preview | 6 Tips for Attending San Francisco’s Vintners Market

If you’re like me, you have a difficult time thinking of anything better than drinking wine all afternoon. You like wine when it’s hot outside. You like wine when it’s raining. You want to drink it before, with and after a meal. (Yes, any meal.) You feel the need to stockpile it because you know you’re going to need it in an emergency. If you identify with any of these characteristics, a great event is coming up for you this weekend: the San Francisco Vintners Market. I can tell you it’s great because I went in April, and walked away with, well, too many bottles of wine.

Photo courtesy of SF Vintners Market.


Taking place at Fort Mason, this showcase hosts about 150 wineries from all over California, including some from Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, etc. You’re given a souvenir glass at the entrance and then set loose amongst the booths, given the opportunity to try the wines and buy them. It’s a wonderful way to expand your palate and to be exposed to wines that you ordinarily would not come across.

In order to make the day particularly successful, here are a couple of tips from my experience:

1. After you’re given your glass, try not to do what my husband and I did. Like little school children, with big wide eyes, we wandered around the space about two times before finally choosing a first booth. I don’t know what we thought we’d find – but, just dive right in there. The event only lasts three hours (four, if you bought reserve admission) so don’t dilly dally. I know, I know, three hours seems like a long time. But, between tasting, buying and chatting with the vendors, it’ll fly by.

Photo courtesy of SF Vintners Market.


2. Don’t ignore the other goodies at the tables. After getting a couple of tastes in, I began to dabble with the olive oils and chocolates that some of the vendors were selling. Delicious. I ended up buying two bottles of crushed garlic olive oil from Cultivar. And let me tell you, I get to enjoy the olive oil more often than the wines because the wines have either been drunk or are sitting in our wine cellar (and by wine cellar, I mean tiny closet).

3. This is probably a given, but drink a lot of water. There are water coolers strategically placed around the hall. Use them. The easiest way to ruin the day is to get a wine headache. And since the tickets to this event are a bit pricey, you don’t want to ruin the day.

4. Think through an exit plan. My husband and I took public transportation. But, like I said before, we bought a considerable amount of wine (and olive oil!), making the trip home an adventure. So, if you plan to buy a lot of wine, I’d suggest driving. Of course, if you follow that piece of advice, be extra aware of your alcohol consumption.

Photo courtesy of SF Vintners Market.


5. There’s a side door that allows you to go outside and enjoy a lovely view of the water. If you go outside (which I suggest wholeheartedly), don’t close that door. You will lock everyone out, a situation that I watched numerous people end up in. Be considerate and make sure that the door is not completely closed.

6. Most importantly, take advantage of this opportunity and learn something new. Ask all those questions about wine that you’ve been holding on to. For instance, do you seriously taste blackberries? And plums? AND TOFFEE? Also, make sure to experiment with a wine region you are unfamiliar with. When I was there in April, the vendors were organized by area. So, if you don’t know what makes a good San Luis Obispo wine, go find out.

I don’t know about you, but now I’m certainly in the mood for wine (at 9:30 in the morning.) So, go this weekend to the SF Vintners Market and drink enough wine for the both of us!


SF Vintner Market Official Website

SF Vintner Market Official Twitter

Fort Mason Official Website

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