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May 19, 2009


Sausage with Pinot Gris wine debuts in free tastings May 21-23

Inspiration, collaboration and graduation play their parts at California State University, Fresno in free, public tastings to unveil Fresno State Pork Pinot sausage on Thursday-Saturday, May 21-23, at the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market.

Phil Paggi, a meat science major from Tulare, and Mayo Saito, an intern at the Fresno State Winery from Japan, came up with the idea of producing a sausage flavored with Fresno State Winery 2008 San Joaquin County Pinot Gris. Saito and Paggi are candidates for graduation in the university’s Commencement on May 23.

But even before that, Paggi and Saito will present tastings of sausage and wine 3-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 21 and 22, and noon-4 p.m. Saturday, May 23. Convocation events will be held throughout Friday, the Hooding Ceremony Friday night, then University Commencement the morning of May 23.

Klaus Tenbergen, culinary science professor at Fresno State’s Food Sciences and Nutrition Department and a master baker, will prepare the Pinot sausage and pasta for the Thursday demo using Fresno State Olive Oil.

Under the guidance of Dr. John Henson, meat lab students created and produced the new variety of sausage, which marks the first food pairing between the two programs in the Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology.

“This pork sausage is infused with the wine and includes Parmesan cheese and pesto to complement and bring out unique flavors from the wine,” Henson said. “This pairing results in a harmony of aromas and flavors that enhances the characteristics of both products.”

Animal science students make the sausage in a 4,500 square-foot meat lab on campus that must meet USDA inspection requirements and is equipped to provide hands-on practice for students before they embark on careers in the industry, Henson said.

The 2008 Pinot Gris is a fresh, friendly wine that has a crisp acidity balanced with flavors of lemon, pears and honeydew, said John Giannini, Fresno State winemaker. “The soft and complex texture results in a lingering fresh finish that pairs with the pinot infused sausage,” he added.

The 2008 Pinot Gris will be sold at the Farm Market for $9.95 per bottle (must be 21 or older to purchase) and so will Pork Pinot sausage (packages about $5-$7, sold by weight).

Paggi, who has worked in the meats lab facility for two years, will receive a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science - Meat Technology. He plans to work as manager of the cook plant at Harris Ranch in Selma upon graduation.

Saito, who will be awarded a Bachelor of Science in Enology and Viticulture, was selected for the internship by winery faculty and staff to gain more hands-on experience in winemaking so she can return to Japan and start her career.

"At the Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, we combine theory with practice, using the outstanding facilities available on campus. This is reflected in the success of our students and the products they produce," said Ganesan Srinivasan, director of the Fresno State Agriculture Operations.

This weekend’s tastings provide an occasion for graduating students and their families to celebrate their recent accomplishments and those of other students, said Jennifer Sobieralski, enterprise product marketing manager and Gibson Farm Market manager.

Graduating students who bring in their ceremony program will receive a discount of 25% off on all wine purchases on Thursday through Saturday.

The Gibson Farm Market is at the southeast corner of Chestnut and Barstow avenues. It is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. All proceeds from the market benefit Jordan College student programs.