UC Davis Study Abroad, Summer Abroad France, Introduction to Winemaking Program, Header Image, Overview Page

Summer Abroad France - Instructor

Introduction to Winemaking

Charles "Chik' Brenneman

Headshot of Charles Brenneman
Viticulture and Enology - Retired 

Charles 'Chik' Brenneman is retired from the Department of Viticulture and Enology where he served as the Teaching and Research Winery Manager and Winemaker for 13 years. In any given season he mentored up to 50 students in all aspects of the field of winemaking. Chik has extensive knowledge of the wine industry and with that, he helped design and build the department’s state of the art teaching and research winery which opened in 2010. Since retiring, Chik still devotes his time to UC Davis Summer Abroad program in France as he taught in 2018, and again in 2022. This will be the sixth time he has led the course since 2012! Outside of the university, Chik, and his wife Polly are the winemakers, and managing members for Baker Family Wines, based in West Sacramento, California

A Message to Students and Parents

Introduction to Winemaking in Dijon, France, is an ideal course for those interested in Wine, Food, Nutrition, Geography, History and Culture. The ‘real experiences’ in this class are the winery and vineyard visits coupled with cultural and sightseeing activities specific to the regions in France we visit. There is sometimes a spillover into neighboring countries like Germany and Switzerland. The areas we visit have an extraordinarily rich geographic and cultural heritage as well as tremendous local wines. My French colleague and I work to offer the best learning experience—small class sizes, field trips followed by focused discussion groups and then games to make things fun! Students who have taken this course in the past have commented that it is an experience they will remember fondly for the rest of their lives. After taking the summer course, many former students have also changed their major to Viticulture and Enology because of their experiences in France. This will be the sixth time I will teach this class abroad. It offers both valuable technical information and a unique opportunity for the students to broaden their horizons and discover other cultures and ways of life."