FRESNO, Calif - BankAmerica Corp. is giving $35,000 to California State University to help fund a research science chair in winemaking. The grant to the school's Viticulture and Enology Research Center will be evaluated annually by the BankAmerica Foundation for renewal for up to three years.
Bank of America, the largest commercial bank lender to the California agriculture and wine industries, has a longtime connection with wine. It made its first loans to the state's wineries - totaling $5,702 - in 191 1, when it was known as the Bank of Italy.
The bank's grant to the Fresno-based Viticulture Center will be used to study phylloxera, a soil-borne louse that has potentially devastating economic ramifications for the wine industry. The college conducts its studies in a 143-acre vineyard that serves as a teaching and applied research laboratory.