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Posted - 05/04/2015 01:41am
Rhone Rangers Wine Tasting Event 2015 San Francisco - Wrap-Up Report

RICHMOND, CA—Environment and setting is, of course, quite complementary to any exhibition: painting, sculpture and, yes, even in the culinary and wine worlds. If a brilliant painting is put down on the wrong substrate it becomes a lessor piece. Presented within an incompatible frame -- a work of art is certainly depreciated.


Bravo to those who selected the perfect setting for this year’s Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting which was held on March 28, 2015. The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA proved a terrific space to showcase a stellar group of wineries. The 525,000 sq ft historic building basks in natural light streaming in through a magnificent array of glass skylights. Though, at heart, an industrial structure, the 1931 marvel sits at the edge of the water with a commanding view of the Bay Bridge. No matter what your mood upon arrival, the salty sea breeze here will always render you unable to suppress the giddiness that comes with being in the presence of the region’s most prominent natural wonder. 


Some Favorite California Wineries In Attendance—

I was absolutely in the right frame of mind to sample the various Rhone varietal grapes that were featured at the event. 

The Reds: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Picpoul, and others. 

The WhitesViognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, and more. 

So much delicious wine... It was a casual affair and there was plenty of time to chat and socialize with winemakers. Once I went through the list of participating wineries — I knew that I’d be in for a grand day of tasting...

The following fine producers were in attendance. I am quite familiar with the quality of their wines. They are all HIGHLY recommend:

Maggie Tillman of Alta Colina
Benjamin Silver of Silver Wines
Fess Parker Winery

Carl Bowker winemaker, Caliza
Legendary winemaker: Ken Volk
Larry Schaffer - Tercero Wines

Stacey Burkman from Clayhouse Wines
Kevin Archambeault of Derby Wine Estates

Stacy Bonnifield of Eberle Winery
Soren Christensen, Winemaker at Hearst Ranch

Elisa Brennan of Lasseter Family Winery
Mark Stern of Pomar Junction

Matt Mauldin of Zaca Mesa Winery
Stephanie and Zane Fisher of Vina Robles

So much good wine -- alas, so little time... Below are additional California wineries I tasted at the event that are now on my watch list (and should be on yours' too!)—


Some of the above wines are in wide distribution while others can be hard to find outside of their tasting rooms. This annual Bay Area event is one that should be on your calendar. It's really an economical way to sample a variety of wines and take note of the brands that suit your taste. Then, the next time you're out for a good dinner you can peruse the wine list and be more in control to make sure you select a wine that you know you love. (Please - never drink bad wine with a good meal!)

The Rhone Rangers also host events in Los Angeles and Paso Robles. These events are put on by good people... To me, that's an important side note.

The Rhone Rangers mission: "Advancing the knowledge and enjoyment of Rhone wines produced in America". I recommend visiting their website to learn more about these delicious wines.

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