Fresno State Winery Celebrates French Wine Tradition Le Vin Nouveau

Nov 18, 2013 No Comments by

FRESNO — Le Vin Nouveau, the university’s annual tribute to a French fall wine tradition, will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Fresno State Winery.

“According to tradition, at one minute after midnight on the third Thursday of each November, winemakers in France release their first vintage of the year, Beaujolais Nouveau, with much celebration,” said Jim Kennedy, chair of the Viticulture and Enology department at Fresno State.

The winery, the first bonded commercial winery to operate on a university campus in the nation, is one of only a handful of wineries outside France to produce Nouveau-style wines.

“These wines are some of the most interesting wines we make,” says Fresno State Winemaker John Giannini. “Students in our production class produce these wines in less than eight weeks when most wines take 12 months or more. Even better is the fact that these wines pair perfectly with many holiday entrees.”

  • The 2013 Nouveau Blanc features fruit aromas coupled with orange blossom, honeysuckle and a spicy citrus finish. Giannini recommends serving chilled with favorite holiday hors d’oeuvres and meals.
  • The 2013 Nouveau Rouge features floral and candied fruit flavors of red cherry, black currant and a spice to complement holiday feasts, he said.

The $20 admission includes an exclusive tasting of the 2013 Nouveau wines and other selected wines as well as light hors d’oeuvres from local French bakery La Boulangerie and music.

“Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration — also called whole berry fermentation,” said Giannini. “This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the wine without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins. These wines are not meant for long-term aging and are best enjoyed within the first year of release when they are fresh and lively.”

The event will highlight the history of Nouveau wines and information about the different styles used to make each wine. It is hosted by Fresno State Winery, members of the Enology Society and faculty and staff from the Department of Viticulture and Enology.

In addition to the Nouveau, guests can taste the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Merlot, 2012 Classic Chardonnay and of the Syrah (barrel tasting).

Le Vin Nouveau attendees will have a chance to purchase all wines at 10 percent off per bottle, 15 percent off per case or 20 percent off by joining the Fresno State Wine Club, Unleashed.

The event is open to the public but guests must be at least 21 years old to attend. (No children allowed.) For more information about reservation packages, call (559) 278-4867 or visit

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