Why a Somm? Three ways to leverage an expert

If you’re like me, you want your dollar to go as far as possible. From restaurants to travel and wine, it’s not necessarily the cheapest choice, but more so receiving the maximum benefit from your investment.  In the case of wine, this can be confusing. Pricing doesn’t correlate with quality, producers that spend more on marketing than the production of quality wines often inflate the cost. So how do you know you’re getting an excellent value wine? Through trusted resource – your Somm. These highly specialized experts are skilled in recognizing varietals, vintages, regions and can help you select the best value for your dollar.

Here are a few situations to leverage a Somm and the approach to take. In every case that you find a bottle of wine that you love (or hate for that matter, just create a system for recording that it wasn’t your favorite) take a photo of the wine so that you have it stored for next time!

1) Restaurant

If you’re in a group for a dinner or event, ordering wine by the bottle is the way to go. Do the math – if more than two people in your group drink red wine, you’re typically in a better position to go with a bottle rather than a glass of wine. Besides, restaurants often present a longer wine list when selecting by the bottle.  So the next time your server offers the wine list, take a look and ask for the Somm, you might be surprised that it’s not a scary as it looks.

2) Wine Shop

Time after time I hear people say that they shop for wine at a grocery store. In fact, in a survey I conducted, 66% say they buy wine at a grocery store and 60% at a wine shop (there was overlap). That little hand-written card speaks to people, even me, who are in a crunch to purchase a bottle of wine for a party, dinner or just a quiet evening at home. The benefit of buying wine at a wine shop is access to these specialized experts called Sommeliers.  If you don’t know what you want, start with a price point, a place you visited and loved the wine (I  loved the sweet wines, known as ice wine in Quebec), or the food that will be paired with the wine and leave it to them!

3) Wine Consultant

Ever heard of wine consultant? If you’re planning a large event, wedding or catered party, it’s a must. From curating a wine list to food pairings, and wine education, wine consultants offer a low-stress approach to making decisions on wine. These guys can even come in handy if you’re looking for the perfect bottle as a gift or for a perfect date night.  They are typically sommeliers with access to top wines across the world. They often have great negotiated rates and expertise to make your event a success. If you have the budget and want great wines at great prices, I would go the extra mile.

Where else have you consulted a Somm? We’d love to hear from you!

Summer Wine Tasting | Rosé of Southern France

Lunch_and_a_glass_of_roseThis Monday, the 24th of August, join us for a wine tasting mixer to explore the Rosé of Southern France; a perfect match for the venue, Aquitaine, coined a best place to eat in Union Square by Michael Bauer.

Get ready for a San Francisco summer with all bottles at 30% off to go, enjoy Rosé and laughter, and learn something new. Light appetizers will be available and the restaurant is open for service.

Tickets are $20 in advance $30 at the door and available here.

And now, here are some fun quick facts about rosé!

Nope, rosé is not not dyed pink…
It gets its color from minimal contact with the grape skin of red wine grapes.

There’s even pink Champagne!
Many people imagine that Champagnes are all white, this is not quite true. Rosé champagnes also exist.

Rosé comes in all shapes and sizes…
In other words, it’s not grape specific! From White
Zinfandel to Granache, rosé varies vastly across different varietals.

Rosé is not kitschy!
New Girl really did a number on rosé, but aside from making one feel slutty, it is one of the most elegant wines. So enjoy it :)

4 Ways to Tell You’re Drinking Cooked Wine

Ever wonder why wine clubs don’t ship in the summer? With the exception of a few places like our hometown San Francisco, it get’s hot hot hot! Now that the solstice has thrown summer into full swing, it’s time we start to understand what heat damage can do to a wine.

What is cooked wine? No, we aren’t talking about mulled wine here; “cooked” wine or heat damaged wine has been exposed to heat levels (even at temperatures of 75 degrees fahrenheit) that cause the wine to spoil. If you have ever spent your hard earned money on a case of wine while on a trip to wine country, thrown it in your trunk on a hot summer day and are surprised to find it tastes completely different than when you bought it, this wine fault could have affected you. This is why wine transportation and storage are very important.

I recently ran into a cooked bottle that was gifted to me. Here are a few steps to deciding that you’re drinking a “cooked” wine.

