I continue to post news of large public wine tasting events because they are quite simply the single best way for a curious wine consumer to educate his or her palate in a short period of time. Tasting dozens of examples of the same grape grown in different places and made in different ways is both a way to learn to recognize its specific qualities, but also to form the critical judgments that are the wine lover’s first step to enjoying more of what you drink. The better you know what you like and what you don’t, the more you’ll enjoy your exploration of wine.
Regular readers know that the Family Winemakers tasting, now in its 26th year, is one of my favorites. While the definition of a “family-run” winery is stretched a bit to include behemoths like Jackson Family Estates and Gallo, the organization consists mostly of smaller, family-run wineries, many of whose wines are made in such small quantities that they do not receive wide distribution. The chance to taste the wares of these wineries remains the single best reason to attend this tasting. Because of the scope of the tasting, a trip around the room also becomes a very good way to get a sense of recent vintages from all over the state of California.
This year’s San Francisco tasting will be held in the snazzy event center at Pier 27 in San Francisco, which is where the Cruise Ships dock along the Embarcadero. I haven’t been to an event at this location yet, but it looks pretty modern and spacious from the sidewalk.
This year’s tasting offers a shot at tasting more than 500 wines from more than 125 different California producers. As usual, the list includes wineries I’ve never heard of — Frog’s Tooth Vineyards, Line Shack Winery, The Crane Assembly, and more. Every year more small wineries pop up on the scene, and these can be where you find your newest under-the-radar wines that become your favorites.
So set aside a few hours on Sunday August 21st, buy a ticket, and enjoy some of the best that California has to offer.
2016 Family Winemakers Public Tasting
Sunday August 21st, 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM
Pier 27 – Cruise Ship Terminal
San Francisco, CA 94111 (map)
Tickets cost $75 in advance (they’ve actually come down in price!) and are only available for purchase online. If you want to spend $125, you can get in at Noon and spend an extra two hours tasting with the trade, which is generally less hectic.
Parking can be tricky around there, but there is some street parking. I suggest using public transportation or taking an Uber, especially if you’re going to be drinking. Because this is usually a large tasting I also recommend planning which wineries you want to visit using the list on the web site.