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Zinfandel enthusiasts flock to Bay Area for upcoming festival

21 Jan 2014 6:59 AM
Zinfandel enthusiasts flock to Bay Area for upcoming festival

High-end wineries and sprawling vineyards have long been located up and down California's coastline, producing some of the finest grapes for white and red blends found across the country - and world. Accordingly, the Golden State has become a premier destination for oenophiles seeking the opportunity to not only taste exclusive wines, but learn about their subtle notes straight from the source.

Traditionally, one of the most popular varietals that is grown both on the West Coast as well as internationally has been zinfandel. And, this week, those who appreciate the fruity, complex flavors produced by these grapes will be offered the chance to sample a number of different wines amid the picturesque metropolis of San Francisco, during the 2014 Zinfandel Experience.

As one of the country's most vibrant cultural centers, the City by the Bay will play host to the festival from Thursday, Jan. 23 through Saturday, Jan. 25, with numerous events being held at multiple locations. Organized by Zinfandel Associates & Producers, this all new special occasion aims to celebrate America's heritage wine with a reimagined take on the ever-popular Zinfandel Festival, providing ticket holders a new format that combines luxury style and casual enjoyment. Tastings are slated to be held both within the city's iconic Four Seasons Hotel and at the historic Presidio, overlooking the storied San Francisco Bay, promising that all who attend will be treated to a memorable, upscale affair.

Four innovative events comprise three-day festival
Designed with the taster in mind, festival-goers will be treated to a myriad of unique activities during the three days, each set amid a pleasing environment boasting intimate camaraderie within the famed metropolitan area. According to ZAP, zinfandel enthusiasts will experience a total of four different events during the festival: Epicuria, Flights, a Winemaker's Dinner and Tasting Tracks.

Epicuria - From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 23 at The Golden Gate Club, oenophiles will be encouraged to indulge their inner epicurean and sample sophisticated zinfandels paired with fresh, whimsical gastronomic offerings from master chefs. During the evening's festivities, attendees can visit with any of the 30 featured winemakers, as well as the culinary experts and fellow wine lovers. Tickets can be purchased by ZAP members for $95, and by non-members for $125

Flights - Featuring a professional tasting seminar focused on highly allocated, limited production zinfandel blends, this event - occurring from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 24 - promises to be as educational as it will be enjoyable. Those who attend will gain insight regarding the depth, range and character of zinfandel wines. Partnering with the Historic Vineyard Society, ZAP will present wines created from the fruits of three acclaimed vineyards by 15 different winemakers. Members can gain admission for $70, while non-members can purchase tickets for $85.

Winemaker's Dinner and Auction - The evening of Jan. 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., ZAP members can cut loose and enjoy a curated menu of culinary creations during this fabulous-forties themed benefit. Mark Richardson, executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, will offer inventive dishes that perfectly pair with the blends crafted by 18 top zinfandel winemakers and owners. Attendees will be able to bid on remarkable packages that combine art, wine and travel, as well as numerous interactive experiences. Proceeds will benefit ZAP programming and education, in addition to its Heritage Projects. Tickets are available for $275.

Tasting Tracks - On Saturday, the festival's final event will take place at three separate but nearby venues, with a complimentary shuttle available to all ticket holders. Offered at three session times, these three distinct tracks for informative and intimate in-depth tastings allow individuals to tailor their experience by choosing where they want to go and what they want to sample. With no more than 350 people allowed in each session, attendees won't be faced with long lines or distracting ambient noise as they casually visit each participating winery. Outside each location, gourmet food trucks will provide high-end sustenance.

The first track available - sensory tasting - is described as a fun and interactive foray into flavor, and will be held at Herbst at the Presido. Track two - reserve and barrel tasting - will offer enthusiasts the chance to sample new and rare zinfandels at The Film Centre. The third track - terrior tasting - which will be held at the Observation Post, offers oenophiles the opportunity to expand their regional expertise by detailing topographical differences and their unique effects. Tickets to individual tasting tracks are available $60 to ZAP members, and $70 to non-members.

Those interested in participating in any of the elegant activities that will be provided as part of ZAP's 2014 Zinfandel Experience can learn more by calling 530-274-4900 or purchase tickets through the official event website.