  1. A Stubborn Cork. This actually happens the most frequently for me and a key indication of heat damage if the bottle has cooled and not evidently hot. A good sign that your wine might be flawed is the cork is usually very difficult to remove. Essentially when the wine is exposed to high temperatures, the cork expands. The cork might be extremely hard to pull out or may even be visibly forcing itself out of the bottle.
  2. A Warm Bottle. If the wine bottle is not cool to touch, then you’re probably not storing it properly. A common misnomer is that room temperature (sometimes upwards of 74 degrees fahrenheit) is adequate for wine storage. It’s actually advised that wine is stored at cellar temperature, which can be upwards of 20 degrees cooler than standard room temperature! To keep it cool during the summer months, either get a small wine fridge or keep it in a cool dry place like your basement. 55 degrees is a good cellar temperature.
  3. Baked Wine. In this case “half-baked” is not a good thing. Wine Spectator’s Dr. Vinny says “a ‘cooked’ wine’s flavors will actually taste … cooked. The fruit flavors might seem stewed, not fresh. There might be baked, burnt or caramel notes. The color may also have changed from deep red to more of a brown or brick tone.”
  4. Flat Wine. Now that you’ve removed that pesky cork, taste the wine. If the wine is stripped of it’s characteristics – fruit, minerality, oak, terroir, then you might have a cooked wine.

Please keep in mind that “cooked” wine is different than “corked” wine. Corked wines typically remind us of a wet newspaper. I’ve never actually eaten one, but if you’ve had a corked wine, you’ll most likely know it.

So the key here is to know how to store your wine and know where your wine is from. Like your favorite winery’s wine club, avoid shipping to warm states during the summer months. Your best bet is to use a local or on-demand service or stock up in the winter months.

If you purchased the wine from the store, sometimes you can seek the graces of the shop to get another bottle, but otherwise you might be able to salvage the wine for a summer salad dressing.

What’s important to you? Fill out our survey here.
For more information or to book a tasting: britney@britswine.com

Clemens Busch Mosel Riesling: Red Grey and Blue Slate

On day 3 as I continued my journey through the Mosel region of Germany, I found myself in the beautiful town of Pünderich and greeted by Clemens Busch in his home on the Mosel river bank.

Clemens Busch (pictured above) knows Riesling. An organic wine producer and member of the VDP – his Grosse lage estate, essentially the Grand Gru classification of wine in Germany, can be found worldwide including my two favorite US cities, New York and San Francisco.

 In 1971, many small vineyard parcels were combined into larger ones, but Busch decided to retain the original parcel names contained within the greater “Marienburg”, which is designated on each label.


There are three distinct types of slate that contribute to the palate of the Pündericher Marienburg vineyards. Red Gray and Blue.

Rothenpfad: Red Slate
Falkenlay:Gray Slate
Fahrlay: Blue Slate

Each one influences the pointed nuances of the wine’s flavor profile. For instance, the red slate creates a certain spice in wines, blue slate wines have a distinct minerality and are extremely concentrated, and the gray slate wines present fruity tones, are creamy, rich, and have a mineral tone. I had the opportunity to try each of these wines at the estate after Clemens pointed out each of the parcels in the Marienburg site (pictured above). The cool river breeze and reflection of the sun, make this great climate for the steeply plotted vines that run up the hills of the river bank. You can even make out the variances in the colors. As marked best by Clemens “Each parcel has its own personality. It´s as if each wine has it own soul.”

I had the chance to ask Clemens about the Rieslings on Finger Lakes in New York state. To which he replied they aren’t Mosel riesling but appreciates them for what they are, and gave his nod of approval. The one thing that stands out between a German riesling is the striking balance of the sweetness and acidity which creates a robust flavor that is more approachable than the traditional sweet white wine.

These are top quality amazing wines at a great value. Period.

If you’re located in NYC – Appellation Wine & Spirits carries Clemens Busch. They will be tasting Rieslings and other world wines on November 6th.

The Scoop on Wine Events in SF this Fall (Plus a Whiskey Treat!)

9/26 – 9/28, 11-4 pm, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 2014 Sonoma Valley Crush
$35 ticket: http://www.heartofsonomavalley.com/products/2014-sonoma-valley-crush
Use promo code “14svcrush” for $5 off.

