In 1991 a group of Northern California’s winemakers got together and formed the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) association. The non-profit’s goal was to teach the public about the red grape, which at the time, was an underdog without much of a following. Through the hard work of pioneering members like Ravenswood’s Joel Peterson, ZAP elevated the world’s understanding of zinfandel and made it the sought-after and celebrated varietal it is today. ZAP’s annual event, the Zinfandel Experience (ZinEx), is one of the way’s the group introduced wine drinkers to the grape. For the 26th year in a row, Zinfandel lovers are invited to partake in a bacchanal three-day festival that involves tastings, seminars, dinners, and more.
The 2017 ZinEx begins this Thursday, February 23 with a welcome reception and farm-to-table dinner at One Market. Chef Mark Dommen will craft the customized menu meant to pair with the rich bold reds. On Friday morning, Peterson will lead a seated seminar and tasting that looks at flights from iconic vineyards that consistently produce some of the best Zinfandel and red blends around.
Friday night there is a winemakers auction and dinner where 20 Zin producers will pour magnums, cult collectables, and vintage offerings. This event takes place at the Bentley Reserve and each dinner table is hosted by a winemaker. The live and silent auctions showcase an assortment of unique lots and wine experiences.
Saturday is the grand tasting, the main event where over 500 different wines will be poured by 130 of the best Zinfandel producers. This takes place at Pier 27 and is an unparalleled way to experience Zinfandel. Mingle with the winemakers, nibble some delicious snacks from wine country restaurants, and socialize with friends and fellow Zin lovers. For tickets to any of the aforementioned fabulous events, head to ZAP’s ZinEx website.