Yesterday was a day indeed. I woke up with a swollen ankle, a purple tongue and a wee bit of a headache.
The Wine Competition Tasting, held at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion is sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle and is the largest wine competition for American wines in the country! It took place yesterday 2/16 from 2-5pm. It was 50$ per ticket in advance and $70 at the door if there were day of even tickets left. Which there weren’t of course. I knew we were in for an interesting day when on the way into the venue I noticed a gaggle of girls out front attempting to scalp tickets! Signs scribbled in Sharpie and all.
Upon entering the hall you are given a small bag of Acme bread, a bottle of water and a wine glass. Let me just tell you… the bread and water will not help you. Granted… this is a wine tasting but 4,235 wines entered into the 2008 competition, and it seemed as if each of them had a booth and a heavy handed ‘tasting’ pour!
One for red, one for white
According to the Fort Mason website: “Those attending the wine competition will swirl, sniff, sip, and savor their favorite varietals in a complimentary crystal Schott Zwiesel Tritan wine glass.” You should read this as: thousands of people will get sloshed beyond belief and will smash said crystal class on the floor of the ladies room.
Basically you bop from table to table and taste the winning entries from all over the United States (with a large majority being local). You also are treated to nibbles from Bay Area artisan foods, including cookies, fruits, oils, cheeses and meats. Meaning you will come home with a bag of figs and tub of pate in your purse. The pate was an enthusiastically given gift by the purveyor himself! Our fervor for the product induced him to save us a full tub of the stuff to grab on our way out!
But really the wines were the stars. I found a few wines that I instantly fell in love with and there were a few amazing ports and dessert wines as well. It also became very clear that I could actually afford most of the wines attending! It was the rare wine that even hit the 40$ a bottle mark. If you ordered that day most of the wineries were also willing to ship directly to you for free.
For a complete list of winners see here. Although I have to say, the many of the wines that didn’t win awards were just great. The event’s 3 hours flew by in one grape filled whir but was a fantastic experience.
I can’t wait until next year! Although, hopefully next year my only souvenir will be another tub of pate and not a sprained ankle…. but that’s another story entirely.