Have you ever romanticized about getting involved in a wine harvest & crush? Find out what it’s like this September in the Heart of Sonoma Valley. Join us for the 2014 Sonoma Valley CRUSH and experience harvest, hands-on.

Guests will not only get a behind-the-scenes look at what happens during harvest, you’ll have the opportunity to get involved, hands-on.

For three days, wineries will be offering a variety of Harvest Activities including Grape Sampling in the vineyards, Crush Pad tours, samples of Fresh Pressed Juice and grapes picked fresh off the vine including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon. You can even taste a wine while it’s fermenting!

Learn how to read a Refractometer and gain a deeper understanding about the importance of the balance between sugar and acid levels in wine grapes. Meet with and ask Winemakers questions about harvest. This is your opportunity to learn all about harvest!

The ‘CRUSH Wine Tasting Pass’ is $35 per person and gives you access to harvest activities and wine tastings at 15 wineries in Kenwood & Glen Ellen September 26th – 28th from 11am to 4pm each day.

15 Participating Wineries:
Arrowood Vineyards & Winery, Deerfield Ranch Winery, En Garde Winery, Enkidu Wines, Eric Ross Winery, Kaz Winery, Kenwood Vineyards, Loxton Cellars, Mayo Family Winery, Moondance Cellars, NakedWines.com, Paradise Ridge Winery, St. Anne’s Crossing Winery, Ty Caton Vineyards, VJB Vineyards & Cellars

9/26, Friday, 6-9 pm: Fleming’s 100 Preview Event
Check locations, closest in Bay Area are Walnut Creek and Palo Alto:https://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/landing-pages/flemings-100-preview/#cda-anchor-1
$35 before tax and tip

You’re invited to preview and explore our new Fleming’s 100® — our award-winning selection of 100 wines by the glass. On September 26, we’re opening our doors for this exclusive event so you can taste these incredible wines before anyone else. We’ll be featuring special wine flights and tasting tips along with fantastic hors d’oeuvres so you and your friends are guaranteed a truly memorable evening.

The price for this unique experience is $35* per person, and each Guest will receive a $25 Dining Card to use during their next visit or even that evening.** We look forward to sharing a glass with you soon.

9/27, Saturday, 10:30-3:30 pm: Bay Area Food Classic: A California Food Experience
Info: http://www.mankillerfoodfest.com/#!about-us/c1se
Tickets (with $2 fee): http://www.mankillerfoodfest.com/#!tickets/cku3
Now through August 18th, guests can purchase VIP tickets for $50 – that’s a savings of $100 off the gate price.

Bay Area Food + Beer + Wine Classic showcases 5-star restaurants, classically trained chefs, self-made restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs, nationally acclaimed wine makers and beer crafters from the West Coast.

9/29, Monday, 5-9 pm: 9th Annual Institute of Masters of Wine (North America) Champagne Tasting
(sold out)
Ferry Building, San Francisco (in the second floor Port Commission Hearing Room)
IMW Website: http://www.mastersofwine.org/en/events/tastings-and-seminars.cfm/eid/8E2159B1-DB3C-4E2A-81C375206F36570E
Local Wine Events:http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/546964/invitation
No trade/student discounts or promo codes are offered (supposedly).

5-7 pm: Session 1
7-9 pm: Session 2

The 10th Annual Institute of Masters of Wine (North America) Champagne Tasting will be held at the Ferry Building, San Francisco in the second floor Port Commission Hearing Room on September 29, 2014. This is the tenth anniversary for this event, the largest and most prestigious tasting of champagne in North America.

The tasting will include many exceptional Champagnes organized by style: Non-vintage, Demi-Sec, Vintage, Blanc de Blanc and Rose/Blanc de Noir wines. Tickets are $65.00 (plus $6.60 fee) for either the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm or 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm tasting and $110 (plus $9.40 fee) for both tastings, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. No trade/student discounts or promo codes are offered.

Digital lists of the champagne selections offered will be available one week prior to the event as well by contacting Nancy Johnson.

Dress: Wine Country Casual.
Please purchase early to insure ticket availability as this event sells out quickly. Questions may be addressed to Nancy Johnson at njohnson@mastersofwine.org.

