Spotlight on our students: Chelsey Azevedo

Chelsey Azevedo

Chelsey Azevedo is a fourth year Viticulture and Enology major from Salida, California. When she was young, she often went to work with her father at Delicato Family Vineyards. She spent many hours in the tasting room tasting their grape juice and eating parmesan goldfish. Occasionally, she'd go out to the cellar during crush and watch the grapes go from the auger to the press. "I was fascinated by it. But that was the extent of my experience in the wine industry, it never went through my head that I might someday pursue a career in wine." 

She came into UC Davis as a biology major, and during her first quarter I took VEN 2 with Dr. Dario Cantu "because my dad suggested that I take a class about wine making. To this day I still think he had always secretly planned for me to fall in love with this subject." Azevedo loved the class so much that she decided to continue on with VEN 3, taught by Dr. Doug Adams. "That is when I knew that this was the major for me. The major allowed me to continue with my chemistry classes that I enjoyed and allowed for so much hands on activity. My professors made the decision even easier, I knew that if my professors even slightly represented the majority of the people in the industry there was no doubt that I had found my place." 

She loved how the faculty and students in the Viticulture and Enology made her feel at home. "Everyone was so inviting and helpful, and for that I thank each and every one, they all made my time here at Davis unforgettable." 

She found that having a background of science classes such as general chemistry was helpful. "It's the base of making wine, you need to know about pH, how acids and bases react with each other etc." Her core classes proved to be essential when working at her internship at Matchbook Wine Company. "I needed to know the pests and diseases that impact the vines, which I learned in VEN 118 with Dario Cantu. Learning the proper way to do sensory evaluation and the aromas in wines from VEN 125 was beneficial in finding barrels that have gone bad, and describing the aromas in a finished wine." 

She says she chose Matchbook Winery for her internship because it was close to Davis and she'd have direct contact with both winemakers. "Having the opportunity to do an internship where you get to interact with the winemakers every day, and ask them why they are doing something a certain way or why they are not doing something a certain way is something I highly recommend. I would not know the tricks or methods without this amazing opportunity." 

She plans to finish her classes a quarter early so that she can go to New Zealand for a harvest there. "In New Zealand, I will learn more about colder climate varieties and the different methods they use! After New Zealand, I will either do a harvest in Portugal or come back to California, where after a few years I hope to become an assistant wine maker and eventually work my way up to winemaker. After being a winemaker for quite a few years, one day I would absolutely love to own a winery of my own."