Student Spotlight: Jose Novoa (Sunview Summer Internship)
Viticulture junior Jose Novoa (Ventucopa) had plenty of industry experience early on thanks to his father who is a winegrape vineyard manager, but his summer internship with Sunview gave him a whole new perspective on table & raisin grape production.
Sunview is a highly-respected Central Valley grape and raisin producer for over 60 years, and he worked in its vineyards in southern Kern County (near Mettler, Arvin, and Bakersfield).
Learn more about the campus viticulture club officer and transfer from Allan Hancock College in this recent interview.
Q: What types of tasks did you do in your internship at Sunview?
Novoa: "I was involved with berry counts, cluster weights, sugar & acid testing, the release of beneficial insects, and collecting maximum residue level (MRL) samples."
Q: What skills did you gain from the internship that they can apply to your career?
Novoa: "I learned a lot from all my experiences since it was my first time working with table grapes. I learned about the cultural practices that are used for this crop and the reason why certain practices were utilized. I was also able to experience how the company prepared for and operated during harvest."
Novoa: "Sunview also held intern meetings every Friday, where we were able to learn about the different departments and facilities that the company has."
Q: What were your most memorable experiences from the internship?
Novoa: "Being able to talk to people from different departments within the company, and seeing how they worked together with their co-workers to be able to complete certain jobs. Also, the ranch managers (like Fresno State alum Craig Bono) were always willing to help the interns with any problem or question that we had. They were always teaching and showing us new things that happened out in the vineyards."
Q: How did you find out about the internship?
Novoa: "Our viticulture & enology department held a resume workshop last year where many companies were present, and of course Sunview was one of those companies."
Q: What is your background in agriculture before you started at Fresno State?
Novoa: "At a young age I started learning and gaining interest about grapes from my dad, who is in charge of a 1,200-acre wine grape vineyard in the Cuyama Valley. Throughout high school and even now I have worked almost every summer at the vineyard, where I have learned about canopy management, irrigation, pest scouting, harvest crew management, and many other things."
Q: What were some of your favorite memories?
Novoa: "I love being able to go out during harvest time with my dad and getting on the grape harvesters."
Q: Why did you choose Fresno State & its viticulture & enology program?
Novoa: "They have a very good program, and I had visited the campus before. I just knew it was the school for me."
Q: What part of the profession do you enjoy the most?
Novoa: "Harvest time, because at that point in the year you are finally able to see the results of all the hard work that was put into the vineyard to be able to produce good quality grapes."
Q: What's your potential next career step, and how do you plan to use your degree with eventually?
Novoa: "After graduation, I plan on getting a job as a viticulturist within the grape industry, and later I plan on starting a vineyard management company."