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Mendocino Wine by The Bay: September 15th, San Francisco

I think the question I get asked the most when people find out that I spend several hours a day drinking and then writing about wine is: how can I learn more about wine? My answer is always the same: taste a lot more. Of course I usually go into details as to exactly how an interested consumer might do that, and one of my suggestions is always to go to large public wine tasting events.

Even if you consider yourself fairly knowledgeable about wine, and familiar with the wines of various wine regions, public tastings focusing on a single wine region are incredible opportunities to get a read on the overall range of flavors offered by the region, as well as the quality of the recent harvest.

That's why I'm going to be attending the upcoming Mendocino Wine by The Bay tasting in San Francisco. Sure, I've had my share of Anderson Valley and Mendocino County Pinot Noir and Syrah, but in the space of a few hours, I'm going to be able to more than triple my tasting knowledge of these wines. This is the first time the Mendocino Wine and Winegrape Commission has held such an event.

Taking place at the Embarcadero Hyatt Regency hotel on Saturday, September 15th, this wine tasting will feature more than 200 Mendocino wines for tasting, along with food from various Bay Area restaurants and Mendocino food purveyors.

Fees from the tasting will go to benefit CUESA, the educational organization that runs the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market and also runs the group called Friends of Children, a mentoring program that is committed to helping high-risk children in San Francisco.

Mendocino Wine By The Bay Tasting
Saturday September 15th, 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM
Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Center
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111

Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 at the door, and can also be ordered online.

The usual tips for public tastings apply: come with a mostly full stomach; wear dark clothing; drink lots of water; and if you actually want to learn anything, SPIT!

Comments (8)

Steve wrote:
09.03.07 at 7:14 AM

The downside of these tastings is that they can be noisy and mobbed, not the most condusive environments for serious tasting. But in general the good outweighs the bad. Alder, don't let the pourers tell ya what you're tasting!

09.03.07 at 8:13 PM

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a great event. If harvest isn't happening, I'm there.

Mendocino, one of the most under appreciated CA appellations, is producing some amazing wines. I personally think Petit Sirah from there is epic. Plus, many of the grape growers are committed to quality and it shows. I've enjoyed tasting some Anderson Valley wines from new producers like Breggo and some of the new plantings [Pinot and Albarino (?!)] from the Wetzel vineyard.

The Wetzel vineyard in Anderson Valley has produced some stellar pinot for (Wells Guthrie at Copain and Crushpad). I think it will be up there with the marquee names of Savoy, Ferrington, and Wiley. Coincidently, the Wetzel's also own Eaglepoint Ranch (east of Talmage/U kiah) that has made amazing fruit for Rosenblum, Copain, Sean Thackery, JC Cellars, Redline Cellars, etc. Plus, Casey Hartlip is an amazing grower.


Full Disclosure: I make Grenache from Eaglepoint Ranch.

Brian wrote:
09.05.07 at 10:38 PM

I think I'm going to go to this one! Is Mendocino primarily a Pinot and Chardonnay producing region, or are there good "traditional style" Cabernets as well? (I've tried a couple of Mendocino Zins. I felt like I could cook my dinner by lighting the fumes wafting out of the glass

Alder wrote:
09.05.07 at 10:43 PM


Mendocino is a large county with quite a varied topography, ranging from very cool ocean hills to sweltering hot Anderson Valley floor, to the fog influenced Yorkville Highlands.

The county is perhaps best known for the wines of Anderson Valley, the best of which are Pinot Noir and the Alsatian varietals (Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer).

Of course it does produce Syrah, the Bordeaux varietals, and more.

Tom wrote:
09.12.07 at 10:16 AM

Brian, Alder

I hope you will both come to the event.

Alder is correct, Mendocino is a large county with a wide range of topography and terrior ranging from the cooler coastal influenced Anderson Valley to the warmer valley along the Russian River to the breeze swept Talmage benches on the west facing slopes of the Mayacama Mountains.

While the Anderson Valley is best know for its Pinots, it is my opinion that the Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Zin from the benches overlooking the Russian River are under appreciated. I would also rank the Chard and Sauv Blanc from along the Russian River with any that are produced by our neighbors to the south.

You will also the county very focused on organic and biodynamic farming. Mendo has not only the largest percentage of vineyard acres certified organic but a larger absolute number of acres certified organic than our neighboring counties to the south.


full disclosure: I am a grower in Mendocino and a partner in a winery in Mendocino.

Brian wrote:
09.16.07 at 7:39 PM

I attended the event. My one negative remark was the food could maybe have been grouped together in one spot to make it easier to fill your stomach before hand. Some very impressive wines, though. Eaglepointe, Harmonique, Mendocino Farms, and others were pouring very nice wines. The last two are complete new wienries to me!

Alas, I completely ignored Alder's two cardinal rules (Water and Spit). I almost had to bolt from the BART train on the way back to my sister's house. Barely recovered today, I made myself do a 30 mile bicycle ride to sweat the poisons out. Will I ever learn?

Brian wrote:
09.16.07 at 7:40 PM

By the way, Tom, can you tell us which winery? :)

Anonymous wrote:
09.16.07 at 10:09 PM


Glad you made it to the Mendocino - Wine by the Bay event. I am a partner in Mendocino Wine Co (Parducci, Big Yellow Cab, Zig Zag Zin, and Paul Dolan Vineyards) and as a grower I own La Ribera Vineyard and supply fruit primarily to Husch and MWC.


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