Perhaps the primary reason that California wine lovers look forward to January is the annual ZAP weekend. ZAP, which stands for Zinfandel Advocates and Producers is one of the largest and most fanatical organizations in the United States devoted to a single varietal. They also know how to throw quite a party.
Every year towards the middle of January, San Francisco is packed with people and events for three or four days all celebrating Zinfandel. Wine dinners, auctions, etc. culminating in a tasting event. This year, the aforementioned events are taking place January 26th through the 29th, with the final tasting on Saturday, January 29th.
I've been to the tasting several times (read my report from it last year) and I can without reservation say that it's one of the best tastings in California. That is, if you like Zinfandel. They have representation from nearly all the Zinfandel producers in the state (and some from Oregon and Washington as well) and it's a lively crowd.
I've never been to any of the other events, but from what folks have told me, they're worth checking out -- good food, good people, and of course, excellent wines.
Last year the line for the tasting was a little out of control - I recommend buying tickets in advance if you can. I will be there all day on Saturday and here are a few of the producers I will be sure not to miss:
Look for my report on the event during the first week of February.
ZAP Zinfandel Advocates and Producers Weekend
January 26th - 29th
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