Friday Night Flights is Fresno State’s newest student-run wine tasting event, featuring award-winning local wines

Friday Night Flights is Fresno State’s newest wine tasting event, featuring an assortment of award-winning locally sourced and fermented wines, led by Fresno State students involved in the Department of Viticulture and Winery. oenology.

In 1997, the Fresno State winery became the first commercial winery in the United States. This allowed the winery to produce, bottle and sell wine. The program was founded by Dr. Vincent Petrucci, a global icon in the world of viticulture and oenology research. Petrucci died aged 91 in November 2016.

“Academia and industry owe him much not only for the guidance and preparation of students in viticulture and oenology, but also for his vision and direction in research which made significant contributions to what we know today. in viticulture and wine today,” said Dr. Kenneth Fugelsang, a former teacher and winemaker who was featured in Growing Produce in 2016.

A limited-edition student-produced vintage, known as The Petrucci’s Crush, was produced in his honor after his passing. Petrucci’s Crush was a red wine developed by Petrucci himself. The vintage was made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.

“It’s good to drink for the holidays, but also to keep for years to come. Of all the wines I have participated in, this is the most special because it honors Dr. Petrucci. He is one of the most respected winemakers in the state and is known nationally and globally for his impact on the industry through his contribution and that of all of his students,” the former winemaker said. of Fresno State, Matt Brain, at Fresno State News.

Friday night flights launched in September and will run through early December, with specific dates listed in the Events Calendar on the Fresno State website. Friday events will be held at the Campus Cellar on Barstow Ave. from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Patrick Hungate, a senior wine student, frequently hosts Friday night flights with Kevin Smith, the winery‘s director of business operations and marketing, and award-winning winemaker Tom Montgomery.

Hungate pointed to Fresno State’s ability to help students like him gain hands-on winery experience.

“It was an amazing experience and I don’t think I could ever experience that in class,” Hungate said. “We’re all very passionate about winemaking and what we put into this product, so it’s a great way for teachers, professors and students 21+ to get a taste of what we put all that effort into. .”

The event costs just ten dollars per person, but the fee is waived for attendees who purchase a bottle or are members of the Fresno State Wine Club.

The club is free membership for all interested and includes benefits such as small batches of craft wines from student winemakers, priority access to premium black label wines, exclusive discounts at events as well as online and at the Gibson Farmers Market, exclusive invitations to members’ parties and dinners and access to sensory wine seminars.

“It was the first commercial cellar on a college campus in the United States, and now it is by far the largest. So where we excel is not just in science, agricultural school and a focus on agriculture. We excel at applying it to actually taking what they learn in the classroom and then giving them a place to practice. They actually do what we do in the real world, on a pretty large scale, no exceptions really,” Montgomery said.
Award-winning vintages are featured in rotation which you can find on the Fresno State Winery website, along with other locally produced wines. Most recently, Friday Night Flights introduced its Alicante Bouschet, a two-silver vintage that was recognized in 2021 by the San Francisco Chronicle and San Joaquin Valley winemakers.

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