9/29, Monday, 7–8:30 pm: Chenin Blanc Seminar @ Ruby Wines
Ruby Wines, 1419 18th Street, San Francisco
$55 pp Click here to register

The Vinguard and Ruby Wines are joining forces this fall with a monthly tasting seminar series. Since Chenin Blanc is a mutual love, one that we think is way worth sharing, it will be the first discussed. Eight wines from the Loire Valley and California representing established producers such as Coulée de Serrant in Savennières to rising stars including Guiberteau in Saumur, Jousset in Montlouis and Forlorn Hope in California will be included. Pamela Busch, San Francisco Examiner wine columnist and founder of The Vinguard, will lead the tasting and discussion.

10/2, Thursday, 6:30 pm: 1601 Bar & Kitchen’s German Rieslings Pairing Dinner
1601 Bar & Kitchen, 1601 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103
$115 tickets: https://secure.sosh.com/san-francisco/marketplace/1601-dinner-1002/m/2fE7/

Join 1601 Bar & Kitchen and Dee Vine Wines for a feast made for royalty. This Sri Lankan-inspired restaurant showcases their unique, contemporary take on traditional Sri Lankan cuisine with a six-course tasting menu, complimented by specially-selected Riesling wine pairings in collaboration with Dee Vine Wines. The restaurant will be closed to the public for this special event and the menu will feature a few special dishes that aren’t on their everyday menu.

Rieslings include selections from Solter, Schmitges, Josef Rosch, Prinz, Knebel, and von Hövel.

1601 Bar & Kitchen places an emphasis on beautiful plating so each course is a stunning visual display. At dinner, each dish will be described in terms of its spices and aromatics, and German Riesling experts from Dee Vine Wines will tell the story of each wine, what each generally pair with, how they’re made, and more.

After dinner, 1601 Bar’s chef will talk to guests about Riesling from his perspective and have a Q/A session for anyone interested.

Dee Vine Wines was founded by Dade Thieriot in 1996 mainly because he kept hearing complaints from friends and old customers of his previous business (Connoisseur Wine Imports) that German wines, specifically Riesling, were difficult to find in the Bay Area market. So, he decided to solve that problem by creating a business whose focal point was German Rieslings. It is due to his unfailing passion for these treasures that led him to establish Dee Vine Wines, which has, over the past 18 years, become one of the world’s leading sources for fine and rare German wines and has a reputation of working with some of the most well-known restaurants in SF including Quince, Gary Danko, Spruce, State Bird Provisions, and Napa Valley’s French Laundry.

1601 Bar & Kitchen was recognized as a “Key Newcomer” in the 2014 Zagat SF Bay Area Restaurant Survey, as well as assigned Bib Gourmand status by the 2014 Michelin Guide.
Note: Most of 1601’s menu items are gluten-free.

10/8, Wednesday, 7–9 pm: The Loire Valley Part One: Sancerre and Other White Wines @ 18 Reasons
18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street, San Francisco
$40/$30 18 Reasons members, Click here to register

The Loire Valley has the “A team” of the world’s white wines. From the Nantais on the Atlantic coast to Sancerre just a couple of hours from Paris, it is home to a number of appellations that make the most complex and age worthy white wines. In addition to the well known wines such as Vouvray, Muscadet and of course, Sancerre, other appellations are making superb wines from Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Menu Pineau and Romorantin. As a follow up to the Sancerre class at 18 Reasons last fall this one will include a spectrum of the Loire’s white wines. If you love white wines or are up for an adventure, this is a class not to be missed.

10/10, Friday, 2:30-7 pm: Madeira Wine Institute Wine Tasting – SF
The Palace San Francisco Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94105
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/madeira-wine-institute-wine-tasting-sf-tickets-13313433839

Realizing the growing importance of Madeira wine worldwide, the Autonomous Region of Madeira established the Madeira Wine Institute in 1979. The main mission of the Institute is twofold; first, to ensure successful production and commercialization of Madeira wine and, two, to synthesize all viticultural activities in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

One of the world’s most amazing wines expects you. Book the meeting with Madeira Wines.
2:30-7 pm: Open Wine Tasting
3-4:30 pm: Wine Master Class (trade and press)
5-6:30 pm: Wine Master Class (consumers)

