The Fresno State Winery closes the year by announcing several top awards, including two gold wins for the 2012 Touriga from Duarte Vineyards. Student-produced wines recently won several medals at the prestigious Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition, including a gold medal for the Touriga. In April, the Touriga earned its first 2015 gold at the Consumer Wine Awards, where it also was named Best of Class. At the 35th annual San Francisco International Wine Competition June 12-14, the Touriga won a silver medal. The 2015 top medal winners are:

  • 2012 Touriga (Duarte Vineyards) won a gold medal at the Grand Cru, a gold medal and Best of Class at the Consumer Wine Awards and a silver medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Duarte Vineyards) won a silver medal at all three competitions: the Grand Cru, the Consumer Wine Awards and the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
  • 2009 Petite Sirah (Duarte Vineyards) won a silver medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and at the Grand Cru.
  • 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Fresno State Vineyards) won a silver medal at the Consumer Wine Awards.
  • 2012 Merlot won a silver medal at the Grand Cru.
  • 2011 Tempranillo won a bronze medal at the Grand Cru.

The Long Beach Grand Cru consists of two events: an international wine competition that draws entries from hundreds of wineries and a public tasting. The competition, which is closed to the public, is judged by several notable wine luminaries, including winemakers, sommeliers and journalists. The public tasting is a festive event that raises funds for Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the law firm for low-income individuals in Los Angeles. The San Francisco International Wine Competition is one of the largest competitions in America. The Consumer Wine Awards uses a methodology that allows evaluators to award the styles of wine they love the most. “These medals pay tribute to the students in our program who have worked together to produce quality wines that stand up against commercial wines in blind competitions,” said Matt Brain, winemaker and lecturer at Fresno State. “For our wines to do well in such prestigious competitions is a reflection of the excellent training that our students receive in the enology program at Fresno State.” The award-winning 2012 Touriga is sold out, said Kevin Smith, sales and marketing director and lecturer for the enology program, but the 2013 Touriga is now available for purchase at the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market. While customers can find the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 Sauvignon Blanc on the shelves for the holiday season, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is sold out. This fall, the Fresno State Winery also released several new vintages of some of its best-selling varietals:

  • 2013 San Joaquin Chardonnay
  • 2013 Muscat Canelli
  • 2013 Barbera
  • 2013 Pinot Gris
  • 2013 Touriga
  • 2014 Pinot Noir (available for Wine Club members only)
  • 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (released by Dec. 1)

The 2013 vintages are the last vintage made by students under the direction of former winemaker John Giannini, who left the University in 2014 after 10 years of service. The 2014 vintages were supervised by interim winemaker Matt Rule (2014-2015) and refined by Brain, the winery’s current winemaker who joined Fresno State in July. Most wines can be sampled at the Gibson Farm Market tasting room.

“We are fortunate to have a tasting room on campus where consumers can taste the quality of wines Fresno State students produce,” said Smith. “The tasting room features four to five of our wines each week.”

Tasting room hours are 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and weekends from noon-3:30 p.m. The farm market is open today (Dec. 23) and most of next week 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. but closed Dec. 24-26 and Dec. 31-Jan 1. (For updated market hours, see the Facebook page or call 559.278.4511). In addition to the Gibson Farm Market, these wines are available for purchase online at, and some are available at valley retail outlets. Proceeds from the student-produced wines benefit agriculture programs at Fresno State. For more information contact Smith at 559.278.4867. (Cynthia Wood contributed to this report.) Related links: