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Category - Special Event
Posted - 08/07/2014 10:03pm
San Francisco’s New “Zinfandel Experience”: A Fresh Face for 2014

When: January 23-25, 2014

Locations: The "Presidio" & "Four Seasons Hotel" in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Zinfandel fans take note. For many years, one of my favorite annual wine events has been San Francisco's Zinfandel Festival. But with maturity often comes insight, introspection, and the dreaded "C" word—CHANGE. And so this year, 2014, the classic food and wine spectacular will don a fresh face. Say goodbye to the old Zinfandel "Festival" and hello to the new Zinfandel "Experience".

glass of red wine

The setting of a major wine event should certainly be as memorable and inspiring as the wines to be served. Hence, American's ultimate celebration of all things Zinfandel now has a new format and new locations. Rather than staging the festive tastings within crowded, cavernous, and sometimes chilly, warehouse venues as in previous years, participants will now enjoy the multiple "Experience" events within historic buildings and backdrops of the incomparable Presidio, which overlooks San Francisco Bay, and the venerable Four Seasons Hotel. Thus, granting the recast "Experience" a measure of newfound elegance.

"The new format offers four events over three days that highlight vineyard character, winemaking techniques and historic connections that celebrate Zinfandel's native taste and value, all nuanced with winemaker personalities and family traditions," so says Mark Vernon, President of Ridge Vineyards and ZAP President.

drinking wine

However, I've heard that perhaps the biggest change occurs on Saturday to what was formerly known as the "Grand Tasting" (my favorite event) which has now been divided into three unique "tracks" housed in three separate buildings at the Presidio. Get this: Each session will be limited to 350 people—far less than the former Zinfandel Festival. The result is expected to be less crowds, no more long lines to taste, and reduced noise. The new "more intimate" format will allow for more time to visit, make discoveries, and linger at your favorite winery. Overall, I'd say participants can expect a much more enjoyable event. I like the sound of this.


Now here's the bad news for those procrastinators out there: 

Thursday Jan. 23, 2014
Epicuria Food & Zin Parings - SOLD OUT
Presidio Golden Gate Club, San Francisco, CA

Friday Jan. 24, 2014
Flights! Forums of Flavors - SOLD OUT
Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco

Friday Jan. 24, 2014
Winemaker Dinner & Auction - SOLD OUT
Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco



But here's the good news:

Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014
This Saturday's Zinfandel Experience "Tasting Tracks" at the Presidio, San Francisco, still has tickets available. Yea! (You better act fast.)

"Create your own itinerary to explore and sample. Select among three distinct and informative tracks that will take you on an in-depth and intimate Zinfandel tasting experience or participate in all three. Zinfandel enthusiasts will have ample opportunity to informally visit and taste with winemakers. Between sessions, visit the gourmet food trucks and enjoy the beautiful lawns and historic sites at the Presidio. You can even take home some of your favorite wines from the new ZAP General Store. Stroll at your own pace or take a complimentary shuttle. Visitors enjoy free parking. Sessions begin at 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. Tickets are limited."

LOCATION: All three Tasting Track programs are held at The Presidio, 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Track 1: Sensory Tasting
Track 2: Reserve & Barrel Tasting
Track 3: Terroir Tasting

Check it out:

Last year you'll recall I highly recommended this event. I even told many of you to plan ahead. Well, planning ahead sometimes isn't easy. So get in on this now while you still can and have fun. You'll taste some inspiring Zinfandel at this event. There is simply no better way to immerse yourself in America's Heritage wine. Yes, you can quote me on that. Have fun wine lovers!

—Tom Silberkleit, "California Wine Travel Insider"
Publisher of The California Directory of Fine Wineries
"Look for our new ebooks for Kindle, iPad, & all other devices"

group photo

ABOUT ZAP - The organization that puts on this annual event.
The Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, educational organization. ZAP is dedicated to advancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. Winegrowers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts combine to form the membership. The common focus is the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America's heritage wine. Learn more at

To learn more about the all new Zinfandel Experience and order tickets, please visit or call 530-274-4900.

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