how the wine industry has changed and it’s a great networking opportunity for summer internships and jobs”.
Last year, Lila planned to study abroad in Italy but the pandemic changed her plans….thankfully, as she was awarded the 2020 Winemaker of the Year! This title is bestowed on one student each year who is selected by the head of the Enology Department within the Wine and Viticulture Program. The award goes to a student who presents strong knowledge of winemaking concepts along with a passion and drive for the industry as well as an authentic understanding of cultivation that starts at the vine and finishes in the glass!
“I am so honored to have been selected amongst my classmates for this award and to have the privilege of working a full harvest at Chamisal Vineyards”, commented Lila. “It was such an incredible experience! Never a dull moment, always something new to learn and I had fun everyday working the harvest. We produced three labels under Cal Poly Wines - Rose, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir”.
This summer she is interning with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits as a sales trainee learning the business side of the wine industry. She’ll learn about distribution, consumer behavior, working with buyers and refining her communication skills. Good luck Lila and looking forward to enjoying a bottle of wine from your own winery someday!