An experienced winemaker and production manager, who will specialize in enology, has been named an instructor in Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, according to officials within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Maureen Qualia officially stepped into her new post on September 1.
Based at Texas Tech’s Fredericksburg campus, Qualia will develop and teach the university’s new winemaking certificate program. She will also teach undergraduate enology classes in Lubbock via distance education, and offer technical workshops for local Hill Country wineries.
“Maureen grew up in the Texas wine industry working in the family business, Val Verde Winery in Del Rio,” said Ed Hellman, a professor of viticulture with Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science. “She spent summers helping with harvest and most holidays working in the tasting room.”
Following a year abroad in northern Italy, Qualia began undergraduate studies at the University of Texas-Austin and received a bachelor’s degree in nutrition in 2001. She spent several years working for a government non-profit agency in Austin teaching bi-lingual nutrition classes and broadened her international experience by traveling extensively through Central and South America.
In 2005, Qualia’s winemaking interests reawakened. She moved to California to pursue a master’s degree in enology at California State University-Fresno, which she received in 2008. In addition to enology coursework, her graduate experiences included teaching wine analysis, research in phenolic chemistry and sensory evaluation.
While still in California, Qualia worked in the California wine industry, holding positions in lab management, winemaking and wine production management. She worked at Napa Valley’s Silver Oak Cellars, Owl Ridge Wine Services in Sebastopol, Trione Vineyards and Winery in the Alexander Valley, and most recently serving as the head winemaker and production manager at J&J Cellars in Paso Robles.
“Many of her wines from J&J Cellars earned accolades and awards in both national and international wine competitions,” Hellman said.