Taste the ‘Flavors of Fall” at Fresno State Winery tailgate Oct. 16

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Taste the ‘Flavors of Fall” at Fresno State Winery tailgate Oct. 16

Wine and food enthusiasts will invade the Fresno State Winery from 3:30-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, for the “Flavor of Fall” tailgate celebration of new wine releases.

The tailgate — in advance of the Fresno State football game against UNLV at 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium — will be held at the Metzler Gazebo on the east lawn of the Viticulture and Enology Research Building (2360 E. Barstow Ave.).

The afternoon will feature many of the winery’s new releases and wine club reserves, including a barrel tasting and an exclusive preview of the limited production 2014 Pinot Noir.

Only 28 cases of the Pinot Noir were bottled, “so we are excited about offering a special preview of this light, delicate vintage to our wine club members and tailgate attendees during the tailgate,” said Kevin Smith, marketing and sales director for the Fresno State Winery.

Local food samples by Todd’s Cookhouse Bar-B-Que, Stafford’s Chocolates, Monterey Sausage Company, Hilmar Cheese and the Fresno State Creamery and Meats Lab will be paired with the wines.

There will be lawn games in the shade for those in the competitive spirit.

“This event is truly going to be a lasting tradition for the Fresno State Winery,” Smith said. “We’re bringing together something for everyone as we sip some wine, enjoy some great food and get ready for some Fresno State football.”

The event will also serve as the Fresno State Winery’s wine club “pick-up party,” when club members can personally pick up their wines from the Fresno State Winery rather than have the wines shipped.

Benefits of wine club membership include discounts on all wines, exclusive releases like the Pinot Noir and early invitations to winery events such as the “Winemaker’s Dinner in the Woods” Nov. 7 at the Narrow Gauge Inn in Fish Camp.

Club memberships support students at Fresno State. “It’s altruism in a bottle,” Smith said.

“Flavor of Fall” guests will be able to join the wine club during the tailgate and can conveniently take home their first assortment that day.

Tickets to “Flavor of Fall” are $10 for the general public and $5 for students, faculty and Fresno State wine club members. If purchased in advance, attendees will receive a 30-percent discount off the ticket price at www.FresnoStateWines.com (scroll to the bottom). Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume wine.

The Fresno State Winery was the nation’s first commercially bonded winery to operate on a university campus. Since 1997, Fresno State wines have been produced by students under the direction of a professional winemaker and have won over 600 awards.

This month’s Fresno State Magazine, set to hit mailboxes this weekend, features a cover story on alumni winemakers — including Bo Barrett, CEO and president of Chateau Montelena, whose story was the basis for the 2008 movie “Bottle Shock.”

For more information about viticulture and enology program offerings, visit www.fresnostate.edu/jcast/ve. For the event, contact Cynthia Wood at 559.278.2089.

(Cynthia Wood of contributed to this report).