The 8th annual International Alsace Varietals Festival is coming to Mendocino County on February 9th and 10th this year. This festival celebrates varietals such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Muscat and is organized by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association. If you enjoy white wines more than red, or are just a fan of the Alsace varietals, you should seriously think about attending.
On February 9th there are three key events, with the first two happening at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in downtown Boonville (14400 Highway 128). In the morning, from 8:30 to 12:45, the International Alsace Varietals Festival has an Educational Session where you can listen to and interact with winemakers from around the world as they discuss the topics of grape growing and winemaking specific to Alsace varietals (and a Continental Breakfast will be provided). Topics this year will include “Botrytis in the Vineyard,” “A ‘Gastro’ Tour of Alsace,” and “30 Years of Riesling – A Retrospective Tasting and Discussion.” At the end of the Educational Session, just before the Grand Tasting starts, there will be a Food/Wine Demonstration from Evan Goldstein, author of “Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food.”
In the afternoon, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, the Grand Tasting offers over 100 Alsace varietal wines from both domestic and international wineries. Some of the wineries participating this year are Anne Amie Vineyards, Breggo Cellars, Claiborne & Churchill, Cutruzzola Vineyards, Elke Vineyards, Lazy Creek Vineyards, Londer Vineyards, Navarro Vineyards, Philo Ridge Vineyards, Domaines Schlumberger, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, and Trefethen. There will also be food available to pair with these aromatic white wines, with dishes including fresh oysters and Tart Flambeé.
The International Alsace Varietals Festival Winemakers Dinner happens that night at 6:30 pm, in the elegant private dining room at Scharffenberger Cellars in Philo (8501 Highway 128). Renowned Chef (and author) John Ash will present a special menu for the occasion, and the Dinner will feature 6 winemakers.
On Sunday, February 10th, many of the wineries in Anderson Valley will be holding Open Houses as part of the Festival. Activities will include seminars, food and wine pairings, tours, and more. To learn more about the International Alsace Varietals Festival and to order tickets, click here. The Educational Session is $45 per person, and the Grand Tasting is $65 per person, but if you want to attend both a combined ticket is only $100. The Winemakers Dinner is $130 per person (but if this sounds good to you, move quickly as the event is almost sold out).
The Anderson Valley is located in the rolling hills of the coastal region of Mendocino County, about two hours north of San Francisco. Only fifteen miles long, this beautiful valley is home to a unique group of vineyards and wineries producing a broad range of excellent wines. Their tasting rooms range from a picnic table at a backyard winery to a beautiful salon at a sleek, modern facility. Known for world-class Pinot Noir and Alsace Varietals, the Anderson Valley offers a great wine tasting destination.
If you want to learn more about our favorite wineries in Anderson Valley and our favorite places to go for food, click here.