We are a weekly newspaper serving the communities of Exeter, Lindsay, and Woodlake California.

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A Crush N apa, sonoma, paso robles, Santa Barbara and Anderson County are names that come to mind when you're planning a wine tasting trip with friends, but regardless of the locations on the labels, many of the grapes crushed into that bottle were grown beneath the sunset of the Central Valley. Tulare County is in the District 13 of wine pric- ing regions in the state. Along with Fresno, Madera, Alpine, Mono and Inyo counties, the district grows a third of California's white wine grapes and a quarter of the state's red wine. It's an amazing feat when you consider there are only about 10,000 acres of wine grapes being grown here, accounting for just 2 per- cent of all permanent plantings in Tulare County. And the success of grapes grown here can be partly attributed to the Shannon family. JR Shan- non, a fourth generation farmer in the Visalia area, said his family was among the first to begin growing wine grapes in Tulare County in the early 1980s. He said his family was already growing table grapes here when they decided to diversify their farming operation by adding wine grapes during the explo- sion of the California wine industry. "You can grow every variety of grape here and get bigger and better yield per acre," Shannon said. "ere is nothing restricted any variety of grape from being grown here." e Shannon family's SK Ranch farms 5,000 acres of grapes with most of the acreage being grown for wine grapes near Visalia, Woodlake and Traver. Shannon said his family grows grapes for some of the most popular types of wines including cabernet sauvignon, which comprises nearly 12% of the Cali- fornia grape crush, muscat, pinot gris, which is syn- onymous with the more common pinot grigio, and French colombard, a variety often used as a blending grape for table wines. Many of the grapes are pur- chased by E. & J. Gallo, but a family favorite that includes some of SK's grapes is Cunundrum, a white wine blend from Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley. "Many of the grapes we grow are used in bottles that retail for between $3 and $10," Shannon said. "But Winer ie s Hav e on Tul ar e Co unt y Text and Photography by reggie ellis 14 M i n e r a l K i n g P u b l i s h i n g , i n c . F s g n e W s . c O M

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