10/15, Wednesday, 7–9 pm: The Loire Valley Part Two: Chinon and Other Red Wines @ 18 Reasons
18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street, San Francisco
$40/$30 18 Reasons members, Click here to register

The Loire Valley is better known for its white wines but the reds can be equally stunning. The Cabernet Franc from Chinon is unparalleled anywhere else except for Bourgueil, a nearby appellation, and other red grapes, especially Pinot Noir and Cot (Malbec) express themselves in ways that might be unrecognizable to many wine drinkers. Additionally, Grolleau, Pineau D’Aunis and Gamay from the Loire are all the rage in Paris’s wine bars and are catching on in San Francisco as well. If you really want to get a full idea of what’s going on in the Loire Valley, you should check this class out as the reds are as much a part of the story as the region’s glorious white wines.
10/18, Saturday, 8-11 pm: Dinner with The Master: Chef Jacques Pépin with Stag Dining Group at the Prescott
Prescott Hotel San Francisco, a Kimpton Hotel, 545 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94102
$135 tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dinner-with-the-master-chef-jacques-pepin-with-stag-dining-group-at-the-prescott-tickets-13100579185

Join us for a memorable outing to Celebrate Jacques Pépin and his longstanding relationship with KQED and The Prescott Hotel.

10/19, Sunday, 2-5 pm: Champagne Tent Event, K&L San Francisco
K&L Wine Merchant, 638 4th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107
$85 tickets: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1138872

Bubbles Galore! We are throwing our annual fall Champagne Tent Event on Sunday, October 19th at our San Francisco store from 2-5 p.m. A group of our favorite artisanal grower/producers will be flying in from France to present their wines exclusively to K&L guests. This is a rare opportunity to engage with the people that grow the grapes and make the wine and to learn more about their approach to Champagne. We will also have many of the big name producers on hand to present their selections. From the big houses we will have representatives from Louis Roederer, Billecart-Salmon, Laurent Perrier, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Perrier-Jouët, and more. More than 50 champagnes to taste. Small bites will also be provided. This event will benefit one of our favorite charities, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. ALCF was founded in 2006 and is one of the largest patient-driven philanthropies driven to eradicate lung cancer through research, awareness, education, early detection and treatment. Please join us in supporting this amazing charity.

10/21, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 pm: Wine & Spirits Magazine 11th “Top 100” Tasting Event; a Benefit for San Francisco Baykeeper
City View at the Metreon, 135 4th Street, San Francisco
Details: http://www.wineandspiritsmagazine.com/top100/
Public: 6:30-8:30 pm

Join Wine & Spirits Magazine for a tasting featuring the highly acclaimed wines from the top scoring wines of the year. Meet the winemakers. Feast on delicious bites from our New & Notable Bay Area Restaurants. Enjoy fresh oysters, local cheeses and array of artisan specialties at Wine & Spirits Magazine’s 11th Annual Top 100 Tasting; a benefit for San Francisco Baykeeper.

For over a decade, The Top 100 Tasting Event honors wineries from around the world that delivered the best overall performances in W&S tastings throughout the year. Since its inception eleven years ago, the event has been held in San Francisco, with acclaimed Bay Area chefs and local artisanal purveyors serving signature specialties to complement the premier bottlings of the 100 Wineries of the Year.

Wine & Spirits Magazine is the preferred magazine of sommeliers, winemakers, critics, journalists and savvy consumers. Our publication has helped shaped the conservation of wine for more than thirty years and will continue to do so on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by hosting our 11th annual Top 100 Tasting, the premiere wine tasting event for the Bay area wine & spirits trade community.

10/23, Sunday, 6-10 pm: Grapes of Past: Vintners in the Vaults
The Old Mint, 88 5th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grapes-of-past-vintners-in-the-vaults-tickets-12629632571#
Use promo code “meetup40” for 40% off.

Join FlipSide at the historic 1874 Old Mint for an evening of unlimited wine tasting and presentations on the history of wine in San Francisco and the City’s historical importance as the urban center for a world-famous wine making region. Did you know that San Francisco was once a major hub of wine production and commerce? Enjoy a glass of your favorite vino while exploring the Mint’s vaults. Listen to tales about the thriving wine hub that the SOMA once was, and how the 1906 earthquake and fire changed everything. Learn about the Mechanics’ Institute’s 19th century Expositions and the importance those fairs played in promoting San Francisco wineries and hear the story of how and why California’s oldest winery moved from San Francisco to Sonoma over 100 years ago.

