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The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Chanel Madison

Enology Student Spotlight: Chanel Madison

Fresno State's national reputation as a leader in training the next generation of great winemakers is confirmed by recent #FresnoStateGrad Chanel Madison.

The Northern Virginia native was inspired to travel cross country and earn an undergraduate enology degree at Fresno State and follow a dream career path shared by a relative who owns a winery in France. 

As a student assistant at the campus winery, she has added great experience to her classes (including a win in a wine label contest this spring between two Fresno State enology classes). 

Learn more about her background, and what's potentially ahead after she finishes her summer winemaking internship at Trefethen in Napa Valley. 


Q: Why did you choose to attend Fresno State, and how did you select your degree area?

Madison: "I chose to attend Fresno State because I knew I wanted to learn all parts of winemaking, and I knew that the program here is very hands-on. I thought I'd learn a lot and that I'd have a great start to my career. I grew up on a farm, so I knew from an early age that I wanted to work with my hands and not in an office." 

Q: Which classes and faculty members had the biggest influence on you while at Fresno State and why?

Madison: "Some of my favorite classes were Wine Analysis & Production and Advanced Sensory Evaluation of Wine, both taught by Dr. (Miguel) Pedroza. I took them simultaneously, and I learned so much about the winemaking process as well as how to properly analyze wine and make decisions in all areas." 

Madison: "I was involved in a sensory research trial with Dr. Pedroza involving smoke taint in wine. This is a huge problem in our industry, and it's something that I'll be facing in my career, so I really appreciate Dr. Pedroza involving me in some forefront research."


Q: Were you a part of any other clubs/organizations at Fresno State?

Madison: "I was the social chair of the Enology Society here on campus. We hosted weekly wine tastings that included the Fresno community so it was a great opportunity to share what we're learning here in our program. We invited Fresno State alumni winemakers to pour their wines and tell their stories. It was great to hear about their careers, and it was a good networking opportunity as well." 


Q: Have you overcome any challenges to get where you are today that have shaped who you are?

Madison: "Moving across the country to a state where I didn't know anyone taught me a lot of independence. I put myself out of my comfort zone, and it really helped me mature."