Fresno State was presented with two gold medals today for student-crafted wines honored during the 2014 wine competition. The medals were presented to University President Joseph I. Castro, kicking off “Sip-tember,” Fresno State‘s observance of California Wine Month.

Castro received the medals and a gift basket with the award-winning wines — the 2011 California Syrah and the 2007 Saviez Syrah —- from enology student Lauryn Meissner and Matt Rule, who is  the interim winemaker for the Fresno State Winery.

“Our legendary Fresno State Winery is a great example of how Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology programs provide quality education and applied research in agriculture and food technology,” Castro said.

“The success of our viticulture and enology students in commercial wine competitions demonstrates that the Jordan College is successfully preparing our vintners of tomorrow.”

The presentation was made at the Gibson Farm Market tasting room, where the wines will be available for a special tasting Sept. 5-7 (beginning at noon Friday). The award-winning wines will be available for purchase at a 20 percent discount during the three-day tasting. Admission to the tasting is $3 that includes a wine glass and will be credited toward select wine purchases.

The California Syrah, made from grapes grown in Fresno State’s on-campus vineyards, won gold at the California State Fair Wine Competition in July. More than 2,000 wines were entered in the competition.

The California Syrah features dark fruit and oak accents that pair with a grilled lamb or steak dish, said Kevin Smith, business and marketing manager for the Fresno State Winery and faculty in the Viticulture and Enology Department.

The Saviez Syrah claimed its gold at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition in April. It was judged through blind taste-testing by more than 30 professionals and poured later that month with other gold winners at the National Orange Show Fair.

The fruit was sourced from the Saviez Vineyards in Fresno County, which partners with Fresno State’s Viticulture and Enology Department.

“The Saviez Syrah is a very big wine, with velvety tannins, toasted plum, blackberry and a subtle, smoky background with hints of vanilla,” Smith said. “It is a great standalone wine, or can be paired with a simple black peppered steak.”

The Fresno State Winery also won five silver medals and five bronze medals at the California State Fair Wine Competition, the Pacific Rim Wine Competition, the Consumer Wine Awards and the Orange County Fair Wine Competition.

Since becoming the nation’s first commercially bonded winery on a university campus in 1997, the Fresno State Winery and its students have gained regional, state and national recognition for quality and distinction with nearly 600 medals.

“Fresno State is proud of the fact that a fresh class of students each year makes wines that earn gold and silver medals at major international competitions, where distinguished judges determine the best examples of each varietal from thousands of wines,” Castro said.

He noted that nearly 100 percent of Fresno State’s viticulture and enology graduates land jobs in the wine industry each year.

In addition to the Gibson Farm Market, the wine is available for purchase online at as well as numerous off-campus retail outlets.

The market is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Parking is free at the market.

For more information, contact Kevin Smith at 559.278.4768 or the Gibson Farm Market at 559.278.4511.


  • 2010 Zinfandel (silver medal) at both the Pacific Rim and the California State Fair competitions
  • 2011 California Syrah (gold medal) the California State Fair and (silver medal) at the Pacific Rim competition
  • 2012 Classic Chardonnay (silver medal) at the Lodi Consumer Wine Awards
  • 2007 Saviez Syrah (gold medal) at the Pacific Rim and (silver medal) at the Orange County Wine competition

(Jodi Raley, University Communications student news assistant, contributed to this copy.)

Related links:

VIDEO – The wine medals presentation may be viewed in its entirety with pre-press conference interviews by Fresno State Athletics for the Mountain West Network at

[nggallery id=61]

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader