It'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 five 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 fifth 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 Wednesday, June 24th with a small dinner with winemaker Ed Kurtzman and his wines as well as an event highlighting some of the newer producers of Pinot Noir in California. The festival kicks off for real on the 25th with a multi-winemaker dinner at Pres a Vi restaurant in San Francisco. The festivities continue on Friday and Saturday with educational seminars and a bus tour of the Russian River Valley, and the weekend finishes up with the main event: the grand tasting of 200 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 28th
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Festival Pavilion - Fort Mason Center
Marina Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94123 (map)
Tickets for the grand tasting are $50 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 to $150. Details are available on the event web site.
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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