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San Francisco Vintner's Market: April 14-15, San Francisco

vintners.market.jpgSometimes you hear an idea and wonder to yourself, exactly why it's taken someone so long to come up with it. And the really good ones make you think, "now why didn't I come up with that?"

That's exactly what I thought to myself when I found out about the upcoming San Francisco Vintners Market. It's a farmer's market, but for wine. Simple as that. Walk around, taste a bunch of wines, and buy the ones that you like. So incredibly straightforward it took years for someone to come up with the idea.

But now all you gotta do is show up. Think of it as a tasting room that you don't have to drive to. Or a big wine tasting you can go to and finally not have to worry about finding some retailer somewhere that carries the wines that you fell in love with at the tasting.

More than 100 wineries will be pouring and selling their wares from all over California. It's definitely worth checking out, even though the ticket prices have gone up steeply from earlier incarnations.

2012 Spring San Francisco Vintners Market
Saturday and Sunday April 14th & 15th
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA

Tickets are $80 if purchased in advance (prices go up at the door). You can also purchase a VIP ticket for $100 and get access to a room of $50+ wines.

Comments (5)

Wink Lorch wrote:
04.11.12 at 5:14 AM

France has held similar events, billed Salon des Vignerons, for some years. Indeed they are so successful that many winegrowers get a substantial amount of their business through showing at these events.

Tickets are somewhat cheaper .... 5 - 7 euros usually! There are sandwich bars selling usually foie gras sandwiches among other things, and most practical you can buy a small foldable sack truck once there to pile up your cases to take home in the car or on the metro.

04.11.12 at 3:18 PM

I don't know of any Farmers market I have to pay $80 dollars to get into, but that aside, the idea is appealing and should be established on a 5 or 6 six day basis: you don't have a Farmers market for just one week-end.

Alder wrote:
04.11.12 at 3:44 PM

Yeah, the price now stinks. When it was $25 the first few times, that seemed reasonable for an "all you can drink" farmer's market. Wine sampling seems a bit more worth paying for than say, a slice of a strawberry or a free grape.

Zack wrote:
04.12.12 at 10:51 PM

Why hasn't someone thought of this? B/c in reality it's a terrible idea. Or at least that's what it's become.

So you have to pay a tremendous amount just to taste wine you might buy. While it tries to bill itself as a "wine farmers market" it just doesn't make economic sense for a consumer. I go to farmers markets because I get good, modest priced wears/foods direct. I help the farmer and they get me good cheap produce. Makes sense for all.

Vintner's Market makes no economic sense. Maybe that's why so few people were buying (and absolutely no one in the standard tasting room bought anything). To invest so much $$ into tasting a wine (particularly in the standard tasting room where it was 20:1 mediocre:good wine ratio). Your palate could tire before you even get to a good one! Most good, established wineries simply don't have to take part in such shenanigans.

Also, the economic breakdown between the "VIP" room doesn't really hold true, which was supposedly >$50 per bottle or something (and seriously whose ego needs to call it the VIP room). I had a number of >$50 bottles. Donelan was in the regular pouring room, which makes no sense. They were pouring their Keltie Cuvee (2008, one of the best California Syrahs I've had) to the standard room, but because they didn't want to forcefully market themselves, no one seemed interested. You go into the reserve room and one of the winemakers/owners only seemed to care about macking on a superficial Marina chick. Or you get a marketing brigade for a winery. No thanks.

And a number of their "participating" wineries weren't there. This has really become a poor excuse to get drunk for $80. Oh, and I forgot to mention the whiskey stand! You're much better off at one of the varietal events, which are still a bit of disaster like Meiomi at Pinot days getting scantily clad ladies to walk around pushing their product.

I don't have problems with wineries trying to make it in hard times, but this just doesn't seem like a great idea anymore.

tom farella wrote:
04.16.12 at 1:42 PM

I really want to like this idea but the word is that it becomes a sloppy town-drunk and it's tough for a small, family, artisan winery to want to join the melee. Plus, you have to make an estimate on how much wine to bring and sell and the schlepping can kill you. I want opportunities like this - and feel like the organizers are trying their best - but don't know how to avoid the people that want "their money's worth" in imbibables. A tough nut to crack, for sure. Drunk on high-end wine looks frighteningly similar to drunk on Pepe Lopez Tequila in the plastic bottle.

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