Madera Wine Trail – 2nd Stop: San Joaquin Wine Company

San Joaquin Wine Company Banner

A short drive and we came to our second stop – San Joaquin Wine CompanySJWC Banner My first impression was underwhelming – not decked out in old world winery splendor.  Actually an insulated warehouse – very practical, functional and comfortable.  But by the time we left, I think it was my favorite stop of the tour.  Why?  The people made the difference.

The highlight to our visit was getting a behind the scenes tour given by Joey Sagariballa – one of the partners in the winery.

Joey Sagariballa

Joey Sagariballa

He gave us the history and more importantly the passion behind their wine making.  Check out their history here.  His partner Steve was a long time wine grape grower but only started the winery a few short years ago in 2005.  Their Mission Statement: “Quality wines from the heart of California at a reasonable price”.  By the comments I heard from my favorite wine “snobs” they are succeeding.

Joey's EnthusiasmJoey took us from the specialized wine crush apparatus to the different types of temperature controlled fermenting tanks.  Each designed for different grape/wine types (some with skins and others without).  I think the highlight and surprise came when Joey took a glass, went to a spigot on the side of the stainless steel tank and poured out a sampling of the wine that was only crushed this last fall.

Wine Pouring from Spigot

Wine straight from the stainless steel fermenter

Praising the Wine

Joey’s enthusiasm was contagious

This sampling was shared with the guests to taste

Sharing the Wine Sample

Tasting good

I heard surprise and praise from the tasters about the quality for such a young wine.  I also heard praise from Joey about the skills being developed at Fresno State University’s award winning Vinology Department to help make great wines.

Joey introduced us to the ranch manager (of course I did not write it down and have since forgotten his name) who basically oversaw running this whole operation.  I had met him earlier serving the guests in the other room.

Ranch Manager

Ranch Manager

An he likes the fruits of his labor as well:

Enjoying the Fruits of his labor

Enjoying the Fruits of his labor

Some more images from the visit:

Uncorking Wine


Pouring Wine


Friendly Server

One of the friendly servers

Heart Balloons

Appropriate Valentines Weekend Decorations

As we were leaving, this classic Jaguar was driving past.  Unfortunately I had my long lens on the camera and was too close to capture the whole car.  And I still had the camera set to high ISO for indoor low light.  This shot was better than the tail of the car driving away but I wish I had a few more seconds to run further away and change camera settings.

Classic Jaguar

Classic Jaguar

Surprisingly, this was the first of two Jaguars seen on the same day.  You’ll have to read my soon-to-be-written post about our fifth winery stop of the day to see the other one.

More photos in the gallery from this visit here.

More to come.

About Ron Ludekens

God created a marvelous world full of wonderful sights and people. He is the Creator and it is His Palette of beauty that Ron Ludekens tries to capture as photographic images. Images of nature or images of people and their lives - both reflect the handiwork of the Creator. Ron is a photographer living in Visalia, California - part of the great Central Valley. He is immediately surrounded by agriculture and all the hard working people that feed our world. A short distance away are the grand Sierra Nevada mountains, impressive National Parks and, wider still, the vast diversity that California has to offer. Ron is one of the family owners of the L.E. Cooke Co Wholesale Nursery - a leader in the horticulture industry of North America. Even on the job, his camera is always near by. His photos for the nursery trade have been published in print and around the websites of nurseries across America. Ron is also a leader in his church and its missions. Ron's photography has been a resource the church uses in its communications and message. Plus photos of all the fun things we do are shared among members and friends. Ron also loves capturing precious moments in lives of people. Weddings, senior portraits, graduations, family gatherings, maternity and special events. Ron will not shoot more than four weddings a year to provide the attention to detail and followup that is required for such an important milestone event in the lives of the couple. Ron can be reached at 559-732-7165 or cell 559-967-5370.
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