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The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Matt Rule

Enology Alumni Spotlight: Matt Rule

Fresno State alumnus Matt Rule has a unique perspective on Fresno State and the power of its enology program, thanks to his undergraduate degree and enology certificate. He also worked three years in the award-winning Fresno State Winery as a student intern, then served a year as its interim winemaker in 2014-15.

The Stockton area native later rounded out his winemaking portfolio with experience in Lodi and Gilroy and in the Red Mountain American Viticulture Area (AVA) in southeast Washington. At the latter location, he served as an assistant winemaker for three years at Hedges Family Estate, which won high scores from Wine Enthusiast magazine and various medals in area wine competitions.

Now as the Ramos Torres winemaker since 2020, he oversees the production of approximately 25 wines a year at the Kingsburg location, while pushing his career in new directions with naturally-focused methods.

Learn how he continues to take pride in championing high-quality, Central Valley wines in this recent interview.


Q: Give us some background on your winemaker position at Ramos Torres winery, and why you enjoy working there.

Rule: "We're a small Central Valley winery, and we specialize in small quantity production. We often try to incorporate older winemaking techniques such as low-SO2 wine and petillant 'naturel'. It's been great since I have a lot of freedom to make wines in a style that I prefer. Although it can be a lot of work at times, it's rewarding to taste a wine that I worked on that I really enjoy."

Q: Any recent awards to mention?

Rule: "I haven't been at this winery for too long so I've only submitted a few wines to competitions. I did get a silver medal on a sparkling white wine. I'm really trying to perfect the petillant naturel process (the process of finishing the fermentation and carbonation in the bottle) because I think some super-interesting wines can be made that way. So, more improvements are to come."


Q: Why were you drawn towards an enology degree and winemaking career, and how did Fresno State prepare you for that path?

Rule: "My interest in the winemaking process started because I was really liked the chemistry and biology aspect, and also working in the cellar. (At Fresno State) I had a lot of great, hands-on experience in both the lab and winery and good training from the faculty. (Faculty) Ken Fugelsang had a big impact on me and my education because his courses got me interested in wine chemistry and production methods."


Q: How did working at our campus winery shape your career?

Rule: "Making wine at Fresno State and supervising the wine production class for a year was very helpful because it taught me to think for myself and think on my feet at the same time. It forced me to get very organized, and plan things out along with backup plans. It was a lot of work, but it was also very rewarding to help the students with cellar activities. It taught me a lot about how to really run a winery. I worked there as an intern for three years prior and learned a good deal about everything."


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

Rule: "The wine industry is not an easy place to break into since there are so few quality jobs available. Eventually with hard work and persistence it paid off, and I found a position that I can thrive in."

Matt Rule