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Get ready for the Annual Family Winemakers of California Tasting in SF on Aug 23

While much of the sheer volume of California wine is produced by very large corporate wineries, the vast majority of wineries in the state are family owned. It is those small, unique wineries that produce most of the best wines this country has to offer.

It isn’t always easy to find many of the wines for tasting though. Production quantities tend to be low and distribution limited. Some of the best small wineries don’t even have tasting rooms. So, while family wineries thrive on selling wine direct to consumer it’s often hard for consumers to get that essential first introduction to a wine.

The Annual Family Winemakers of California Tasting at Fort Mason in San Francisco is perhaps the best chance to taste a multitude of these special wines. This year, on Sunday, August 23, there will be about 360 small wineries offering tastes. With most of the wineries providing samples of multiple wines, the variety will be staggering. As will some of the tasters.


There will be wineries from all over the state, from north to south and from coast to mountain. And there will probably be more than 50 different varieties on offer. I’m looking forward to trying wines from some of the new wineries that have emerged in the past year as well as new vintages from old favorites. There are a lot of big tasting events but this is one you should really try to attend.

Wisconsin cheeses and Marcel & Henri Pate will be served at the event to complement the wines and keep you going but be sure to have a good breakfast and/or lunch before arriving. Even if you are spitting every taste, as you should at such events, the alcohol can sneak up on you.

The 19th Annual Family Winemakers of California Tasting will be held at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Tickets are $50 per person in advance, $45 per person if ordered in groups of 10 or more, and $60 per person at the door.  Tickets can be online at or by calling 877-772-5425.

Family Winemakers of California was founded in 1991 to give voice and presence to small, family wineries in California.  The annual tasting started as an event for retail and restaurant wine buyers.  In 1997 a consumer tasting was added to the event, and it quickly became popular with consumers looking to discover new wines. Additional information is available at

This article is original to except for the last two paragraphs and the Tasting 2009 logo which were provided by Family Winemakers of California. Copyright 2009 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.