The Zinfandel Experience: January 31, San Francisco

I’m not exactly sure how long a particular event has to have been going on for it to be credibly labeled an institution, but whatever that length of time, the ZAP Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco would certainly qualify. For nearly 25 years lovers of Zinfandel have been descending upon San Francisco in late January to celebrate their favorite grape.

While there are now many Pinot Noir festivals, several Cabernet happenings, and more than one event focused on Rhone grape varieties, there has only ever been one ZAP. And while Zinfandel might be poured at other regional tastings, no event ever offered such a comprehensive view into the grape that very nearly became California’s official state grape.

But after more than two decades of opening the floodgates of Zinfandel to the masses each winter, ZAP decided to reinvent itself last year. The 2014 festival departed from previous formats and offered several different ways and venues to enjoy your Zinfandels. I didn’t attend, but several folks that did attend suggested that they preferred the tastings of the past.

This year’s tasting might be a slight step back towards the historical format, albeit in the new location of the Presidio.

Starting on Thursday, January 29th, the event kicks off with the evening event that many have come to love called Epicuria. Held at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, this event allows attendee to walk around and sample different foods paired with many different Zinfandels.

The next day, January 30th, offers the opportunity for more classroom style learning at the Four Seasons in San Francisco, with a seated session called Flights, which allows wine lovers to taste through old-vine Zinfandels with a guide. If you haven’t had enough, that evening you can attend a winemakers dinner.

Saturday the 31st features the “main event” of the festival, which will be split between two venues in the Presidio, The Golden Gate Club and the Film Centre, which are a relatively easy walk from one another, though a shuttle bus will also be available. The Golden Gate Club will feature 86 wineries, while the Film Centre will house 30 wineries and have a parking lot full of food trucks for those who want a bite to eat.

Perennially popular, this even is likely to sell out, sometime in the coming few weeks, so you’ll want to get your tickets soon. I’ve got a promo code below to get you a discount. Who loves you, baby?

Now go get your Zin on!

2015 ZAP Zinfandel Experience
Gand Tasting
Saturday, January 31, 2015
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM (with early entry for VIPs)
The Golden Gate Club
135 Fisher Loop
San Francisco, CA 94129

Tickets for the various events range from $80 for the Grand Tasting to $275 for the winemaker dinner. Use the PROMO CODE: VINOGRAPHY to get a 10% discount on the Grand Tasting and Epicuria tickets (doesn’t apply to other events). Purchase your tickets online soon, as they will certainly sell out.