|Mt. Veeder Tasting @ Hess Collection Winery|
Wine events can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be focused on wine from a certain country, region, appellation or often times are fundraisers for non-profit organizations. I think the best events are those that have wine and food pairings where often times I think the food is more impressive than the wine. A great resource for finding wine events in your area is Local Wine Events.
If you are heading to a wine event in the near future, here are a few things to keep in mind.
|Santa Lucia Highlands Gala|
- Don't wear white - it seems simple enough, but I've made this mistake more than once. Let your nice white pants, shirts and dresses sit this one out. Even if you're being careful not to spill, that guy next to you may not be.
- Drink water - again, seems like common sense but it doesn't happen nearly enough. Those times you want to rinse your glass out, fill it up and drink the water in it rather than just dumping it out. Better yet, bring your own water bottle so you don't have to rely on the event having water available.
- Dump or spit - you don't have to do it all the time, but take a break every once and a while and dump after one taste rather than finishing it. Also, don't feel bad pouring a taste out that you don't care for.
- Eat! - not every event has a great selection of food. It's always better to eat before going to the event if you're unsure of what type of food will be served. Many times it's crackers and cheese, which won't sustain you for 3-4 hours of wine tasting.
- Ask your favorite tables if they brought anything else with them - if you're nice enough (and not a rowdy, glass breaking attendee), you may be lucky to sample a special bottle that is "under the table". Not every winery brings things they aren't pouring for the masses, but some do and it's often really unique interesting varietals that they are bringing to showcase to other wine makers. It never hurts to ask!
- Wine events aren't about getting drunk - (although it is a nice side benefit). Try to learn something from the people pouring your wine and take your time while tasting. More importantly, don't be that person who shatters your glass on purpose at the end of an event. It's not cool.
My favorite Bay Area wine events:
- Cooking for Solutions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. By far one of my favorites. Great wineries, incredible food and an amazing space. Taste wine and eat delicious food among the jelly fish!
- Dark and Delicious. An event hosted by P.S. I Love You solely focused on Petite Sirah and food that goes well with that varietal. Definitely don't wear white to this one.
- SF Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting. The public tasting for all the wines that were medal winners in the SF Chronicle competition. Lots of good wine and a huge event at Fort Mason in San Francisco.
- Santa Lucia Highlands Gala. This is my favorite event in Northern California. A great mix of Pinot Noir and other varietals in a very laid back setting. This event always sells out so get your tickets early. It's a short drive from this wine region to Carmel and Monterey.
- Toast of the Town. This is an annual Wine Enthusiast event that happens in multiple cities in the U.S. You can read more about the San Francisco event here.
Wine festivals are a great opportunity to discover new wines. At many events, the wine makers are pouring behind the tables so you'll have access to the people who know the real deal with their wines. I've seen a lot of wine festivals release discounted tickets on sites like Goldstar or to other daily deal services so spend some time doing your research.
Any other great wine festivals I should be checking out?
(I forgot my own advice and did wear white to a wine event yesterday).