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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.

Comments (4)

Lisa Roskam wrote:
01.15.07 at 4:48 AM

I wanted to add my vote for Tip #2 - if you are going to the Saturday tasting definitely get there early! In fact it's best to try to get an industry pass for the morning Trade/Press tasting from 10am-1pm. Bloggers count as media professionals! Due to people ignoring tip #3 the tasting becomes a bit of a madhouse by late afternoon.

Tim wrote:
01.15.07 at 8:53 AM

To add to Lisa's tip for bloggers, taste on the floor during the trade portion and go to the media lounge for more tasting once the general public is let in at 1pm. That way you will be able to taste over 100, like Alder. Last year I only made it to 90 but I was on the floor the entire time. Also, drink a lot of the free water an eat the free bread on breaks every so often (30-40 min. for me, YMMV).

rama wrote:
01.16.07 at 3:45 PM

+1 on tip #1. Last year Turley packed up and split sometime after the morning. Even though I had a list, since I started in the A-M building, I was hosed. (BTW, I had a somewhat lengthy discussion with the ZAP organizers over my disappointment with this, but never got a satisfactory answer...)

John Dito wrote:
01.19.07 at 10:47 AM

So can anyone tell me what I need to verify my media qualifications??


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