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ZAP Zinfandel Festival, San Francisco: January 24 -27

zap_logo.gifIt's hard to believe another year has gone by. It seems like only a few short months ago that my teeth finally lost their blue color after a long day tasting hundreds of California Zinfandels. But it's actually been 12 months, and now it's time again for ZAP, the annual festival celebrating the ultimate California wine in all its glory.

Quite possibly THE most popular wine tasting event to occur in San Francisco each year, the ZAP festival draws crowds of thousands to Fort Mason to taste recent vintages of Zinfandel from hundreds of producers. Honestly, it's always a bit of a madhouse, but there's no way to avoid it. ZAP is simply the only place that consumers (and trade and media alike) can get the chance to taste so many Zinfandel wines side by side.

If you're interested, you can check out my coverage of the event from last year. This year is the 16th annual event held by Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, the trade association that promotes the grape around the world. Like every year, the highlight of the festival is the public tasting of wines, held on Saturday, January 27th. However, there are several other events over the course of the weekend that are less crowded and equally as rich in Zinfandel. There are seminars where you can actually learn something in addition to trying the wine, and a series of wine and food events, ranging from a large public wine and food tasting (always less packed than the main tasting) to more intimate winemaker dinners. All of the details are available on the event web site.

If you enjoy Zinfandel, there's nothing like this event. See you there !

16th Annual ZAP Zinfandel Festival Grand Tasting Event
Saturday, January 27th, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Herbst & Festival Pavilions
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
Marina Blvd. at Buchanan Street

Tickets to the tasting are $60 and can be purchased online.

My tips for this event:

1. Don't try to park anywhere near Fort Mason. Take a cab or public transportation. You'll miss the whole event while looking for parking

2. Get there early and have a list of producers you want to visit.

3. As with all public tastings: wear dark clothes, come with a full stomach, and for Pete's sake, spit your wine. Don't become one of the stupidly drunk folks who everyone laughs at.

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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.