California State Fair Wine Chief; Participant Wine Tasting Competition to Be Featured March 4-5, 2005

The “Fresno State Winemaster’s Weekend” at the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite March 4 and 5, 2005 will introduce new features including the chance for participants to blend wines and learn about wine judging from Pooch Pucilowski of Sacramento, director of the California Sate Fair wine competition.

The world-class resort and California State University, Fresno are teaming up for the fourth consecutive year to blend award-winning wines and gourmet food at the two day event in the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Reservations are now being taken for one and two-day packages with a special discount on the two-day package if purchased before Dec. 31, 2004.

The event features Kenneth Fugelsang, Fresno State’s world-renown winemaster, and Frederick Clabaugh, Tenaya executive chef, in a partnership that began in 2002 with the successful Toast of the Sierra dinner series featuring Fresno State wine and agricultural products.

The highlight of the event is a five-course gourmet dinner on Saturday, March 5, featuring food products from Fresno State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, planned and prepared by Clabaugh.

Each course will be paired with wines, hand-crafted by Viticulture and Enology students at Fresno States award-winning winery, accompanied by an overview of the wines and the winemaking style presented by Fugelsang.

Saturday’s event will begin with a welcome reception at 6 p.m. followed by the gourmet dinner at 7 p.m.

Individuals who reserve a two-night package will begin their weekend on Friday evening with an informal “meet and greet” wine reception with winemaster Fugelsang, winemaker John Giannini, and enology students at the stone fireplace in the lodge lobby.

Over the course of the weekend, guests will be able to take part in three hands-on workshops that involve interactive presentations on wine topics.

Friday night’s workshop, featuring Dr. Susan Rodriguez from the Viticulture and Enology Research Center at Fresno State, will focus on sensory training and provide tips on how to taste wine.

On Saturday morning, Pucilowski, a member of Wine Educators Ltd in Sacramento, will be joined by Clark Smith of Vinovation in Sebastopol, in workshops on wine blending and wine judging where participants will become “winemakers” and “wine judges” for a day, respectively.

This will be followed at 1:30 pm by one of the mainstay events of the Winemaster’s Weekend: a wine-tasting seminar led by Fugelsang and a cooking demonstration by Clabaugh.

“This activity has become a popular weekend feature where the audience takes home useful tips on how to pair food and wine,” said Dr. Robert Wample, head of the Viticulture and Enology programs at Fresno State.

He noted that the Winemaster’s Weekend and its features every year provide participants with the unique dual opportunity of a first-hand taste at how industry is joining with higher education to in the preparation of tomorrow’s winemakers while enjoying a world-class resort.

The annual event draws its audience from throughout the state. They are seeing that Central California is a high quality wine grape growing region with the university and its partners at the forefront.

“As home to the only commercial winery on a university campus in the United States, Fresno State’s unique status is a natural match for the unparalleled splendor of the Sierra Nevada setting of the world-class Tenaya Lodge,” Wample said.

Agricultural students at Fresno State significantly participate in the production of wine, dairy, beef, lamb, pork, fruits, vegetables and processed products as part of their education.

“As one of the most technologically advanced wineries in the Central Valley, Fresno State has taken a leadership position on researching production methods that will create quality wines from the grape-growing regions throughout the valley,” Wample said.

“The result is award-winning wines that can be proudly served by a Four-Diamond resort property such as the Tenaya Lodge.”

Recognition of the university as the nation’s premier higher education viticulture and enology program is growing both with continued success in commercial competition and with media spotlights.

Most recently, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Magazine featured the program in its Dec. 5 issue.

Earlier this fall, the program was featured in Sunset Magazine and in recent years it received international recognition in the Los Angeles Times (2003) and the PBS’s California Heartland (2001).

Since the winery became bonded in 1997, Fresno State has won 146 awards including 37 “super awards” such as Best of Class and Best of Region.

In 2004, the Fresno State Winery participated in seven wine competitions throughout the state with 13 wines receiving 59 medals: the California State Fair, New World International, Los Angeles County Fair, Orange County Fair, Long Beach Grand Cru, San Francisco International and West Coast Wine Competition.

The program has now stepped up its wine marketing efforts expanding into several major stores including northern California and the Bay Area with such outlets as wholesale giant Costco and the prestigious Vino Wine Stores.

Several key events throughout the year, headlined by the Winemaster’s Weekend, provide the public with opportunities to interact and learn more about viticulture and enology. Other events include Le Vin Nouveau in November, Vino Italiano and Vintage Days both in April, and A Celebration of Wine in June.

Winemaster Weekend 2005 Packages

Tenaya Lodge has created special one- and two-night packages that are available online or by calling the Tenaya reservations desk toll free at 877 635-5807.

The two-night package for two includes lodging on Friday and Saturday night at the Tenaya, the Friday night meet and greet wine reception in the lobby, admission to all workshops, the food and wine pairing demonstration on Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening’s wine reception, and two tickets to the gourmet dinner.

The one-night package includes two gourmet dinner tickets and a Saturday night stay for two at the luxurious Tenaya resort for only $339.

Tickets for the dinner only are $90 per person.

For more information about the weekend, visit or for reservations, visit or call (877) 635-5807.

For more information on the university winery or to purchase Fresno State wines online as well as retail outlets, visit

To see links with more details, the 2004 menu, planned activities and news updates, as well as coverage of last year’s event, visit