George Radanovich sharing a new taste of Mariposa

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A former congressman from Mariposa is now enjoying a very different job in his hometown. (KFSN)

The serene vineyard in the sierra foothills is a long way from the hustle and bustle of Capitol Hill, but it's where you'll now find former congressman George Radanovich hard at work.

"It is nice," said Radanovich. "It took a few years to get the vineyard back in shape, probably about 3 years.

Radanovich first planted these vines more than three decades ago, before starting a 16 year career in the house. The republican announced in late 2009 he would not seek another term in order to focus on his ailing wife and young son. Ethie lost her battle with cancer months later.
"Oh I think she's smiling up there on this effort," said Radanovich. "So I think she's very happy and kind of the inspiration still behind a lot of this."

Radanovich has faced challenges in his new role including the drought -- but is now truly seeing the fruits of his labor. He harvested a small crop in September, sent it to a custom crush facility in Lodi, and is proudly selling this Sauvignon Blanc -- named for the fact that his field has nearly 1,000 vines.

"It's really a floral Sauvignon Blanc," said Radanovich. "It's not grassy, and it has a real good balance of taste all the way through a real long finish, and it turned out to be exceptional, and I was very happy about that."

Radanovich says he learned a lot from a failed venture in the wine business years ago. He's focusing only on growing the grapes and quality over quantity. He's considering a small lot of cabernet and tempranillo next, and hopes his passion will help promote this place he loves.

The former congressman said, "A lot of good folks up here giving it a try and wanting to make the area work, and it takes quite a few in order to get people to come up and do the wine tour so the more the merrier, and I think it's good for everybody."

Radanovich is selling just 100 cases of his Sauvignon Blanc.

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