When you walk into the department of viticulture and enology at California State University, Fresno, not only will you smell the scent of fermenting grapes as the students begin the process of winemaking, but you will also feel the sense of pride. Fresno State just won a record 49 medals for the 2008-09 student produced wines.
â€œThis gives recognition to all the hard work the students do and what type of education they are getting from it,â€ said Jennifer Sobieralski, Enterprise Products Marketing and Gibson Farm Market Manger.
Students at Fresno State have been producing wine and entering them into competitions across the country for decades. This year, student produced wines were entered into 12 different competitions. And for the first time have won outside the U.S.
After graduating with a degree in horticulture from University of California, Davis, professor emeritus Vincent E. Petrucci, came to Fresno State in 1947 to help develop the agricultural department. Petrucciâ€™s goal was to set a curriculum for the viticulture and enology Program so that students could have a complete hands-on experience in the field.
â€œI think it [the program] has gone further than I could have even imagined. The goal has come to exceed my expectations,â€ Petrucci says.
In 1997, Fresno State became the first university to bottle and sell its own wine. Fresno State also became the first winery in California to win a Double Gold for its California Syrah grapes and won best of class at this yearâ€™s competition.
The students are involved with the wine making process from beginning to end. With the assistance of Fresno Stateâ€™s Wine Maker, John Giannini, the students start the blending process while he oversees them. After Giannini and the students come to an agreement for which blend is the best, the wine is then bottled.
â€œThe object of our winery is to promote the Central Valley,â€ said graduate student, Marc-Antony Martinez.
With the help of their Table grapes coming from fields all across the Central Valley students prove that they can properly produce wine and achieve success. The program has won approximately 300 awards for their outstanding wines.
The top medal award winners announced this year include the 2006 SJC Zinfandel and the 2006 CA Tempranillo, which both won Gold medals, while the 2004 SJC Petite Sirah and the 2006 CA Solare won Double Gold medals. For complete listings of the awards please see fresnostatewinery.com