Wineries open cellar doors for barrel tasting

  • 3/4/2012: A1:

    PC: Annette Fernandez of San Francisco samples wines at Inman Family Wines, LLC during the 34th annual Barrel Tasting, March 3, 2012.

Do you have a yen to taste the future?

If so, you'll be able to satisfy your curiosity at this year's Wine Road Barrel Tasting, which runs Friday through Sunday, and continues March 7-9. More than 100 wineries will pour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

"Wineries are open every day of the year for you to go into their tasting rooms and sample finished wines," said Beth Costa, executive director of the Wine Road. "Two weekends a year they open their cellar doors for you to try wine right out of the barrel.

"Winemakers, winery owners and vineyard owners are all on hand to talk about their vision of the wines in the barrel and how they manage their vineyard from year to year."

Costa said she has heard from dozens of people, some of whom are now winemakers, that this was the event that "turned them on to wine."

Organizers say they don't expect any complications from overconsumption this year because they've stepped up efforts to control it.

They are expecting a total of 16,000 tasters over two weekends, roughly 8,000 each weekend. Most will come from Northern California, but Southern California is the next big draw, Costa said. The event's ticket site reports that the furthest geographic reach to date is Australia and Finland.

She said this year's numbers are expected to match last year's, which makes organizers content.

"With 130 wineries spread out over a 30-mile radius, this is a very manageable number," she said. "When the prices were lower, we had drawn over 20,000 for the two weekends, which was not a great experience for the guests or the wineries."

Costa said the Wine Road has done plenty to keep the event from getting out of hand.

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