POSTED ON January 4, 2011 | IN Activities, Wine Education, Wine News | BY Joe Becerra

There will be a large number of Napa Valley wineries participating in this year’s Zinfandel Festival that runs from January 27 – 29 in San Francisco. I have six tickets to give away, two each to three lucky winners to the culminating event of this festival, the Grand Zinfandel Tasting at Fort Mason on Saturday, January 29. Over 250 wineries will be pouring Zinfandel wines between 2 pm and 5 pm at the Herbst and Festival Pavillions at Fort Mason. These tickets have a value of $70 each and here is how you can win a set of two tickets.

The Contest
Create an alliterative zin jingle. Here is an example: “The zany zin drinkers zeroed in on a zebra.” Enter your jingle in the comment section of this post by the end of the day, January 9, 2011. Winners will receive tickets directly from ZAP. Winners must provide their own transportation to the Grand Tasting. If you don’t happen to win the contest, don’t let that stop you from attending. It is a great event and a terrific way to learn about Zinfandel. Many of the winemakers and wine owners pour at this event.

Tips for Attending the Grand Tasting
We have been attending for many years, so we have some important tips to make your experience the best. Get there early. That means you should be at the door at 1:45 and not looking for a parking space at that time. You are more likely to win the lottery than find a nearby parking space. If you live in or close to San Francisco, take public transportation. If you get there early, you should be able to park your car at Marina Middle School on Fillmore Street, just a ten-minute walk to the pavillions. When you enter the hall, you will get a glass, a spit cup, and a booklet listing the wineries pouring Zins. Your most important item of the three is the spit cup; use it so you can get the most from your three hours of tasting Zinfandel wines. If don’t spit, you won’t be able to judge the wines or, for that matter, remember ever being at the Grand Tasting!

250 Wineries will pour Zinfandel at the Grand Tasting

Because you will be tasting so many wines you need to think about a system for remembering the wines that made an impression. Use your Zin roster booklet or a small pad to take notes. Another idea is to take a photo with your cell phone of your absolute favorite wines. I have also seen some people use their iPhone recording app to make a voice memo about their favorite wines. Take a short rest every half hour and enjoy the bread, cheese and water that is provided. Give your taste buds and senses a chance to rest. Pace yourself and don’t fret if you can’t get a taste of the most popular wines. Often the least known wineries with the shortest lines might have a delicious surprise in store for you.


  1. Kris Cannon says

    (To the tune of Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye)

    Sippity doo dah, Zinfandel day,
    Take ankle-express or Muni Sunday.
    Brings notes and spit cup, list all of the best,
    Great wines you will taste from Zinfandel Fest.