FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Three times a year, local vintners and distillers host the Fresno County Wine Journey, an event aimed to showcase 18 different award-winning local wineries, breweries, and distilleries.

Greg Bergersen and the staff at Solitary Cellars collectively have over 100 years in law enforcement.

However, winemaking was a recent undertaking — and it came with very humble beginnings.

“It started in my bedroom I used to make wine as a hobby with kits that I would purchase on the internet. And I was a wine club member at a local winery and kind of a perk they would allow me to bring my wines in or they’d run it through their lab,” says Bergersen.

Bergersen along with co-owner Rick Quesada are former correctional lieutenants in the state’s toughest prisons.

From its wine club “the chain gang” to red blend names such as code three, and even a makeshift prison cell, Bergersen says they want to transfer the same values from law enforcement to customer service.

“So, it’s that kind of mentality of you take care of people, you engage people, and it’s kind of rolled into the wine industry as well.”

The wines showcase the state’s varietals with the Barbera wine, which is made with grapes from the Shenandoah Valley, the chardonnay and pinot noir which use grapes from the Santa Lucia Highlands, and the Syrah featuring grapes that are grown near Kerman.

“I wanted to pick fruit from various areas of California since California is known as a wind state.”

The 18 wineries taking part in the Fresno County Wine Journey include:

  • A. Nonini Winery
  • Cardella Winery
  • Engelmann Cellars
  • Fresno State Winery
  • Gibson Wine Company
  • Kings River Winery
  • LoMac Winery
  • Marian Farms
  • ​Maréchal Vineyards
  • Moravia Wines
  • Ramos Torres Winery
  • Simonian Farms
  • Solitary Cellars
  • Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company
  • Valley Oak Winery​
  • Ziveli Winery
  • 559 Beer

For more information on the 2022 Fresno County Wine Journey click here.