MODESTO — A Friday evening event will let wine drinkers sample products from around California and help San Joaquin Valley wineries refine their offerings.
Vino Modesto, the Interactive Wine Extravaganza, will run from 6 to 9 p.m. at Modesto Centre Plaza, 1000 K St.
For $15 in advance or $20 at the door, participants can taste wines from about 40 producers. They can buy full glasses for $6.
The event is sponsored by the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association, which works to improve the quality of wine made in the region.
The group sponsors an annual competition for wineries around the state, and this is a chance to add a "people's choice" award, Executive Director Peterangelo Vallis said.
"This is really a way to get information from the consumer about the wine," he said.
Wineries taking part include Silkwood Wines and Wend-Tyler Winery of Modesto and McManis Family Vineyards of Ripon.
The event will feature music. Proceeds will help Modesto-area veterans and fund scholarships for students planning to work in wine.
The association held a similar event in Visalia last month.
It has worked for several years to improve grape growing in the valley via irrigation, pruning, variety selection and other methods. The goal is to make the region as well-known for quality as it is for quantity.
It's a heady time for the industry. California had a record grape crop last year, easing concerns about a shortage developing just as demand was booming. Growers around the state have seen higher prices per ton, although the valley is still much lower than coastal regions.
"I think we're in an era of sustained economic strength," Vallis said.
More information on Vino Modesto is at www.idrinkwine.net.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2385.