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Family Winemakers Tasting: August 19, San Francisco

fwm_tasting2007.jpgSize isn't everything, they say, but sometimes it's mighty impressive. The yearly Family Winemakers tasting in San Francisco has as one of its many claims to fame that it is the single largest tasting of California wines in the world. That alone would not be reason for excitement, were it not for the generally exceptional quality of the wines that are on offer, year after year.

Regular readers know that this tasting is quite possibly my favorite every year. It provides an opportunity to sample the wares of smaller, family-run wineries, many of whose wines are made in such small quantities that they do not receive wide distribution. Because most of these wines are made in such small quantities, by folks who often take extra care in their creation, a trip around the tasting is a very clear window into the quality of the recent vintage in California, from the 2004 Cabernet, to the 2005 Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Grenache, and many 2006 wines as well.

If you've never been to a large public tasting of wine, then this might very well be the best one to experience for the first time. Such tastings are a fantastic way to learn about wine in a way that you simply can't anywhere else -- by tasting scores of wines in comparison with one another.

So set aside a few hours next Sunday, buy a ticket, and enjoy some of the best that California has to offer. I certainly will be.

Family Winemakers Public Tasting
Sunday August 19th, 12:00 Noon until 4:00 PM
Herbst Pavilion
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA 94123-1382

Tickets are available for $45 in advance through the Fort Mason Ticket office. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door on the day of the event for $55.

Trust me when I say you want to buy a ticket in advance. Also trust me that you want to park far far away from Fort Mason and then cab, walk, or take a bus to the event, as street parking, or even parking in Fort Mason's paid lot is nearly impossible.

Finally, do yourself a favor and observe my tips for large public tastings: wear dark clothes; come with your stomach full, plan which wineries you want to visit using the list on the web site, and for Pete's sake, SPIT! You may think that you need to swallow to enjoy the experience, but you really don't. You'll be able to taste many more wines and will actually learn something, instead of ending up a stumbling drunken fool that the rest of us make fun of.

Comments (33)

08.13.07 at 12:00 PM

See you there Alder!

May I ask why the dark clothing is recommended?

Alder wrote:
08.13.07 at 1:13 PM

Because there are inevitably splashes and spills at this sort of public tasting, whether of your own doing or someone elses. Those who wear white suede jackets do so at their own risk.

Dan G Erken wrote:
08.14.07 at 12:41 PM

I won't be attending, but I wish I could be there to taste any Starry Night zinfandel sourced from the Tom Feeney Ranch or any Opolo grenache (though I prefer their 2005 sangiovese-That sangiovese is one heck of a tasty winner--why aren't they pouring that?) And as is often the case, Stolpman and their killer 2004 Estate syrah will be a no show.

With so many wineries to choose from, how do select which winery's table to go to after you've blown through premier guys with a good track record, like DuNah or Beckman?


Alder wrote:
08.14.07 at 9:40 PM

As for deciding where to go, I try to visit the newbies, and as many others as I can.

Carter wrote:
08.16.07 at 5:19 AM

Thanks for the heads up about this event. I mentioned it in the weekly media roundup.


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