Grapes of awesome: Fresno State Winery releases four new blends, opens Tasting Room

By | October 17, 2013 | Arts & Entertainment (3)


Roe Borunda/ The Collegian Fresno State wine on display at the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market during the "Wine Club Pick Up Party." From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., members and shoppers mingled and tasted new wine from Fresno State's vineyards.

Roe Borunda/ The Collegian
Fresno State wine on display at the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market during the “Wine Club Pick Up Party.” From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., members and shoppers mingled and tasted new wine from Fresno State’s vineyards.

Four new wine blends were uncorked in a soft opening of the Tasting Room of the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market on Thursday evening, allowing wine club members and the general public to get a taste of what Fresno State’s vineyards have to offer.

Sarah Boyle, the winery’s student office support manager, said that the event, called the “Wine Club Pick Up Party” was intended to give club members an idea of what they will receive in their next shipment.

Attendees milled about in the Tasting Room from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., enjoying the flavorful evening and laid-back company.

“When the new farm market was being built, we knew there would be a tasting room inside it,” Boyle explained. She added that the event, which took about a month to plan, was intended to make Wine Club members feel special.

“What better place for them to pick up their wines than at the farm market?” she said with a smile.

The 2012 Legacy Classic Chardonnay, aged in American Oak, is the last in the classic chardonnay series bottled in honor of former university president John Welty, Boyle said. Guests were informed that this wine, available for $14.95 or $11.95 for “Unleashed” members, pairs best with Fresno State’s sharp white cheddar or entrees like grilled lemon chicken.

The winery also ventured into the world of pinot noir wines with a 2012 bottle, Boyle boasted. She described this particular blend as one that “presents your palate with suggestions of cranberry, cherry and spice.” This one, offered at the same prices as the Legacy Chardonnay, is suggested served with parmesan chicken or rosemary and garlic roasted salmon.

Boyle described the fruity 2011 Touriga as having notes of apricot, plum and peach.

“Pair it with homemade hamburgers, loaded baked potatoes and grilled cheese,” she said. The Touriga is available for $12.95 or a discounted $10.35 for “Unleashed” members.

The late harvest Viognier, the winery’s 2008 Solare is what Boyle calls “a soothsayer.” She described the scent as a mixture of honeysuckle, apricot and peach, making it an excellent dessert wine.

“It goes well with key lime pie, sorbet or even over your morning waffles,” she said.

Solare is the pricier of the batch, selling for $19.95, or $15.95 for club members.

Boyle explained that anyone can join the “Unleashed” Wine Club, which already boasts nearly 100 members since its resurrection in April. Shipments are selected and sent out in October, January and April.

Because the winery’s production is mostly reds, the average shipment will have more reds than whites, Boyle said. Each shipment contains four bottles, specifically selected by the winemaker.

“You will never get two of the same wine–although you can always order more online with your club discount!” Boyle said.

Members get a 20 percent discount on all wines ordered online from the winery, exclusive access to a select few wines per year that are not made available anywhere else, VIP invitations to the campus’ Winemaker’s Dinners as well as discounted pricing and early invites to the events that are put on throughout the year.

The next event for the Wine Club will be on Nov. 21, which Boyle said is the 10th Annual Le Vin Nouveau. While it is a 21-and-over event, it is still open to the general public. “Unleashed” members will get an entry discount, she said. She encouraged people to find the winery on Facebook to stay up-to-date.

Those who desire to be members can sign up online by visiting

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