Vince Petrucci
Vince Petrucci.

Passing of Vincent Petrucci – ‘father’ of Fresno State viticulture-enology

Dr. Petrucci founded the Fresno State Viticulture and Enology Research Center in 1985, which includes the Vincent E. Petrucci Library, and served as its director until his retirement in 1993.

Vincent Petrucci, professor Emeritus of viticulture at California State University, Fresno, is remembered by University President Joseph Castro as “an extraordinarily talented man who shared his special gifts as a Fresno State professor by educating new generations of viticulture and winemaking leaders.”

The University received notice from his family Dec. 28 on the passing of Dr. Petrucci, who taught at Fresno State from 1948 until 1993 and helped establish the university’s renowned viticulture and enology academic program.

Petrucci, who was conferred an honorary doctorate of science by the California State University in 1994, was 91 at his death. His wife of 69 years, Josephine, died last month.

Petrucci founded the Fresno State Viticulture and Enology Research Center in 1985, which includes the Vincent E. Petrucci Library, and served as its director until his retirement in 1993.

A limited Fresno State Winery edition of a student-produced vintage named in his honor, the Petrucci’s Crush wine, was introduced Dec. 1 at a special release event that included Petrucci, family, friends, and alumni; along with the department’s faculty, staff, and students.

Petrucci’s Crush is a red wine blend designed by Petrucci (his first) and Fresno State winemaker Matt Brain. The vintage is comprised of area Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot grapes.

“Vince modeled integrity in his work and in his personal life and he deeply loved his family, especially his devoted late wife Jo,” said President Castro. “His leadership and many contributions form a legacy of academic distinction at Fresno State that will be honored and built upon in the decades to come.”

Fresno State has served viticulture and enology students since 1948 through several programs before the Department of Viticulture and Enology was established in 2000. Fresno was the first California State University campus to combine research and academic offerings in both disciplines.

In 1997, Fresno State became the first university in the nation with a winery bonded to market student-produced wines commercially. Program graduates fill leading grape and wine industry positions worldwide.

Since his retirement, Petrucci published numerous papers and books detailing wine and grape growing best practices.

The V.E. Petrucci Library, which is part of the Henry Madden Library collection, supports and continues this legacy in academics, research, and Extension in the heart of California’s Central Valley for students, university faculty and staff, industry, and general public.  

Among Dr. Petrucci’s many accolades during his 46-year career was lifetime service to the wine grape industry in the Central Valley by the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association in 2009.

“Vince is an icon of viticulture research not just locally but nationally and internationally,” said Kenneth Fugelsang, former Fresno State winemaster and professor emeritus of enology who retired in 2012.

“The University and industry owe him a great deal not only for the tutelage and preparation of students in viticulture and enology, but also for his vision and direction in research that have made a significant contributions in terms of what we know today in the fields of grape and wine,” Fugelsang said.

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