Skip to main content

Tales from the Grape Whisperer

An Exclusive Barrel Tasting Event with George Fernandez ’77


George Fernandez_Wine Bottles

Friday, May 14th at 6:30 pm

Cost: $225

President John S. Nader and Kathy Ann Wolverton cordially invite you to join them for an intimate evening with FSC professor and alum George Fernandez ‘77, known fondly as the “Grape Whisperer,” as he shares with us the stories behind Roanoke Vineyard’s 2019 epic vintage - most likely to be remembered as a portfolio of the best red estate wines ever produced on Long Island. These wines are only available to Roanoke Vineyards wine club members, except for this rare one-time opportunity for alumni and friends of Farmingdale State College. Settle in for an exceptional evening with your significant other or attend on your own for this unique barrel tasting experience.

*Guests will receive 1 bottle of 2019 Roanoke Vineyards The Hill and 1 bottle of 2019 Roanoke Vineyards Striking Distance Cabernet Sauvignon. This is only Roanoke’s second vintage of Striking Distance. The first in 2015, was selected by James Suckling, who is internationally regarded as one of the worlds most influential wine critics, as one of the Top 5 “Alternative” wines in America. On-campus pick up to be arranged the week of May 10th.*

Please note this will be a virtual barrel tasting. A Google Meet link will be emailed to you the morning of the event.

Questions? Email Michelle Johnson, Director of Alumni Engagement, at or call 934-420-2369.

“2019 was an epic vintage for Roanoke Vineyards and marked my 4th year working on the estate. My time in the field started out innocently enough. I was a big fan of their wines, and a wine club member for over 10 years. In 2016, I asked the vineyard owner, Richie Pisacano, if I could help out in the vineyard after the passing of his father, the Vineyard Master, Gabby Pisacano. I never expected to literally follow in Gabby’s footsteps but as fate should have it, that’s where I find myself today. There will never be another Vineyard Master like Gabby, so as for myself, I prefer the title ‘Grape Whisperer’.

40.968º N, 72.694º W seems to be a magical location for growing Vinifera grapes. Our vines are now twenty years old, and since the day they were planted we’ve maintained a running dialog with the vineyard. Over time, everything changes, ages, experiences highs and lows, and offers opportunities to learn. We’ve taken our relationship with the land seriously, and learned to farm in unconventional ways; embracing organic practices, eschewing herbicides and toxic chemicals, and working the vines by hand, right up through harvest. We feel an obligation to both the land, and our members, to go beyond simply what’s expected. The result is unexpected quality in your glass.

We will be tasting the 2019 vintage of The Hill, which, by tradition, has been harvested and blended in the field by members of our wine club since 2009. This wine is a gift to you from the vineyard itself. Extraordinary aromatics launch this harmonious blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. And while the first sensation is the deep cherry from Cabernet Franc, that experience is quickly surrounded by raspberry and vanilla, characteristic of our Hill block. The wine’s finish is unforgettable, very long and elegant.

register may 4



Development & Alumni Engagement

The Office for Development and Alumni Engagement works closely with the Farmingdale College Foundation – raising and managing critical philanthropic dollars for the College, cultivating meaningful relationships with donors, corporate partners and community friends – and the Farmingdale Alumni Association, keeping our 100,000 alumni informed, engaged, proud, and supportive of the College, strengthening their lifelong connection to FSC students and each other.

Reconnect With FSC! Update Your Information START HERE