• Usually I tell you about wine tastings after they have happened. That’s just mean, I know. “Hey look how much fun I had. You shoulda been there!”

    I talk about these wine tastings because I find wines that I want to share.

    This post however, is pre-tasting! It’s almost time for one of my favorite wine tastings of the year.

    The Family Winemakers of California – in San Francisco

    Imagine a football field of wine. It takes a half an hour just to traverse the zig-zagging booths without stopping for a drink.



    I usually go the first day just to scope out what I want to taste, and then come back on day two with a coworker or friend.

    The Family Winemakers of California was founded to give voice to small, family wineries in the public policy arena.

    So, not only are they all family owned, but most of the booths have one or more family member pouring their own wine.

    Whether you go or not there are some wines you should definitely check out…

    Sobon, for instance is a fabulous producer. Leon Sobon is a cooky guy full of passion for his land, his family and his wine. They are sustainably farmed, carbon neutral, and with a solar system that powers 100% of their electrical needs. I just tried their Amador County Zinfandel for the umpteenth time yesterday. It’s a tremendous value.

    Sobon Estate 2011 Amador County Zinfandel

    “This is a fragrant, rich, full bodied zin with very forward, fruit driven flavors. It is meant for everyday drinking, but will improve with up to five years of bottle aging. It is a blend of several of our old zinfandel vineyards.”

    At around $15 it is screaming good.

    Another great winemaker to check out is Kaena.

    I’ve been enjoying quite a few of their Grenaches lately. Their Grenache Rose is tremendous.

    2012 Kaena Wine Company Grenache Rose Santa Ynez Valley

    “This Grenache rose is a fun dark pink in the glass hinting at ripe California fruit.  It’s got a playful candied yet fresh nose evoking vanilla, hot cotton candy, and circus peanuts.  The wine-maker does a good job of taming the ripeness of the fruit and bringing out lovely clean strawberry and Asian pear flavors riding on a silky smooth body.  This wine ends super clean with just a hint of green on the finish.”

    –          Steve Gevurtz


    These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. With hundreds of producers and 3 to 10 wines apiece, you will literally get lost in wine.

    So I’d better see you there..

    Saturday, August 17 — Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

    1:00 – 3:00, open to trade only; 3:00 – 6:00, open to the public and the trade

    Sunday, August 18 — Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

    1:00 – 5:00, open to trade only

    I’m a big fan of the family owned operation. They aren’t always the best wine you’ve ever had (though some are), but they are passionate and actually care. It shows in their wine and that’s something to be proud of.