Dr. S. Kaan Kurtural, a viticulture researcher and instructor from the University of Kentucky, will join California State University, Fresno’s Department of Viticulture and Enology as the inaugural Bronco Wine Co. Viticulture Chair.

Kurtural will conduct research focusing on wine grape production and vineyard management in the San Joaquin Valley, said Dr. Robert Wample, chair and director of the Department of Viticulture and Enology and Viticulture and Enology Research Center.

Kurtural also will teach undergraduate and graduate classes in general and mechanized viticulture and also work closely with Valley grape growers to improve efficiencies and quality.

Kurtural will be introduced to the grape and wine industry on Aug. 12 at Fresno State Grape Day, a field day and open house for growers and winemakers to get acquainted with the university’s viticulture and enology facilities and faculty.

The new chair is funded as part of a 10-year pledge to the department through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology by Ceres-based Bronco Wine Co., the nation’s fourth largest winery.

The company is owned by Fred T. Franzia, Joseph S. Franzia and John Franzia Jr.

Fred Franzia also serves on the university’s Viticulture and Enology Industry Advisory Board, composed of industry leaders.

“We appreciate the generosity of Fred Franzia and the Bronco Wine Company for establishing this position at Fresno State,” Wample said. “We look forward to the many contributions that Dr. Kurtural will make to our program and to the grape and wine industry in the Valley.”

At Kentucky, Kurtural was an adjunct assistant professor-viticulture specialist. He received his bachelor’s degree in field crops and business management in 1997, a master’s degree in pomology (2000) and a doctorate in plant physiology with a specialization in viticulture and minor in statistics (2005), all from Southern Illinois University.