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Family Winemakers Tasting, Sunday August 21, San Francisco

family_winemakers_05.jpg I can hardly believe it, but it's time again for the Family Winemakers' tasting event -- without a doubt my favorite public wine event. Period. The reason I like this event has mostly to do with the nature of the wineries that are pouring their stuff. Though the "family" designation is pretty loose and allows some big time winemakers like Ravenswood and Bonny Doon to qualify as "family-run," for the most part those who show up are really the smaller outfits whose wines I love to love. That aside, it is the largest tasting of California wines in the world.

This Sunday and Monday, 377 wineries (at last count) will be pouring their wines for the trade and the public at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It's quite the spectacle. If you're interested in what it's like and what goodies can be found there, check out my coverage from last year.

The public tasting is on Sunday from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. For $35 you can sprint around and try to get as many under your belt as possible, but it's tough in 4 hours. If you're serious about it, though, I recommend checking out the list of wineries that will be there, and choosing about 30 to 50 that you really want to see.

Don't forget to spit!

2005 Family Winemakers Trade and Public Tasting
Sunday, August 21 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM (public and trade)
Monday, August 22, 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM (trade only)

Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason Center
99 Marina Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94123

Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 on the day of the event. They can be purchased online, or by calling the Fort Mason Box Office at 415-345-7575.

Parking is usually awful. I recommend taking public transportation or parking a long way off and walking.

And as usual for these large public tastings: get there early, with food in your stomach, wear dark loose fitting clothing, and drink lots of water.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.