Okay, so I went to the ~ANNUAL ZINFANDEL ADVOCATES & PRODUCERS TASTING~ a couple years back, and it was quite a sight to behold, let me tell you. Upon arrival you are armed with a baguette and a wine glass and sent off to do battle with table after table of zinfandel producers. A mind-boggling number of producers are there, like, more than 250 wineries. By the end of the event, you have loads of people with purple teeth grinning at you, and let’s not forget the gaggles of cougars wobbling precariously in their pointy boots. Baguettes are jauntily poking of back pockets or purses, some folks gnawing on them animalistically instead of ripping off a piece (true, it’s almost impossible to do so with a glass of zin in your hand). It’s seriously a scene. Can’t wait to witness more mayhem this year.
There are other events as well, so here’s the full line-up:January 24: Flights: A Showcase of California Zinfandels, 2pm–4pm,an afternoon of panel discussions and tastings-seminars led by Zinfandel winemakers and experts which concludes with Terroir & Zin, a walk around tasting reception from 4:30pm–6pm, showcasing 37 Zinfandels from many growing regions of California. Students from the City College of San Francisco Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program have designed hors d’oeuvres which will accompany the seminars as well as the walk-around reception. City College of San Francisco, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Studies Program,Ocean Avenue Campus (50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, 94112, 415/239-3000); tickets are $95 for ZAP members and $125 for non-members. Tickets must be purchased in advance; none will be available at the door.
There will be two seminars; they will run concurrently and both can be attended. Zinfandel: Defining Quality will be moderated by Laurie Daniel, wine columnist for The San Jose Mercury News. Panelists are winemaker Paul Draper (Ridge Vineyards), known as a pioneer in the production of long-lived, complex Zinfandels; winemaker Jerry Seps (Storybook Mountain Vineyards), known for the intensity and longevity of his Zinfandels and winemaker Bill Easton (Easton Wines), respected for the power and finesse of his Zinfandels.Flavors of Zinfandel: Tasting Outside the Box will be moderatedby Barbara Haimes, Wine Buyer, Cafe Rouge and Wine Instructor,City College Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management. Panelists will be winemaker Joel Peterson (Ravenswood) and Master Chef Tony Lawrence (Chef For You, Philadelphia).
January 25: Good Eats & Zinfandel at Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco (Marina Blvd. at Buchanan, 94123, 415/441-3400), a lively walk-around food and wine tasting which pairs Zinfandel wineries with restaurants, 6pm–9pm. Tickets are $80 for ZAP members and $105 for non-members. Tickets must be purchased in advance; none will be available at the door.[I will tell you, there are a ton of restaurants and wineries participating—check out the site for the line-up.]
January 26: Evening with the Winemakers Benefit Auction and Dinner at The Fairmont Hotel (950 Mason Street between California & Mason, 94108, 415/772-5000). A reception with Zinfandel wineries, including a taste of the 2005 Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel (made by Bill Knuttel of Dry Creek Vineyard), on to an auction and then dinner. Tickets are $200 for ZAP members and $250 for non-members. Tickets must be purchased in advance; none will be available at the door. For more information on the unusual silent and live auction lots, please go to http://www.zinfandel.org/festival/default.asp?cid=1&n1=14&n2=0
January 27: The 16th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Tasting at the Festival and Herbst Pavilions at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco from 2pm–5pm. Tickets are $45 for ZAP members, $55 for non-members and a limited number of tickets will be available for purchase at the door at $65. (There will be a separate trade tasting from 10am-1pm.) The 16th Annual Tasting will welcome more than 250 Zinfandel wineries. Wines to be tasted will be primarily the 2004 vintage as well as 2005 barrel samples. The Tasting is the only place where Zin aficionados can purchase the Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel; in 2007 the 2004 vintage will be available (made by Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars). Each attendee receives a commemorative wineglass (to use and keep)as well as a baguette upon entering. Logo’d merchandise and mixed cases of Zinfandels are available for purchase as well. Water, coffee, cheeses, breads and fruits are available throughout the two pavilions. Parking is limited; ZAP recommends public transportation. New this year: Ft. Mason is charging $8 for parking. There will be a complimentary shuttle to the parking lot at Marina Middle School, Bay & Webster (a $10 charge there supports the school).