Evening Info
• Unlimited Wine Tasting from 50+ Wineries
• Souvenir Wine Glass
• Historical Presentations on San Francisco Wine History • Explore the historic 1874 Old Mint with Docents
• Vendors sampling chocolate, olive oil, etc.
• Live Music
• Food available for purchase • Raffle of wine, luxury items, and experiences benefiting the Old Mint • Bocce Ball
• And much more!
Presentations • 7pm: Wine Making In Early 1900’s San Francisco – Presented by Matt Reidy of Bluxome Street Winery
• 7:20pm: Wines, Brandies, and Vinous Products at the Mechanics’ Institute’s Industrial Expositions 1857-1899 – Presented by Taryn Edwards of the Mechanic’s Institutue Library • 8:15pm – From Soma to Sonoma – Presented by Susan Sueiro of Gundlach Bundschu

10/26, Sunday, 12-4 pm: 11th Annual Russian River Valley “Pinot on the River”
Downtown Healdsburg Plaza Square, Healdsburg, CA 95448
$75 advance tickets: http://pinotfestival.com/registration.html
$85 tickets for early entry
$100 tickets at event.

Join your friends with 100 small-production artisanal Pinot Noir producers at the 2014 Pinot on the River Festival, held Sunday, October 26, 2014 on the Healdsburg Plaza in downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, featuring a full day of tastings from some of California’s best Pinot producers.

Pinot On The River begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct 26 when VIP ticket holders can enter the Grand Tasting ahead of the general public. Noon entries are also available for the Grand Tasting on the Healdsburg Plaza. Event ends at 4PM.

11/19-23: Flavor! Napa Valley
Tickets on sale July 8.

Events: http://flavornapavalley.com/events/

Personalities: http://flavornapavalley.com/personalities/

The fourth annual star-powered Flavor! Napa Valley wine and food festival will be held November 19-23, 2014. The region’s immersive and festive celebration of fine, local wine and cuisine, Flavor! Napa Valley will again feature renowned chefs who either helm top restaurants located in Napa Valley or who have graduated from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the festival’s beneficiary, alongside industry-leading Napa Valley vintners. The festival format will be presented as five days of tastings, cooking demonstrations, and experiential workshop series entitled Terroir to Table – Farm, Cellar & Kitchen Experiences. The festival’s main event will be the grand food and wine tasting fete, The Appellation Trail, hosted at the historic CIA at Greystone in St. Helena.

11/23, Sunday, 12-4 pm: San Francisco Vintners Market – Harvest Hoopla
Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, San Francisco, CA
Website: http://www.sfvintnersmarket.com/
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/san-francisco-vintners-market-harvest-hoopla-november-22-23-2014-time-1-4-pm-vip-12-4-pm-tickets-11703183537

General Admission: 1pm – 4pm Saturday & Sunday
Reserve & Cult Room Access: 12pm – 4pm Saturday & Sunday
Living Social deal gets it down to $35 and up:https://www.livingsocial.com/events/1196656-ticket-to-san-francisco-vintners-market
Extra 15% for “Daily Gem” off gets it down to $29 and up, expires at 3 pm though.

3/28/2015, Saturday: Whiskies of the World, SF Expo

WoW San Francisco (March 28, 2015) has been a must-go for whisky enthusiasts for the past fifteen years. It’s an occasion to see the newest happenings in the world of whisky, meet and learn from interesting whisky personalities, sample new expressionism, and overall have a great time. WoW SF greets many whisky devotees each year, and spotlights so many whisky stars, from the Whisky Wordsmiths, to renowned celebrity critics such as Michael Jackson and Jim Murray. Not to mention the iconic distillery founders and master distillers, Dr. Bill Lumsden, Tom Bullet, Jim Ruthledge, Chip Tate, et al.
Each growing year we see new faces, new whiskies, and new features that create…WOW!

