Former Green Beret sets out on new mission as Valley winemaker

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Boutique wineries here in the Valley are growing.

Rows of wine grapes surround Steve Shoemaker's home. After 32 years of military service, including serving as a Green Beret, he has a new job as a winemaker.

"It's a passion. Rather than doing what someone else decided was a mission, I decide what the mission is, so to speak," said Shoemaker.

Shoemaker is the owner of 3 Oaks Vineyard in Clovis. He creates each wine from his Clovis property.

"I do mostly blends. I do have some varietals, but even then they'll have a touch of this and a touch of that. Just to help balance everything out in terms of flavors," Shoemaker said.

In 2017, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors began looking at an ordinance to benefit small wineries.

Chairman Nathan Magsig helped with the change.

"We created a boutique wine ordinance where there are four classifications of wineries that were identified. We also made it possible for wineries to open up in the RR zone district which is rural, residential district, as well as other agricultural zones in the district," said Magsig.

The ordinance helped Shoemaker save him money, start his business and allowed him to sell wine.

Supervisor Magsig hopes the ordinance will allow some of the county's grapes to stay here and help business grow.

"One day I would like to see Fresno County being recognized around the world as a destination point for great wines," Magsig said.

As for shoemaker, he's proud to be one of nearly 20 boutique wineries in Fresno County.

For more on 3Oaks Vineyard click here.
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