In January, the non-profit organization Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) holds a three-day festival in the San Francisco area based on the Zinfandel grape. Events usually include a dine-around wine and food pairing event (“Epicuria”), structured tasting sessions (“Flights”), a lavish winemaker dinner (“Winemakers Dinner”), and the festival culminates in a walk-around tasting of hundreds of Zinfandels (“Grand Tasting”).
The Winemakers Dinner festivities include both silent and live auctions, while the Epicuria and Grand Tasting events usually have silent auctions. The Grand Tasting is huge, and enormously popular. For several years, it has been held at Fort Mason in San Francisco where two buildings were needed to accomodate all of the wineries. In 2012, the event is moving a few miles south, to the Grand Concourse in the South of Market area.
The Grand Tasting is a wonderful opportunity to check out some wineries you may have never heard of before, revisit old favorites, and discover some new ones. Of the ZAP members that usually pour at the event, we highly recommend you make sure to visit these ten first:
Gamba Vineyards and Winery (Fulton, CA)
Hendry (Napa, CA)
Mauritson Wines (Healdsburg, CA)
Ravenswood Winery (Sonoma, CA)
Robert Biale Vineyards (Napa, CA)
Seghesio Family Vineyards (Healdsburg, CA)
Tofanelli Family Vineyard (Calistoga, CA)
Turley Wine Cellars (Templeton, CA)
Wilson Winery and Vineyards (Healdsburg, CA)
ZinAlley Winery (Templeton, CA)