The Early Bird Sale ends on 9/30: http://www.whiskiesoftheworld.com/wow-expo-sf-schedule

Wine Tripping: My 10 Day Journey Through Germany

I am in crunch mode preparing for my trip to Germany. This second time around will be 10 days by convertible, through the northern wine regions of the Rheingau and Mosel, crossing over to the Netherlands before hopping back over Frankfurt to Berlin, so I’ve been carefully plotting the journey I will share through video journal with my readers. I will be joined by a clever kiwi with an accent to match and a hankering for sausage, who has agreed to film my escapades in exchange for random mid-air planking photos. Think traveling garden gnomes, or something.

Anyhow, let’s get to the good stuff; the wine. I will be visiting one of the most famous vineyards in the world, the prestigious Bernkasteler Doctor vineyard (picture below) whose vines climb the steep slopes leading up from the Mosel River. There, I will taste the sweet nectar of Weingut Lay and Sophia Thanisch VDP.


Then, I’m off to Clemens Busch winery, one of the top producers of organic wine in Germany. The estate is located in the village of Pünderich (near Bernkastel) in the Mosel wine-growing region.

I first discovered the wines of these three amazing producers of amazing Riesling through German wine importers Petra and Dade Thieriot of Dee Vine Wines, after having hosted my first German tasting three years ago out of a lean start-up office in San Francisco. I then had the opportunity to try a Doctor Riesling at Sofia Thanisch’s winemaker lunch last year, hosted by Dee Vine (label pictured below), and the rest is history.

2014-05-21-thanisch (1)

About a dozen tastings later and a deep knowledge of Riesling, which is humbly shallow compared to that of my mentors and idols in the industry, I will be taking my first trip to the Mosel Germany to share my experiences with you.

You won’t be able to find these gems just anywhere, however, Dee Vine imports Clemens Busch wines as well as wines from Sofia Thanisch exclusively for the state of California and sells them wholesale as well as to consumers.

While Mosel Riesling will be far more satisfying than an oenophile could ever hope, I do have quite an affinity for the Pinot Noir grape and must add Weingut Robert König to the list. His elegant Spätburgunder asked me to come try it. How can I refuse? So I sneak in a quick visit before the Mosel and I’m off to the Rheingau.

Fast forward to day 10 and we’ve covered two countries, 1,204 km and I’m sinking into my chair to enjoy a last supper with a dear friend, Katharina. I’ve blogged, video journaled and social media’d the crap out of you, all while relearning how to drive a manual, but hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about wine.

Read more on my HuffPost blog!

April Wine Tasting | Bordeaux: Left v. Right Bank

In January we began our trip through France, starting in the South West and now working our way deeper into Bordeaux. This Thursday April 17th, we will continue our journey into Bordeaux, where we will explore the wines of the Left Bank, Right Bank and Entre-deux-mers.

Andrew Fidelman, formerly of Spruce, and myself, will guide you through this tasting at French inspired Aquitaine Wine Bistro located in San Francisco’s Financial District. What does that means for us? Luscious wine from the largest wine growing area in France.

There will be a surprise special Performance by lead singer Kyna Wise of funk band The Go Ahead. “The topping of this funk rock stew is a formidable force of female vocal fireworks equal parts Grace Slick, Mick Jagger and Gwen Stefani. When you mix all these elements it’s hard to imagine an ass they couldn’t get shaking.”- Ryan Brown, bay area comedian and musician.

Tickets available on Eventbrite for $40 and will not be available at the door.

January Wine Event | Wine Soirée 2014: Southwest France

Our next stop on the journey to wine enlightenment will take us to Southwest France. We will celebrate 2014 in style at Andrew Fidelman’s next endeavor – French inspired Aquitaine Wine Bistro, located in San Francisco’s Financial District. As you may know, Andrew opened and co-wrote the wine list at Spruce and has masterfully created the wine list at Blanc et Rouge, and now Aquitaine.

A quick fact you all might not know, Aquitaine is the home of Bordeaux. What does that means for us? Amazingly luscious, velvety wine. The evening will feature a selection of 4 representing the area of Southwest France.

Ticket includes full wine tasting and light hors d’oeuvres and will not be available for sale at the door. If you’ve joined us in the past, then you know this will be a ball.  Dress to impress.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite here.