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State fair to honor 3 winery leaders

Three wine industry leaders, including Bob Gallo of Modesto, will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from the California State Fair.

They will be honored at a July12 event in Sacramento that also will feature tastings ofaward-winning wines to be showcased at this year's fair, Aug. 17 to Sept. 3.

Gallo is co-president of E.&J. Gallo Winery and son of co-founder Julio Gallo. Fair officials cited the younger Gallo's efforts with sustainable vineyards and conservation of land and other resources.

The other recipients are Jim Concannon, president of Concannon Vineyards in the Livermore Valley,andJerry Lohr, founder and president of J.LohrWineryinMonterey County.

The July 12 event, California Grape and Gourmet, is open to the public. It will feature wines from more than 200 producers and food from more than 80 restaurants.

The 13th annual event will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in buildings A and B at Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd. Tickets are $50 in advance or $70 at the door.

California Grape and Gourmet will benefit the Friends of the California State Fair Scholarship Fund. More information is available at 916-263-3049 or www.thebestcaliforniawine.com.

For a sample from winemakers at the start of their careers, step into Trader Joe's in Modesto.

Right inside the front door of the Dale Road store is a display of the latest products from the student winery at California State University, Fresno.

They include a merlot priced at $4.99 and a pinot gris for $6.99.

Trader Joe's started selling Fresno State wines, made with San Joaquin Valley grapes, at valley stores in 2005. The latest were launched Thursday.

Fresno State claims to be the only university in the nation with a student-run winery producing bottles for the commercial market.

Up around Murphys, the 11th annual Passport Wine Weekend started Friday and will continue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday.

The event showcases 18 wineriesinCalaverasCounty. Participants get "passports" that entitle them to wine and food tastings, prize drawings, wine discounts and more, publicist Donna Schantz said.

The tickets have sold well, but people can call one of the wineries this weekend to see if any are available, she said. The cost is $60 for the weekend or $40 for just Sunday.

The event is limited to people 21 and older. Designated drivers can get nonalcoholic drinks for free.

More information is at www.calaveraswines.org.

To submit items to From the Vine, call 578-2385, send a fax to 578-2207 or send an e-mail to jholland@modbee.com.

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