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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!

Comments (7)

06.11.08 at 11:10 AM


If your attending the event please stop by my table. It would be great to meet you at last. With the line up of wineries it seems to be a 'must attend' event for any and all pinotphiles.

epicuria wrote:
06.11.08 at 1:32 PM

This is a superb tasting. However... last year the Grand Tasting was $50, I believe, now $65 ($67.50). Glad Steve R., the organizer, can get it; but in these perilous economic times he won't be getting my wine tasting society members.

Many of the other Ft. Mason tastings during the year, e.g., the Rhone Rangers, the Chron, have a fair amount of nibbles; don't think this one does

Also, as Steve knows, I've always gotten a chuckle out of how the organizer cuts off the trade tasting registration on June 1st, almost a month before the event. I would think the wineries, who are paying for tables to get in front of wine buyers, would squawk.

Again, I tip my hat to the guy.

06.22.08 at 10:36 PM

sounds like a fine event. i wonder how much attendance has been driven by the Sideways phenomenon? hopefully the Oregon producers are well represented - they are making unbelievable wines.

Alder wrote:
06.22.08 at 10:46 PM

Thanks for the comments. It's an excellent event. There are usually a few oregon producers there, but I wish there were more.

Jean-Louis wrote:
06.28.08 at 8:15 AM

We attended one of their hyped up dinners at Falstaff. Just terrible. Lousy grub before dinner, which did not start before 90 minutes past schedule. The hostess--one of the producers--could care less. I would never attend one of those again.

Steve wrote:
07.09.08 at 2:57 PM

Is your annual review of the Pinot Days plonk forthcoming?

Alder wrote:
07.09.08 at 3:07 PM


Yes, I will likely be able to work on it this weekend.

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