Students study wine in California

In 1935, not long after the repeal of Prohibition, the University of California’s department of viticulture and enology moved to Davis from Berkeley, where it had been established in 1880.

Ever since, students have been pausing in Davis en route to careers as grape growers, winemakers, lab technicians, cellar workers.

Most are American, but each year about 10 percent of the department’s students are from outside the United States – South Africa, Argentina, Israel, Mexico, Italy, Korea, India and France are some of the count.

They pay a premium – this year, $27,007 in student fees for undergraduates compared with $8,323 for Californians – but few other centers of wine education and research have the stature of UC Davis.

“My studies at Davis [showed me] the pros and cons in winemaking technology,” says Christian Moueix, one of the world’s more accomplished winemakers. Moueix owns both Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux and Dominus Estate in Napa Valley. He was a graduate student at UC Davis in the late 1960s.

Unlike Moueix, most international students at UC Davis don’t end up in California, but return home to use their Davis education to compete against their former classmates in an increasingly global economy. Nonetheless, this seems not to bother any of the students, regardless of where they are from.

“I have never encountered a [negative] attitude from any of my fellow students,” says Jose Lovaglio, a senior from Argentina. “On the contrary, a lot of the American students have asked me about internships abroad to learn our ways of making wine.”

Lovaglio is one of three international students who talked about how they got to UC Davis, what they are learning and where they eventually hope to apply their lessons. The others are Karishma Grover from India and Jonas Mueller from Germany.


Age: 22

Home:Mendoza, Argentina

Year: Senior

Even if he’d wanted to, Jose Lovaglio couldn’t have escaped the smells of fermenting grape juice as he grew up.

His home was in his family’s Argentine winery.

“The upper floor, connected by a staircase that doesn’t even have a door, is our house. From our living room we could watch people working at the tanks,” Lovaglio recalls between classes at UC Davis.

Over the past four years, he’s learned the science behind those smells, but their pull remains personal and strong.