Visit Fresno's Wine Country
By MEGAN EILEEN McDONOUGH
Got wine on your mind? Then Fresno is THE place to quench your thirst. Wineries are open year-round for regular tastings and tours upon request, making it easy to squeeze in a few cellar visits during your trip.
For even more wine-themed revelry, attend one of Fresno's local events. From the Madera Wine Trails’ Wine and Chocolate Weekend to Yoga, Wine and Vines, there's never a dull moment in Fresno.
Priding themselves on being a boutique winery located in the spacious Fresno countryside, Engelmann Cellars produces quality wines from local grapes grown in the region. There's always something exciting happening here, especially when summer comes around. In fact, their special Friday-night wine tastings kick off on May 6. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on and toast to the season with fellow attendees. Make sure to try the Uber Zinfandel or Platinum Cabernet Sauvignon- both were Double Gold Medal winners at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Wine tastings take place every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. or throughout the week by appointment. No reservations are needed for the weekend tastings, so enjoy your day at leisure. The climate-controlled barrel room is 65 degrees, ensuring the optimal condition for tasting the cellars' award-winning wines. If you pack a picnic ahead of time, you can camp out on the Cellar Door Patio. Pair it with a bottle of wine from their shop.
A. Nonini Winery
A. Nonini Winery's history is as flavorful as the wines they harvest. Originally from northern Italy, Antonio and Angiolina Nonini moved to California in 1910 to start a family and began planting their first vineyards eight years later. It was their son, Reno, who ultimately convinced them to start this venture in 1936. A. Nonini specializes in a variety of grapes including zinfandel, barbera, an alicante bouchet and a palomino.
After four generations, it's no wonder that A. Nonini wines are made the Old World way, with minimal preservatives and lots of fruity flavor to excite your palate. For an interactive look at the winery, schedule a tour. You'll start with a look at the 1941 Garolla grape crusher from Italy and conclude with a taste of the finished product. Otherwise, swing by for one of their wine tastings, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Fresno State Winery
Fresno State Winery has a lot to celebrate. They became the first university in the country to have a winery completely licensed to produce and sell wine. To mark their achievement, their first bottled wine was named after one of their professors, Dr. Vincent Petrucci. Fast forward to 2016 and they process between 18 and 22 varietals every harvest. The finished products are wine varietals placed in three classifications: TailGate, Winemaker and Reserve. The student produced wines recently won medals at the prestigious Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition and the Consumer Wine Awards including a gold medal and Best of Class for their Touriga wine.
If you're visiting this spring, you couldn't have planned your Fresno trip better. Join Fresno State Winery and 13 other local wineries and breweries as they kick off the season at the Roll Out the Barrels event. For a measly $5 ($10 at the door), guests have their fill of local wines and brews from the region's best tastemakers. The fun takes place Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, from noon to 5 p.m.
For great-tasting wine produced from San Joaquin Valley grapes, Moravia Wines is a must-see. Having farmed in the area for 35-plus years, it wasn't until 2012 that the winery opened to the public. In just a few years, it's already on the vino map, so to speak. Three of their vintages received medals in two different California competitions. With such a great start, the winery is well on its way to even more accolades in the coming years.
A visit to the Moravia tasting room is quite an adventure. It's located in a World War II-era farm and barn. Tastings are held every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and families are welcome. Events are held throughout the year, including one for the Kentucky Derby on May 7, followed by a Mother's Day evening celebration on May 8. There’s no better excuse to treat mom!
Visit Fresno County, California’s year-round playground!