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Lucio Zepeda, a sophomore plant science major, picks zinfandel grapes
Horsehill Vineyards is a partnership project between The Collins College of Hospitality Management, the College of Agriculture, and South Coast Winery. These groups each lend different areas of expertise that result in the finished product. Master winemaker Jon McPherson of South Coast Winery makes the wines on behalf of the university.
The name Horsehill comes from the area on campus where a portion of the grapes are grown. The former horse pasture is now the location of The Collins College. The grapes are grown on a south-facing slope a few hundred yards from the college. Additional grapes are grown at AGRIscapes on a southeast-facing hillside.
Proceeds from the wine support a culinary garden, located near the student-managed and operated Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch. Fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden are incorporated into the dishes at the restaurant. The sustainable garden creates a valuable farm-to-table lesson for both hospitality management and agriculture students.
The Zinfandel vineyards themselves are a living link to the viticultural heritage of the region. The grapes, which grow on campus, have been cultivated from cuttings from the historic De Ambrogio Ranch in Rancho Cucamonga. Before the ranch was razed for development in 2001, third-generation vintner Don Galleano combed the fields and selected 400 grapevine cuttings, some of them nearly 100 years old, and donated them to the university.