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06.09.2008

Pinot Days Festival and Tasting: June 26-29, San Francisco

pinot_days_logo.gifIt's hard to believe there was once a time that San Francisco had no major public wine tasting focused on Pinot Noir. I've only been blogging about wine for the last four and a half years, but when I started, no such festival existed. We had a Zinfandel Festival, a tasting for small family winemakers, a tasting for Rhone varietals, a cabernet tasting, and more, but not until 2005 did San Francisco get a festival dedicated to what has been called the "heartbreak grape."

Now in it's fourth year, Pinot Days has firmly established itself as one of the largest and most exciting Pinot Noir events in America. If you enjoy Pinot Noir or are still trying to figure that out, this is an event that should not be missed.

Like many such events, Pinot Days occurs over the course of a long weekend, beginning sneakily on Wednesday, June 25th with a small winemaker dinner with cult pinot producer Kosta Browne. The festival kicks off for real on the 26th with a series of winemaker dinners at various restaurants around San Francisco. The festivities continue on Saturday with educational seminars, and the weekend finishes up with the main event: the grand tasting of 180 different producers from around the globe pouring more than 300 different wines. The tasting, as in past years, is heavily focused on California producers, but increasingly draws in participants from Oregon, Washington, New Zealand, and Burgundy.

For details on the various activities as well as a list of the producers who will be pouring their wines for the grand tasting, check out the event web site.

Pinot Days Grand Tasting
Sunday June 29th
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason Center
San Francisco

Tickets for the grand tasting are $65 and should be purchased in advance online, especially if you don't want to stand in a long line at the event. Tickets for winemaker dinners and other activities range from $80 for the seminars to $150 for the dinners.

Parking at Fort Mason is easier now that it is a paid lot, but for large events like this, you'd be better off parking several blocks away and walking. Or better yet, taking public transport.

Like all such large public tastings, you will enjoy yourself more and learn a lot more by following my simple guidelines: get a good night's sleep, wear dark clothes, come with a full stomach, drink lots of water, snack a little, and SPIT YOUR WINE!

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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.