What does California taste like? A great many things glorious and delicious. And now you have a chance to taste many of them, if you want. It happens to be California Wine Month, thanks to a declaration from Governor Jerry Brown. I've never paid much attention to these kinds of proclamations, whose main purpose seems to be just trying to raise awareness of a product in the minds of consumers, but without much substance to the campaign.
But in the case of California Wine Month, they're not just doing stump speeches and press releases, the California Wine Institute has actually put together a tasting, called California Wine Rush. It's not just any tasting, however, it's a particularly interesting one -- a tasting completely focused on wine regions of California, to the exclusion of specific emphasis on the wineries themselves.
Check out the Paso Robles table, the Sonoma table, or the Napa table. Sidle on up to the Santa Barbara tasting bar and then slip over to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hundreds of wines will be poured and you can taste your way around the state while wandering around in the beautiful architecture of San Francisco's Ferry Plaza with a view of the Bay Bridge.
This is not only the first event of its kind, I believe it's the first consumer event that the California Wine Institute (best known known for their market research and advocacy work) has ever put on. so I can't vouch for how it's set up or organized, but it looks like it's worth checking out. Especially if you're a busy wine lover that just can't seem to find the time to spend a whole day driving out to visit some of California's more remote wine regions.
And of course, there will be food -- artisan cheeses and salumis -- catered by one of the Bay Area's most formidable catering talents (that I wanted, but couldn't afford, for my wedding) Paula Le Duc.
Need one more reason to check it out? A portion of the proceeds benefit CUESA (the Center for Urban Education On Sustainable Agriculture), an organization that, among other things, runs the Ferry Plaza Farmer's markets; as well as the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
And the icing on the cake? Starting right now 100 tickets will be available for sale at a 25% discount using the promo code: ALDER. First come, first serve. Ready, set, go.
Full disclosure: this event is a paid advertiser.
2011 California Wine Rush
12 Noon to 3:00 PM
San Francisco Ferry Plaza (upstairs)
The Embarcadero (map)
Tickets to the event are a reasonable $45 and should be purchased in advance online.
Parking on Saturday the 17th will be somewhat tricky. There is a lot on the Embarcadero that offers validated parking ($5 purchase at a Ferry Plaza store required), and there is some street parking as well. But the best bet is public transportation (Bart or Muni to the Embarcadero, or ferries from Marin or the East Bay).
My usual tips for such public tastings: wear darker clothing; be well slept and hydrated; leave the cologne and perfume off for the day; have something in your stomach; and spit out the wine if you want to learn something!