With another gold medal and Best of Class ribbon in hand, California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty praised the university’s Viticulture and Enology program today for a highly successful 2000-2001 academic year that has resulted in 16 awards.

For the third year in a row, Fresno State’s student-produced wines won gold, silver and bronze medals at this year’s California State Fair Wine Competition (CSFWC) with one, the 1999 Barbera, among the “super award” winners.

Produced from grapes grown at Duarte Nursery’s Linden Hills Vineyards in San Joaquin County, the 1999 Barbera received a gold medal with a high 94 rating and a Best of Class in the California State Appalachian region super award.

The Barbera’s latest success makes it a nine-time award winner for the winemakers and students in Fresno State’s enology program at since it was first bottled two years ago.

Two other medal winners at the state fair competition include a silver medal for Fresno State’s 1999 Syrah Saviez Farms and a bronze medal for its 2000 White Zinfandel, both produced from grapes grown in Fresno County.

At a special presentation at the campus winery today, Welty and Dr. J. Michael Ortiz, provost and vice president of academic affairs, formally received the awards from Viticulture and Enology faculty and students as local growers whose grapes were used for the award-winning wines observed.

The university also used the occasion to pay tribute to awards the wine program has won throughout the 2000-2001 academic year, especially the state fair’s Best of Class 1999 Barbera, which with its nine honors has won more awards than any Fresno State wine.

“With Fresno State’s 1,083-acre farm laboratory located in the heart of the nation’s most productive agricultural valley, it is only fitting that such efforts by our enology faculty and students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology are recognized as tops in the industry at competitive venues throughout the year,” Welty said.

“The program’s leadership in training our students for the marketplace as well as the valuable support of and interaction with commercial growers demonstrates the service and partnership that Fresno State provides the community.”

The state awards were announced at the California Grape and Gourmet event in Sacramento last week. The award-winning wines will be available at the 2001 California State Fair, which runs Aug. 17 through Sept. 3 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento.

Growers attending today’s presentation were John Duarte, vice president of Duarte Nursery in Hughson, owners Linden Hills Vineyard in San Joaquin County; and Frank Saviez, owner of Saviez Farms in Fresno County. John Diener, owner of Red Rock Ranch, Inc., also in Fresno County was unable to attend.

Duarte said he was very excited about the university vintner’s accomplishments with his company’s grapes and credited Fresno State with taking the lead in implementing new techniques, noting that other Valley growers are earning recognition as a result.

“Fresno State’s leadership is helping Valley growers gain recognition for being premium quality wine grape growers,” said Duarte. “We are now successfully competing and winning at statewide wine competitions.”

Dr. Robert Wample, chair of the university’s Viticulture and Enology Department and director of the Viticulture and Enology Research Center, presented the awards along with winemaster Kenneth Fugelsang, Production Supervisor Kevin Connor and several Fresno State enology students.

“The latest awards, in partnership with valley growers, show that the Central Valley produces some of the state’s, if not the nation’s, best wines,” Wample said.

Over the past few months, all three of the latest award-winning wines have received numerous awards at other wine competitions including the 2001 New World International Wine Competition, 2001 Los Angeles County Fair and 2001 Orange County Fair Wine Competition.

In addition to the state fair, these award-winning wines will be available for tasting at the Los Angeles fair, which runs Sept. 7 to 23 in Pomona.

They also were served at the Grape and Gourmet event on July 24 with those proceeds benefiting the California State Fair Scholarship Fund, and at the Orange County fair, which ended Sunday.

The California State Fair Wine Competition is the oldest and most prestigious wine judging competition in North America. A record 2,247 wines from more than 411 of California’s best commercial vintners were judged with their peers within their varietal types.

Fugelsang said the State Fair judges are selected based upon demonstrated knowledge of wine and its characteristics.

California State University, Fresno is the first and only university in the nation that has a commercial license to produce, bottle and sell wine.

The commercial winery and vineyard, located on the Fresno State campus, are used by the viticulture and enology teaching and research programs. Students within the Department of Viticulture and Enology are exposed to equipment and operations typical of the environments they will encounter when they graduate.

For more information about the Department of Viticulture and Enology, contact Wample at (559) 278-2089. For more information about the State Fair, call (916) 263-FAIR.

Fresno State wines are available for purchase by the public at the Fresno State Farm Market as well as other retailers in the San Joaquin and Central Valley. The Farm Market is located on Chestnut and Barstow Avenues in Fresno. For store hours and other informaton: (559) 278-4511.

Where can you get the wine?


Competitions for award-winning wines and medals produced by the Class of 2001 (breakdown attached):

2001 California State Fair Wine Competition

2001 New World International Wine Competition

2001 Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition

2001 Orange County Fair Wine Competition

2001 West Coast Wine Competition