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Winemakers - 2012 Vintage

Clayton Boydston and Jordan Crabtree


Winemakers - 2010 Vintage

Adam Johnson and Tom Schmidt


Winemakers - 2009 Vintage

Erich Fleck and Charley Johnson

Charley Johnson ‘10 and Erich Fleck ’09 described their partnership as “harmonious.” “We trusted each other and we wanted to understand what the other wanted the wine to taste like.” Asked to choose their favorite wines from the 2009 vintage, Fleck acknowledged he is partial to the Chardonnay. “We were able to baby it a bit because it was the first fruit we brought in and we were ready for it,” said Johnson. “We followed it closely all the way up to the harvest,” describing its style as more like an Edna Valley Chardonnay. “Our personal tastes don’t like a lot of oak. We wanted to do something more subtle.” The Pinot Noir will be good, they said, because the fruit is outstanding. It is similar to a Coastal Pinot Noir. “It’s not a big fat Pinot you’d find in warmer regions,” they declared. Cal Poly wine is special, Johnson and Fleck say, because consumers have the opportunity to sample wines made by a new generation of winemakers, who may have different tastes and preferences than prior generations of winemakers. Thus, from one student winemaking team to another, Cal Poly wine might not taste the same because their mentors at Orcutt Road Cellars give the winemakers the flexibility to pursue different directions. “We’re not making ‘millennial’ wines, though—in any given year we’re making the best we can make,” said Fleck.


Winemaker - 2008 Vintage

Michael Horton

Mike received his B.S. in Wine and Viticulture and Agricultural Business in December 2008.  He started his wine career at Edna Valley's Courtside Cellars as a lab technician, running the laboratory alone for two years during harvest swing shift, moved on to a stint making Cal Poly wines at Orcutt Road Cellars, and then an internship at the Montana Gisborne Winery in New Zealand in 2009.  He is once again working at Orcutt Road Cellars.  "Our winery has a great view over the Edna Valley, and a great design that allows natural light into the facility," Horton says.  You can follow his blog at

Winemakers - 2007 Vintage

Michael Bruzus

Michael Bruzus has worked in wineries since 2001. He got his start at Picchetti Winery, part of the historical Santa Cruz Mountains winemaking region. His first harvest was Fall of 2003, and he hasn't missed a season since. The long hours and dedication necessary for working the vineyards and cellars has given him a strong work ethic that is only surpassed by his knowledge and passion for Enology. Michael eventually left Picchetti Winery in 2006 to study at the new Wine and Viticulture program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. For his first internship, he assisted in the 2006 Domaine Alfred (Edna Valley, CA) harvest.

Nicole Chamberlain
Nicole discovered her passion for wine at just the right time, on the eve of her 21st birthday. Prior to her life changing revelation Nicole was studying for a degree in Biology with plans of becoming a dentist like her father. She will soon proudly graduate with a B.S. in Wine and Viticulture with a concentration in Enology and a minor in Agribusiness from Cal Poly. She hopes to use her skills in wine, science and business to pursue her interest in sensory analysis and one day create a sensory firm and a winery of her own. What inspired this change of fate from Bio to Bordeaux? If you want to know that, just pour yourself a glass-- the answer will come.


Winemakers - 2006 Vintage

Kathryn Allegra

Kathryn Allegra moved to San Luis Obispo from the Sonoma coast where she was surrounded by vineyards most of her life. While attending Cal Poly she discovered a passion for wine chemistry, pursuing research projects and internships that prepared her for her first winemaking position: Cal Poly’s inaugural vintage. She graduated in 2006 with a concentration in Enology and minor in Agribusiness. Katie currently works for Paragon Vineyards and remains involved in the Cal Poly Wine & Viticulture program through the Advisory Board.

Luke Holcombe
Luke got his start in the wine industry by judging grapevines for the FFA in high school. His success there led him to pursue viticulture as a career. During his time at Cal Poly, he was highly involved with the Viticulture Enterprise project, which he eventually helped run as a student manager. After completing an internship at McManis Family Vineyards during the 2005 crush, he returned to Cal Poly and promptly changed his major to Wine and Viticulture, with a concentration in Enology. For the 2006 harvest he acted in conjunction with Katie Allegra as the student winemaker for Cal Poly's first vintage. After graduating he accepted the position of assistant winemaker at McManis Family Vineyards.