San Francisco and its East Bay Cities are a lot like Napa and Sonoma when it comes to the wine scene. In this equation San Francisco is Napa, and the East Bay is Sonoma. San Francisco scores the bulk of the attention and spotlight, while Oakland and its neighboring communities quietly go about their business with people in the know. Over the past 15 years, the wine scene in the East Bay has steadily improved. More and more urban wineries have set up shop in Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda. Restaurants with serious wine programs continue to flourish, and more wine stores continue to open and thrive.
Which is why it seems well overdue for Oakland to have its own major wine festival. Dozens of large consumer wine tasting events are held in San Francisco every year, but the East Bay has only a couple.
Enter the Oakland Wine Festival, now in its second year. This multi-day event is finally giving East Bay residents the opportunity to taste a ton of wine and good food without having to make a trek across the bridge.
The event takes place on Saturday July 16th at the Sequoyah Country Club and is a full day packed with different events. The day begins with a blind tasting event coupled with brunch — so when you’re done sampling all the wine you want, you can sit down next to the pool and have a nice brunch. Or if you’d prefer something more intimate, you can instead join an eight-top at a winemaker/sommelier luncheon where every table features a wine expert to guide you through a four course lunch.
Once you’re done eating, you can move on to the seated Grand Tasting, where instead of wandering around to different tables to taste wines, you sit down and the winemakers come to you! More than 100 different wineries will participate.
If you’re still standing, and haven’t had enough wine, you can follow the tasting with a dinner event.
In short, there’s more wine than you can shake a stick at in the hills of Oakland on July 16th. Go forth and swirl.
2016 Oakland Wine Festival
Saturday July 16th, 2016
Grand Tasting 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Sequoyah Country Club
4550 Heafey Road
Oakland, California 94605
Tickets for the event are quite reasonable. The Grand Tasting will set you back only $35, while a winemaker dinner costs only $55. Or you can go for the full day for a total of $150. Tickets can and should be purchased online in advance, though some will likely be available at the door as well.