Text Size:-+

3rd Annual Anderson Valley Alsace Varietals Festival: February 9-10, Booneville, CA

With all the fanfare surrounding Cabernet and Pinot Noir coupled with the obsession this country seems to have with Chardonnay, it's sometimes hard for people to remember that California produces a lot of different kinds of wine. It's even harder, it seems, to get people to drink some of it.

Perhaps some of the most under-appreciated and least consumed California wines are those made from grapes like Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. There aren't a lot of places in California where these grapes alsace_festival.gifthrive, but the Anderson Valley, three hours north of San Francisco, may well be the best place in the state for growing and making wines from these varietals in the style common to the French border region of Alsace.

California grown Alsatian-style wines are not plentiful, nor are they particularly well publicized, but that seems to suit both the winemakers of Anderson Valley, and the folks who have been happily buying these wines for years. But in the interest of spreading the word, and the love, a couple of years ago all the winemakers who produce these wines decided that they needed to get together to showcase and celebrate their shared passion.

In this, the third year of the festival, the local winemakers will also be joined by a few Alsatian winemakers as well as other winemakers from around California and the US who have decided to support this rather unique celebration of the wines they love, even if it is so far from home.

The weekend begins at 8:15 AM Saturday morning, February 9th, with a technical seminar on growing and making Alsatian style wines given by both local and visiting winemakers. The grand tasting begins afterwards at Noon and goes until 3:00 PM, after which attendees have a chance to relax before a winemaker dinner begins at 6:30. Tickets are available for each event separately, or as a package. On Sunday the 10th, most wineries in the valley hold open houses with food and, of course, more wine to taste.

The following winemakers will be pouring at this year's public tasting:

Amity Vineyards
Arista Winery
Barra of Mendocino
Breggo Cellars
Chateau Grand Traverse
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Claiborne & Churchill
Claudia Springs Winery
Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss
Domaines Schlumberger
Esterlina Vineyards
Foris Vineyards Winery
Graziano Family of Wines
Greenwood Ridge Vineyards
Gundlach Bundschu
Handley Cellars
Husch Vineyards
Kumeu River
La Crema Winery
Lazy Creek Vineyards
Londer Vineyards
McFadden Farm
Navarro Vineyards
Pey-Marin Vineyards
Philo Ridge Vineyards
Ponzi Vineyards
Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Steele Wines
Thomas Fogarty Winery
Toulouse Vineyards
WillaKenzie Estate
Zin Valle
Zmor Winery

Though I have not yet attended this festival personally, I know several folks who have, and who report that, like a lot of things in Anderson Valley, it's low-key, easygoing, and a lot of fun. Couple that with some pretty damn good wines, and it's a winning combination, provided that it isn't pouring rain (cross your fingers).

3rd Annual Anderson Valley Alsace Varietals Festival
February 9th & 10th, 2008
Mendocino County Fairgrounds
14400 Highway 128
Boonville, CA 95415

Tickets for the public tasting are $65; the technical conference costs $35, or both can be attended on a joint ticket for $85. The winemaker dinner is an additional $85. Tickets can be purchased online in advance.

Buy My Award-Winning Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Unglamorous Work A Lesson in the Loss of Denis Malbec I'll Drink to That: Kimberly Prokoshyn of Rebelle Restaurant Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 6/19/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 12, 2016 Warm Up: Richebourg I'll Drink to That: Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet Vinography Images: It's Nice to be King It's Time for American Wineries to Grow Up I'll Drink to That: Joy Kull of La Villana Winery

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise 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 Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud