Winemaker puts Kingsburg on the map

FRESNO, Calif.

Under the familiar Kingsburg tea cup water tower this southern Fresno County business is booming with success and recognition.

Oscar Ramos said, "I think it's awesome that a little winemaker in Kingsburg is hitting home runs up in San Francisco."

Ramos won two bronze and one gold medal at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition earlier this month. He grew up in a farmworker household, who tended vineyards. By the time he finished high school his goal was to grow his own grapes and make wine.

The 2003 graduate of Fresno State's school of winemaking chose to make wine in the San Joaquin Valley, rather than the Napa Valley.

Ramos said, "I thought there was a need for educated wine-makers to stay here in Fresno and the Central Valley."

And after a decade of work it's now reality... his small vineyard and other Central Valley sources of wine grapes become just 150 cases a year. A boutique offering that has a loyal following waiting for the latest release of his red and white wines.

He's determined to help drive visitors to his home town.

"Hay look, Kingsburg is a nice community come and visit," said Ramos. "I really don't expect to keep expanding... I really just want to make really, really good wine on a small scale."

Oscar Ramos' parents and his education in the vineyards of Fresno State helped bring his wines statewide recognition. They also made his dream of making wine in the Valley a reality.

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