Hurray! It’s almost time for the 23rd Annual Family Winemakers of California Tasting in San Francisco on August 17 and 18 at Fort Mason Center (in the Festival Pavilion). Family Winemakers tastings are comprised of wineries that are small (under 5000 cases) and that will be represented by actual family members at the event. Even if you were at the 2012 SF tasting, you should know there are over 25 new wineries participating this year.
Attendees at the 2013 Family Winemakers of California Tasting will have unlimited access to over 200 wineries pouring about 800 wines crafted from over 35 varietals. Many wineries will have special pricing on selected wines and/or shipping costs. In addition, there will be some “Taste and Take” options so people can purchase their favorite wines at the event to take home with them.
Here are just some of the wineries you can find at this year’s Tasting: Ancien Wines, Chacewater Winery, Chateau Montelena, Dashe Cellars, Dierberg Vineyard/Star Lane Vineyard, Dutton-Goldfield, Fenestra Winery, Fritz Underground Winery, Grgich Hills Estate, Hendry Wines, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Lagier Meredith Vineyard, Mi Sueño Winery, Navarro Vineyards, Paloma Vineyard, Pat Paulsen Vineyards, Presqu’ile Winery, Ramey Wine Cellars, Seebass Vineyards & Family Wines, Smith-Madrone, Stonestreet Winery, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Tudal Winery, and Urban Legend Cellars. For a complete list of participating wineries, please go here.
There is a change this year in that Family Winemakers of California has expanded the tasting to two days: one day is for both Trade and Consumers, and the second day is for Trade only (although there are limited tickets available for Consumers so they can attend during the Trade portions). On Saturday, August 17, the public tasting is from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, with Trade (and Consumers with special tickets) able to enter at 1:00 pm. On Sunday, August 18, the Trade tasting is from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.
An additional feature at the 2013 FWC Tasting is the iSip Lounge, an exclusive area offering special access to wines being poured that retail at $75 or more per bottle. There will be ten different wineries each hour between 3:00 and 6:00 pm on Saturday, August 17, pouring fine wines such as: 2011 Estate Cuvée from L’Aventure; 2009 Reserve Merlot from Keenan Winery; 2010 Beckstoffer Vineyard George III Cabernet Sauvignon from Sojourn Cellars; and a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Lamborn Family Vineyards. If you want to see the complete list of wineries, their wines and the schedule for the iSip Lounge Area then please go here.
Here is the ticket cost breakdown for the public at the SF Family Winemakers of California Tasting (and please realize that some options are only available in advance):
- Saturday, August 17, Public Tasting (from 3-6): $60 per person or $55 per person for groups of 10 or more if purchased by August 16. At the door, tickets will be $70 each.
- Saturday, August 17, Public Tasting with added access to iSip Lounge (3-6): $85 if purchased by August 16.
- Saturday, August 17, All Access admission for Trade hours (1-6, which includes access to iSip Lounge from 3-6): $100.
- Sunday, August 18, All Access admission for Trade hours (1-5): $85.
- Saturday or Sunday, Designated Driver admission: Free (but must be “purchased” in advance and there are limited DD passes available).
To purchase your tickets in advance (and/or to reserve Designated Driver passes), please go here.
Another helpful feature of the Family Winemakers of California Tasting is a varietal map available for your customizable use. So whether you want to start your day with a lap around the Festival Pavilion savoring Sparkling Wines, indulge in a sampling of all the Petit Verdots you can find, or satisfy your craving for Albariños, you can use this handy map to plan your strategy. In fact, there are 37 different categories you can select from. To check out this tool in advance please go here. Otherwise, there will also be a list of wineries sorted by varietal category in the program you receive on the day of the Tasting.
The focus of this year’s Family Winemakers of California Tasting is to bring the winery experience “From Our Table to Yours.” There is a unique story behind every winery and at the event you can talk with family members and hear how their inspirations and dreams helped bring them to where they are today. This is your chance to learn the history of family-owned wineries such as:
- Ampelos Cellars where the owners were inspired by a gift from their son.
- Blair Estate and how they named their flagship Pinot Noir’s source vineyard after their loving grandmother, Delfina.
- Coquelicot Estate Vineyard, inspired by the owner’s dream to return to his idyllic past growing up in France with its fields of Coquelicot flowers.
- L’Aventure, the result of the owner’s pursuit for the freedom to make more innovative blends than his hometown of Bordeaux allowed.
- Lamborn Family Vineyards which started with a father and son joining forces to purchase 40 acres on Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley over 40 years ago.
- Petroni Vineyards, born from the owner’s quest to be the first California vintner to grow the prized Sangiovese Grosso clone from his native Tuscany.
Small, family-owned wine producers across the state are the foundation of Family Winemakers of California. Formed in 1991 to lobby for the rights of its members to freely produce, market and sell their products, the organization currently represents over 500 producers. FWC hosts tastings each year in San Diego, Pasadena and San Francisco to provide small wineries an effective way to share the wines they craft so you can enjoy their products on your table at home. In 2014, the San Diego and Pasadena tastings will be on March 9 and 11, respectively.
Once again, for complete details on the 2013 Family Winemakers of California Tasting in San Francisco and/or to purchase tickets, please go here.