Orange County Fair Wine Competition www.ocws.org
California State University, Fresno’s enology program continues to rack up top honors taking home gold medals recently at two of California’s leading wine competitions — the 25th Annual Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition and the Los Angeles County Fair Wines of the Americas Competition.
In all, five Fresno State wines won top awards at the prestigious Southern California competitions including a gold medal for the 1999 Syrah at the Orange County Fair, which opened Friday (July 13), and a gold medal for the 1999 Barbera at the Los Angeles County Fair, which runs in September.
Results were announced this week by Dr. Robert Wample, chair of the university’s Viticulture and Enology Department and director of the Viticulture and Enology Research Center. The program is now awaiting announcement of the results of the California State Fair in Sacramento, expected to be released later this month.
Five medals from the Orange County Fair, which runs through July 29 in Costa Mesa, include a gold medal for the 1999 California Syrah John Diener Vineyard (13.75% alcohol); a silver medal for the 1999 California Syrah John Diener Vineyard (14.35% alcohol); a silver medal for the 1999 Barbera Linden Hills Vineyard; and two bronze medals for the 1999 California Syrah Saviez Farms and the 1999 California Classic Chardonnay.
At the Los Angeles County Fair, which opens on Sept. 7 in Pomona, the 1999 Barbera Linden Hills Vineyard received a gold medal.
The award-winning wines are available to the public at both fairs, which present two of the finest wine competitions in the United States, said Fresno State winemaster, Kenneth Fugelsang, adding that both competitions use veteran judges with many years of tasting experience.
“The most rewarding thing about the Orange County competition is that the judges are professional winemakers and winery principals who are very knowledgeable about wine,” said Fugelsang. “It is always gratifying to know that Fresno State wines, which have been crafted by our students and staff, are highly regarded by our peers in the field.”
Wample credited Fugelsang, Production Supervisor Kevin Connor and Fresno State’s enology students for demonstrating once again that grapes from Fresno County can produce award-winning wines.
“The fact that Fresno State wines continue to do so well at professional wine competitions is a tribute to the winemaking staff and the students in the enology program,” said Wample.
The Barbera was produced from San Joaquin County grapes donated by Duarte Nursery in Hughson. This vintage received honors at last year’s California State Fair Wine Competition, as well as the New World International Wine Competition held earlier this year.
Both of the award-winning 1999 California Syrah John Diener Vineyard wines were released earlier this year as part of a five-bottle limited edition series of Syrah from grapes grown in Fresno County.
This series was a result of a collaborative industry project involving John Diener, owner of Red Rock Ranch in Five Points; Vinovation, Inc. in Sebastopol; Paragon Label Company in Petaluma; and Fresno State students and staff. The complete story on how these wines were made can be linked from www.fresnostatenews.com. (http://cast.csufresno.edu/ve/).
The 1999 Syrah Saviez Farms also was produced from grapes grown in Fresno County and the 1999 Classic Chardonnay from Merced County grapes.
According to Dennis Esslinger, Orange County competition chairman, there was a significant increase in Syrah entries this year.
Out of 104 Syrah entries, Fresno State Vineyards received honors for three of its Syrah wines – all produced from grapes grown in Fresno County.
The 25th Annual Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition was held two days in June.
According to the Orange County Wine Society, this competition is the largest and most comprehensive judging of California wines in the world. In 2001, 2,677 wines from 445 wineries were judged by 88 professional winemakers.
All the wines entered in the commercial competition will be available for tasting in the Wine Courtyard during the Orange County Fair.
The Los Angeles County Fair Wines of the Americas Competition is said to be one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the United States.
Nicknamed the “granddaddy” of wine judging events, the Los Angeles County Fair competition is the oldest county fair wine tasting in the nation. According to fair’s wine steering committee, more than 60 professionally credentialed judges (many with 20 years of tasting experience) tasted 2,861 wines from 515 wineries over the course of three days in May.
The Los Angeles County Fair will celebrate its 79th anniversary Sept. 7-23 in Pomona. Gold medal-winning wines, including the 1999 Barbera Linden Hills Vineyard, will be available to fairgoers in “The Vineyard” for a fee.
Fresno State wines also have been entered into the California State Fair Wine Competition in Sacramento, the oldest and most prestigious wine judging competition in North America. Results are expected to be released later this month
Fresno State is the first and only university in the nation that is licensed to produce, bottle and sell wine commercially.
Under the direction of winemaster Fugelsang, enology students play a major role in the winemaking process. As part of their curriculum, they learn to perform all of the laboratory and winery pro ncedures required of winemakers.
For more information about the Orange County Fair Wine Competition, the Los Angeles County Fair, or the Department of Viticulture and Enology, see links at www.fresnostatenews.com or contact Wample or Cynthia Wood at (559) 278-2089.