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Family Winemakers Tasting: Sunday, August 20th, San Francisco

2006_fam_Tasting.jpgI can hardly believe it's here again, but there it is on the calendar. A week from tomorrow, San Francisco is playing host to what is probably one of the highest quality wine tasting events anywhere in the world. That is, if you care for California wine. But even the most die-hard Francophiles should have a hard time staying away from an event that features hundreds of the smallest and highest-quality wine producers from all over the state.

Regular readers will be familiar with my coverage of the Family Winemakers of California event from past years, which never fail to offer up fantastic wines for the trying -- far too many, in fact, to be experienced in one day. Attendees are warned to make a list of what they want to taste in advance, lest they be overwhelmed.

My strategy is generally to taste as many wines as possible, skipping the biggest producers, and generally stopping at any wineries whose names I don't recognize. Even with this strategy, I usually only get to taste about half as much as I would like, but 250 wines is about the max for my palate in one day. Whether you want to taste a lot, like me, or you want to simply seek out a few gems that you've heard good things about, Family Winemakers is one tasting not to miss.

Family Winemakers of California
Sunday August 20th 12:00 - 4:00 PM
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA

Tickets for the general public are $35 in advance; $45 day of event. They are on sale at Fort Mason Box Office, (415) 345-7575, or via Ticket Web.

My usual tips for public wine tastings apply: get a good night's sleep the night before, eat lunch before you arrive, drink lots of water, wear dark clothes, and for Pete's sake, people -- SPIT! You don't want to be one of those stumbling fools that the rest of us responsible wine lovers mock all afternoon.

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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.