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Pinot Days Festival: June 29 - July 1, San Francisco

pinot_days_logo.gifIt hardly seems like a year ago, but it is time yet again for San Francisco wine lovers to bathe themselves in Pinot Noir, courtesy of Pinot Days. Started a couple of years ago by a few Pinot Noir fanatics, Pinot Days has quickly become the largest public tasting for the varietal in California, and a healthy competitor to the ZAP festival (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) if only for the title of biggest, baddest wine tasting event in San Francisco.

Starting on Friday June 29th, Pinot Days offers the opportunity to attend a winemakers dinner and charity auction followed by a full day of Pinot seminars on Saturday June 30th. These seminars appear to be sold out at this point, but that might just offer serious Pinot lovers an opportunity to rest before the big event on Sunday, July 1st: the grand tasting of hundreds of Pinot Noir producers from California and elsewhere around the world. In case you really are looking for more of a formal education that sipping and spitting in the main hall, there will also be educational seminars offered throughout the grand tasting, and a separate ticket will get you into those as well as the main tasting.

Billed as the single largest collection of Pinot Noir ever in the city of San Francisco, this is an event that any inquisitive wine lover will not want to miss.

Pinot Days 2007
Grand Festival Tasting
Sunday July 1st, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason, San Francisco

Tickets to the winemaker dinner and auction are $150 and selling out fast. The Grand Tasting costs $50, or $80 if you want to attend regional tasting seminars during the tasting. Tickets are available for sale online, and it is highly recommended that you purchase them in advance, both to ensure your spot as well as to avoid standing in long lines on the day of the event.

As with all large public tastings at Fort Mason, parking can be a royal pain in the neck. I recommend parking some distance away and walking or taking a taxi. There are also public transportation options (good for those who have a hard time spitting) on the Fort Mason web site.

My normal recommendations for public tastings apply: get a good night's sleep; wear dark, loose fitting clothes; have a plan for what/who you want to taste; eat a good lunch before you go; and for Pete's sake people, SPIT!

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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.