The first graduate of Charles Sturt University's (CSU's) wine science course will return for the University's 25 year reunion of wine education on Friday 29 June.
Evan Ward, winemaker with Morton Estate in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, graduated with a wine science degree from CSU in 1978.
He will return to the Wagga Wagga Campus with many of the 564 former students who have graduated from CSU's highly regarded wine science, viticulture and winegrowing courses over the last quarter of a century.
The reunion will link with the 11.30am opening of the first stage of the CD Blake Experimental Winery, a joint $650 000 project between CSU and NSW Agriculture.
The new experimental teaching and research facility, located in a renovated heritage cask hall at the Ron Potter Centre, will be opened by CSU Chancellor Mr David Asimus AO and the Director-General of NSW Agriculture, Dr Kevin Sheridan AO.
The former students will reminisce over lunch before a seminar at 3pm at CSU's Swan Theatre that will reflect on the past and outline the University's ongoing commitment to the wine industry. This will be followed by a reunion dinner featuring wines made by past and current CSU students.
Head of the School of Wine & Food Sciences and Director of the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre, Professor Geoff Scollary, said 25 years of wine education was a great milestone for CSU.
"It shows CSU's commitment to the wine industry and, coupled with the opening of the experimental winery and ongoing industry partnerships, demonstrates that CSU wants to provide the best environment for wine industry education and also to provide an effective environment for industry research."
Former CSU students include Peter Hayes, Director of Viticulture for Southcorp (Rosemount); Amanda Jones, winemaker and joint owner of Chateau Carsin in Bordeaux, France; Randolph Bowen, General Manager of Wine Production for Beringer Blass Wine Estates; and Robin Day, International Wine Development Director with the Pernod Ricard Group.