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A Whole New Spin on College Drinking

The other night, I got to give a lecture at California State University, Fresno. I particularly like college lectures because of the audience blend: students (young), faculty/staff (usually medium age), and members of the community (typically older). It made me realize how seldom these different age cohorts assemble naturally. Too bad: the folks at Fresno were a great audience, and I hope they enjoyed me half as much as I enjoyed them.

Anyway … Fresno is in the heart of California’s massive agriculture country, so it wasn’t surprising to learn that the university does a lot of work in viticulture. But here’s what did surprise me: it is the only university in the country with a license to bottle and sell its own wine. I was told this by the university’s provost, Jeri Echeverria, who was great fun and fascinating to talk to — and who, after telling me about the wine license, added that Fresno wouldn’t be alone for long. Other universities, she said, were getting in line to bring out their own vintages. I can see why. Aside from providing a great training opportunity, it’s also good for marketing the university and perhaps even earning a few dollars.

FWIW, the Fresno red was good: a big, bright bell, perhaps a little too bouncy, but receding nicely into a sort of cherry/artichoke mellow. Or something like that.