New California Wine Tasting Center Opens in Madera

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Appellation California, a new wine tasting center focusing on the numerous wines of California, will open its doors to the public Friday.

Sommelier Nicole Darracq, discusses the latest vintages with winemaker Peter Fiklin

Napa is a small portion of the wine produced in California, less than 30 percent, where 70 percent of the grapes come from the San Joaquin Valley.

A new center high lighting regional wines will officially open its doors Friday.

While Madera County is known as California’s Gateway to Yosemite, some may also know the region as an active grape growing center. Appellation California, located on Highway 99 in Madera, is a unique kind of wine tasting room with the aim of making knowledge of Madera County’s status as a wine production center more common.

“The idea behind Appellation California is something very unique to the central valley, because we are not wine makers ourselves. What we are going to be doing is selling and tasting the wines from all the wineries up and down Highway 99 from Manteca all the way to Bakersfield,” said Darren Schmall, PR and Special Events Director with Appellation California.

California is known for its wine producing regions. However, many people think of Napa or Sonoma when they think of California wines. According to Schmall, the vast majority of wine grapes come from the San Joaquin valley. “Napa is a small portion of the wine produced in California, less than 30 percent, where 70 percent of the grapes come from the San Joaquin Valley.”

The name of the center, Appellation California, is actually a tribute to the state’s viticultural background. An appellation is the official statement on a wine bottle’s label, mandated by law, indicating where the grapes in the wine were grown. Labels that read “California” are made with grapes from the San Joaquin valley.
“The name is intended to educate the consumer to know that any time they see a wine that says Appellation California, they’re drinking wine that came from the valley. Even big names like Beringer or Mondavi use grapes from here,” said Schmall.

Unlike most tasting rooms, Appellation California will be open seven days a week. Patrons can sample wines, explore the visitor’s center and enjoy dried fruits, nuts olive oil and other local products, and enjoy examples of work from local artists. Appellation California is open 11 am to 5 pm every day.

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Jarrod Lyman
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