Campus: CSU Fresno -- May 29, 2002

President's Reserve Primitivo Wine Wins Gold Medal, Best of Class at SoCal Competition

The 2000 President's Reserve Primitivo vintage - named in honor of California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty earlier this year - has won top honors at the recent 63rd Los Angeles County Fair Wines of the World Competition.

The new student-produced wine, introduced by the university's award-winning enology program in honor of Welty for his support of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, won a gold medal and a best of class in the Italian Varietals of the World category.

"This award is another recognition of the outstanding work of our students and faculty in the enology program," Welty said. "This recognition affirms that the program has gained international stature."

Three other wines from Fresno State's Viticulture and Enology program won a total of five awards in judging at the prestigious Southern California competition May 15-17.

The 2000 Chardonnay Duarte Linden Hills, 2001 Rose' and the 2001 White Zinfandel also received bronze medals at the competition for the Los Angeles County Fair, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary Sept. 13-28 at the Fairplex in Pomona.

The Fresno State program is now preparing for competition this weekend at the 26th Annual Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition (June 1 and 2) in Costa Mesa and the California State Fair Wine Competition in Sacramento June 28-30.

Nicknamed the "granddaddy " of wine judging events, the Los Angeles County Fair competition is the oldest county fair wine tasting in the nation.

According to fair officials, the principle focus on the fair's wine competition is the reliance on professionally credentialed judges. Over a three-day period, 65 veteran judges tasted more than 3,300 wines from throughout North and South America, Europe and Australia.

The award-winning wines will be on display at the fair's wine education center in September where the public can participate in classes and enjoy gold medal award wine tastings.
Robert Wample, chair of Fresno State's Department of Viticulture and Enology and director of the Viticulture and Enology Research Center, said the program is proud to recognize President Welty's leadership with the Primitivo and are even more pleased that it has received such high marks at two wine competitions this year.

"This recognition reflects the quality of education and training that students in our department receive at Fresno State," Wample said.

He noted that the 2000 Primitivo also received honors at the New World International Wine Competition held earlier this year.

Hand-crafted by students in the enology program at Fresno State, this wine was produced entirely from grapes grown by Duarte Nursery's Linden Hills Ranch near Stockton in San Joaquin County.

"The Primitivo grapes used in the 2000 President's Reserve are currently considered to be closely related to Zinfandel," said Ken Fugelsang, winemaster and professor of enology.
Originally selling for $14.95 per bottle, the Primitivo stock is sold out at the Farm Market on the Fresno State campus. Proceeds from the sale of Fresno State wines help finance the endeavors of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

"The recent double gold and best of class awards at Los Angeles County highlight the fact that our students, working with premium varietals from selected San Joaquin Valley vineyards, are able to produce world-class wines," said Fugelsang.

Wample said Fresno State's continued success at professional wine competitions is a tribute to the winemaking staff and the students in the enology program.

Fresno State is the first and only university in the nation that is licensed to produce, bottle and sell wine commercially.

Under the direction of winemaster Fugelsang, enology students play a major role in the winemaking process. As part of their curriculum, they learn to perform all of the laboratory and winery procedures required of winemakers.

For more information about the Los Angeles County Fair or its wine competition, or the Department of Viticulture and Enology, see links at or contact Wample at (559) 278-2089.

Tom Uribes (559) 278-5366 or 261-6189

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