There’s Still Time: Celebrating Zinfandel at Zinfandel Experience 2016

Zinfandel Grapes, foundation of the Zinfandel Experience 2016Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is putting the finishing touches on Zinfandel Experience 2016, a highly anticipated extravaganza of tastings, food and wine pairings, and winemaker dinners taking place between Thursday, February 25 and Saturday, February 27.  For a change in scenery, this year’s “ZinEx” events will be housed at two new venues: the Bentley Reserve (301 Battery Street, San Francisco) on Thursday and Friday and at Pier 27 (The Embarcadero, San Francisco) on Saturday.

Zinfandel Experience 2016 is celebrating 25 years of honoring Zinfandel during this Silver Anniversary. ZAP Members and their guests (which could include you) can enjoy several events that explore a diverse selection of Zinfandel wines and styles from renowned producers and emerging wineries.

The Patio at Ridge Vineyards, a winery at Zinfandel Experience 2016

The Patio at Ridge Vineyards

Participating wineries run the gamut from A (Artezin Wines) to Z (Zenaida Cellars), and also include Bella Vineyards, Black Sears Estate, Chase Cellars, Dashe Cellars, Frank Family Vineyards, Kokomo Winery, McNab Ridge Winery, Proulx Wines, Ridge Vineyards, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Talty Winery, Troon Vineyard and Wilson Artisan Wineries.

Keep reading and we’ll tell you about the events that are part of Zinfandel Experience 2016 which still have tickets available.  When you are ready, you can go here to purchase tickets and/or go here to see the complete details about the event(s) including all of the participating wineries.

Zinfandel Experience 2016 – The Events

Thursday, February 25 – From 5:00 to 7:00 pm, a 25 Year Tribute Party & from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, the Heritage Supper Club

The 25 Year Tribute Party start to the evening celebrates ZAP’s 25th anniversary in resplendent style with a tasting featuring 60 winemakers (including ZAP’s founders) pouring cult collections, rare bottlings and vineyard designates.

Tres Sabores, a Zinfandel Experience 2016 winery

Tres Sabores

Some of the Zinfandels expected to be poured include Turley Wine Cellars 1994 Hayne Vineyard, Ravenswood 1997 Dickerson Vineyard, Carol Shelton Wines 2001-2003 Rocky Reserve, Robert Biale Vineyards 2013 25th Anniversary, Mauritson Family Winery 2013 Rockpile Cemetary Vineyard, Tres Sabores 2013 Estate, and Storrs Winery 2009 Lion Oaks Vineyard Late Harvest.  Small Plate options will include Grilled Cheese with Zin-berry Mostarda and Duck Mole Tostadas (from City College of San Francisco), and Lamb Lollipop Chops (from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse).

Tickets for the 25 Year Tribute Party are $95 per person, or $85 per person for ZAP Members.

Later that evening, the Heritage Supper Club takes place starting at 7:00 pm and is restricted to ZAP Members with the Heritage level of membership (or higher).  It’s a toast to legacy, inspiration and Zinfandel along with a special performance by Margaret Belton, the critically acclaimed star of “Always…Patsy Cline.”

Zinfandel Experience 2016 banner logo

Saturday, February 27 – From 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, or 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Grand Tasting

Pier 27, location for Zinfandel Experience 2016The centerpiece of Zinfandel Experience 2016 is the Grand Tasting at Pier 27, where wine lovers engage in personal conversations with winemakers and discover the distinctive dialects of Zinfandel’s diverse growing regions through the flavors of Zinfandel blends, single vineyards and old vine Zinfandels.

If you want, you could spend either 3, 4 or 6 hours luxuriating in Zinfandel from past, current, and future releases.  At the Grand Tasting, more than 150 winemakers and principals will pour samples as you enjoy the spacious open floor plan and panoramic views of the bay.

All-Day ticket holders start at 11:00 am with two hours of a wine lover’s dream including perfectly aged Zinfandels, limited release Reserve Zinfandels, and Barrel Samples of upcoming bottlings.  At 1:00 pm, these wines will be put away as the day segues into the Current Releases portion of the day where over 500 wines will be poured.  ZAP members can start at 1 and general public ticketholders can start at 2 pm for the afternoon’s portion of the Grand Tasting.

Shale Oak Winery

Shale Oak WInery

Throughout the Grand Tasting you can meet both legendary winemakers that have helped make Zinfandel into California’s cult grape as well as the rising stars that are carrying the Zinfandel banner into the future. In addition to the wineries mentioned above, you can also expect pours from Ballentine Vineyards, Berryessa Gap Winery, Carlisle Winery, Chacewater Winery, Cline Family Cellars, Fritz Winery, Hendry Wines, Shale Oak Winery, Rosenblum Cellars and Trentadue Winery. Heritage Club-level ZAP members will enjoy exclusive access to the Heritage Lounge on Saturday, featuring tastings of highly-allocated Zinfandels.

Canneti Roadhouse logoIf you get hungry, culinary creations will be available at the Grand Tasting as well.  Between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, items will include Black Truffle Porcini Ravioli with Black Truffle Cream and Truffle Caviar from Il Davide, Carnitas Street Tacos from Compadres Rio Grille, and Mini-Tiramisu from Canneti Roadhouse.  After 1:00 pm, tastes include Smoked Duck Brochette with Basil, Strawberry, and a Fermented Garlic Coulis from Twenty Five Lusk, Smoked Pork Rillettes with Piquillo Pepper and Fennel Salsa on Crostini from St. Francis Winery, Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs on Lavash with Pickled Red Onions from V. Sattui Winery, and other small bites from First Crush and Sonoma Cake Creations.

All-Day tickets for the Zinfandel Experience 2016 Grand Tasting are $170 per person, or $150 per person for ZAP members.   Afternoon tickets are $80 (entrance at 2:00 pm) or $70 for ZAP members (entrance at 1:00 pm).


Thursday, February 25 – From 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm, Trade and Media Tasting

ZAP BarrelsFYI, before the public events at Zinfandel Experience 2016, ZAP is offering an opportunity for qualified Trade and Media members to explore the latest Zinfandel releases and talk with the winemakers who made them.  Participating wineries include ACORN Winery, Gamba Vineyards & Winery, Mauritson Family Winery, Mueller Winery, Ravenswood, Ridge Vineyards, Robert Biale Vineyards, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Storrs Winery & Vineyards, and Tres Sabores (and over 70 more).

Trade members must be a representative of a licensed on- or off-premise wine buyer/seller (including distributors, licensed brokers, restaurants and retailers).  Media wishing to attend any ZinEx event must register on-line and obtain confirmation in advance.   For more information, please go here.

ZAP Membership

ZAP Logo RedAre you thinking about joining? ZAP members enjoy a connection with a community of other Zinfandel lovers, unique winery and special event opportunities, exposure to leading-edge Zinfandel education, and the deep satisfaction of supporting this popular varietal.  There are five levels of membership available, with varying packages of benefits, starting with the Advocate level (at $45 per year) which allows the purchase of discounted tickets for up to 4 people per event. The next level of membership (Heritage) is $250 and comes with invitations to exclusive events, 3 bottles of Heritage Vintage Zinfandel and access to the Heritage Club Lounge during the Zinfandel Experience’s Grand Tasting.  You can learn more about the membership levels and associated benefits by going here.



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