A 2012 vintage Touriga, made with grapes grown at Duarte Vineyards in San Joaquin County in the northern San Joaquin Valley, won a gold medal at the Long Beach event – the latest in a string of awards racked up in 2015 by the vintage red. Earlier in the year, the 2012 Touriga won a gold medal at the Consumer Wine Awards in Sacramento, where the wine was also named the best in its class among “all other red vinifera,” and claimed a silver medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
“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 (tasting) competitions,” said Matt Brain, a lecturer in Fresno State’s enology department and winemaker. “For our wines to do well in such prestigious competitions is a reflection of the excellent training that our students receive.”
Other Fresno wines that racked up awards at the Grand Cru and other competitions in 2015 were:
▪ 2013 Duarte Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: silver at Grand Cru; silver at the Consumer Wine Awards; silver at the San Francisco International.
▪ 2009 Duarte Vineyards Petite Sirah: silver at Grand Cru; silver at San Francisco International.
▪ 2013 Fresno State Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc: silver at the Consumer Wine Awards.
▪ 2012 Merlot: silver at Grand Cru.
▪ 2011 Tempranillo: bronze at Grand Cru.
The Grand Cru is an international competition, judged by winemakers, sommeliers and wine journalists that attracts entries produced by wineries from around the world.
According to the university, the 2013 vintages are the last made by Fresno State students under the supervision of winemaker John Giannini, who was the winemaker for the program for 10 years before leaving in 2014. The medal-winning 2012 Touriga is sold out, but a 2013 version is available at the university’s Gibson Farm Market, along with other varietals from the winery.
When the Fresno State Winery was licensed in 1997, Fresno State became the first university in the U.S. to be licensed to operate a winery as an educational program.