Kings River Winery in Sanger
Confession time: Even after two years of writing for FresYes (yay for my FresYes-iversary this month!), I’m still learning a lot of new things about the Valley. Like, for example, I am a total snob for thinking at one point that we probably can’t produce “good” wine. Well, guess what? I was dead wrong! There are actually several great wineries in the area; today I’m going to highlight one that I’ve been particularly impressed with: Kings River Winery in Sanger.
Though it’s only officially been in business for a few years, Kings River Winery has made a name for itself with great wines made exclusively using grapes grown in its own vineyards, and with fun and innovative events on its property.
I say officially because owner Bob Bagdasarian started out making wine out of his home before he went into the winery business, using grapes from the 40-acre farm that he was raised on as a child. Since 1954, Bob and his family have grown everything from grapes for wine and raisins to peaches, plums and apricots.
“I was making wine at home for home use, and slowly, I started making more and more,” Bob said. “Pretty soon we got to the point where we had like 15 barrels of wine in my shed and so we decided it was probably time to get a license.”
So Bob planted 12 varietals of wine grapes, brought in professional equipment and built a tasting room on his property. Thus, Kings River Winery was born. A completely self-taught winemaker, Bob is involved in every step of the process. Lots of reading and his background as a pharmacist have contributed to his success.
“We do probably 20 different lab tests on the grapes,” he said. “Some of them have to do with sugar, others have to do with … different kinds of acids that are in the grapes, natural stuff. We do it on nitrogens to see what the nitrogen content is and the sulfur content. That way we can make adjustments if we need to.”
Kings River Winery has reds, whites, muscato and rose wines. Some varieties are available for purchase online or at local grocery store The Market on Herndon & West in Fresno. Prices range from $18 to $28 a bottle. But the best way to get your hands on some KRW wine is to visit the tasting room, which is open Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m to 5 p.m. For a $5 fee, you can taste 5 wines, and the fee is waived if you buy a bottle at the end of the tasting.
Another super fun way to check out Kings River Winery is to go out to their Summer Concert Series, which runs through September and features a different local music act and food truck every other Friday night, along with outdoor games and wine. Coming up on July 22nd is Carlos Montano, with food by Meltdown Bistro. In addition to tasting, you can buy wine by the glass or the bottle. The growing event is now attracting up to 200 people per concert.
In addition to the concerts. KRW hosts Paint Nites (see a schedule here) and even singles events for Match.com members. You can also schedule a private event with them, whether it’s a birthday party or a wedding. They are currently holding big parties in the space just outside of their tasting room, but are in the process of building a large event hall with a lawn and arbor attached for weddings and other events. The space should be finished by the end of the summer, and is already being booked right now through Events Coordinator Ashley Green.
“We’re secluded. … When you’re having an event out here, it’s really your event. It makes it a little more private, “Ashley said. The vineyards are beautiful. We’re really lucky that our tasting room is directly across our acres of grapes, because people … love to go out there. We let them go out there. Our owner Bob is always here and explaining to them about the process.”
For more information about attending or hosting an event at Kings River Winery, or to get to know a little more about their wines, you can visit their website or Facebook page. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. The winery and tasting room are located at 4276 S. Greenwood Ave. in Sanger. I highly recommend your significant other or some friends and go check them out!
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