How does a weekend in the mountains tasting local wines next to a roaring fire sound?
The weekend will focus only on Fresno State wines, starting with a Friday night fireside chat with winemaker Matt Brain. Participants will also taste barrel samples that evening.
Saturday, the hotel serves a free buffet breakfast and Brain will lead a short seminar on wine blending.
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The real fun happens when participants get to blend their own wine from several different varietals. They might blend, say, a Tempranillo with a cabernet.
“It’s an opportunity for them to be really creative with blending maybe some lighter fruit-driven wine with wines that might have more tannin and structure to them,” says Kevin Smith, Fresno State Winery’s business and marketing manager.
There will be a blind taste test of all the blends and the Narrow Gauge Inn’s sous chef, Brain and Smith will pick the winner. Guests will each get two bottles of the winning wine to take home.
The winemaker’s dinner Saturday is also a highlight, with a five-course meal with wine pairings. The last two have sold out.
“It’s a good time to learn what kind of wines go with what kinds of foods,” Smith says.
Some people come up just for the dinner, which costs $85 per person, including tip.
The weekend continues with a hike – a brisk walk, really – through the Sierra National Forest. Guests also get a thank you basket in their rooms.
The entire weekend costs $125, including dinner. Rooms are extra and range from $119 to $194. Tickets must be purchased by Oct. 28 by going to store.fresnostatewinery.com/.