Pinot Days: Eat, Drink and Blog Merry

A couple years ago as I was starting my own small lot winery in the neighborhood, I heard excited rumblings about a new San Francisco based festival called Pinot Days. It sounded like one of the many small quaint shows typical of Northern California, featuring some local wines, a little food, and attended by casual wine fans; the type of show I might attend if I happened to find myself in the area.

I was, as my wife often proves, conceptually misguided. In fact, Pinot Days is such a prominent fixture now in the national wine scene that preparing for the show this year is the most pressing issue on my mind.

Call it a “Perfect Storm” of fortuitous planning, but the first two annual Pinot Days in 2005 and 2006 dovetailed with a powerful, exciting new guard in the Pinot world – Kosta Browne, Loring, Dain, Papapietro Perry, Woodenhead, and others who have helped to make the show a great success. Add to that the location of the event, which falls close to a number of great producers and serves as ground zero for a fanatical, intelligent fan-base for the varietal. Finally, there is the soaring popularity of wine blogs, where attendees eagerly post and read the reviews of the best new wines tasted at the show.

The end result: founder Steven Rigisich has created the World Series of Pinot. Attendance grew from around 1,500 in 2005 to 3,000 last year, and is expected to grow yet again this year with more wineries on hand.

We considered putting Kindred into the mix last year, but were not comfortable going in with just a single barrel sample offering from our 2005 vintage. This year we will be pouring our 2005 Amber Ridge Vineyard from bottle, as well as our 2006 Morris Ranch and 2006 Amber Ridge from barrel. It is our first major tasting event, and one of the most important for us to announce our presence on the regional wine map.

Many new producers lack the marketing budget, critical reviews or press support to launch their brands quickly and effectively, so this is a perfect opportunity to meet directly with a large number of oenophiles from a focused demographic. With a good showing, a producer can count on an electric buzz on the blogs afterward, akin to a grass-roots effort from a group making a conscious effort to support new wineries.

Kindred will be one of almost 175 wineries descending on Fort Mason to pour our wares at the Grand Tasting on Sunday July 1st from 1PM – 5PM. There is an accompanying separate admission series of small interactive tastings from 12PM - 2PM, running the gamut from Appellation and Vineyard specific tastings, to Women winemakers, to Pinot alcohol levels. Kindred will be part of the “New Producers” panel in the series.

There are also a number of special events during the course of the weekend. Friday, June 29th features a Winemaker’s Dinner and charity auction, while Saturday, June 30th is slated for limited admission tastings, one focusing on Pisoni and Rosella’s vineyards, another on Anderson Valley, and the last on Sonoma Coast and Russian River.

Gentlemen, start your blogs.

Tickets and information are available at
www.pinotdays.com.
Attendance to the Grand Tasting is $50.
Most events held at Fort Mason, Landmark Building A in San Francisco