One of the longest running wine tasting events in San Francisco is also one of its best. While the city often plays host to really huge public tastings like ZAP, Family Winemakers, and PinotDays, some of the better tastings are more intimate and focused. Both words appropriately describe PinotFest, a low-key event held every year at Farallon Restaurant.
Despite practically non-existent marketing or announcement, PinotFest quietly pulls together 60 or so top producers of West Coast Pinot Noir every year for a dedicated crowd of Pinot lovers in San Francisco. This year will be the event’s 19th annual incarnation.
Attendees get nibbles from Farallon’s kitchen, and access for a few hours to many hard to find Pinot Noirs that often don’t appear at the larger public tastings.
This year’s wineries will include:
Alma Rosa, Au Bon Climat, Big Table Farm, Bonaccorsi, Byron, Calera, Charles Heintz, Chehalem, Cobb, Costa de Oro, Cristom, Domaine Drouhin, En Route, Ernest, Etude, Failla, Fiddlehead, Flowers, Foxen, Freeman, Gary Farrell, Gloria Ferrer, Handley, Hartford Family, Hitching Post, Joseph Phelps, Keller Estate, Kendric, Kosta Browne, LaRue, Littorai, Lutum, Lynmar Estate, Marimar Estate, Melville, Merry Edwards, Morgan, Nicolas Jay, Paul Hobbs, Paul Lato, Peay, Radio Coteau, Saintsbury, Siduri, Sinor LaVallee, Soter, Talisman, Talley, Testarossa, Tendril, Thomas Fogarty, Twomey, Wayfarer, Whitcraft, WillaKenzie, and Williams Selyem.
While, at $125, this tasting may be expensive for some, it is only the price of approximately 1.5 bottles from most of these producers, and by far the least expensive way of getting a chance to taste a lot of them in one setting.
This year’s event will also feature a raffle (tickets will cost you $25 each) whose proceeds will benefit the Redwood Credit Union Fire Relief Fund. Items to be raffled off include multiple magnums of Pinot Noir, special private vineyard/winery tours and tastings, Sophienwald fine stemware, and a grand prize of a 2-night stay at The Inn at Union Square which comes with a magnum of Pinot Noir and a set of Sophienwald wine glasses.
It’s a great event and one that no California Pinot Noir lover should miss.
Saturday, November 18th
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Farallon Restaurant, 4th Floor
450 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tickets are $125 per person (a price which hasn’t gone up in years and years) and can be ordered online or by calling 415-956-6969. This event will almost certainly sell out.
I recommend arriving exactly at 3:00 PM, wearing dark clothes to minimize spills, eating a hearty lunch ahead of time, and swallowing only a few wines so you can taste a lot more.