Almost ten years ago we visited a prominent winery in Northern California to taste some of their wines. We were motivated to visit by the fact that one of the world’s top-rated restaurants (Napa Valley’s The French Laundry) had recently added one of their wines to its impressive wine menu. During the course of our tasting, we asked about their wine-making practices and we learned that they were organic. As it turned out, they were certified organic, which means that they follow certain practices but also comply with a set of complex federal requirements. We assumed that their organic status was something that they would promote on their labels and in their advertising. We were wrong. Why wouldn’t a winery promote its natural, healthy approach to growing grapes and making wine? “Consumers equate `organic’ as sub par,” we were told.
As Loretta Lynn sang in the 1970’s, “We’ve come a long way baby.” Today, consumers are flocking to natural, organic and biodynamic wines made without artificial pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers and other additives. This upcoming weekend, there is a two-day wine fair in San Francisco celebrating and showcasing dozens of California’s natural wine makers. This event, Califermentation, will be held at TerroirSF, a wine bar in the City that caters to organic and natural wines. From 12-4 pm both Saturday and Sunday, there will be at least 20 wineries a day pouring wine for ticket holders. In addition, there will be seminars both days on topics of interest both to wine makers as well as wine consumers. Saturday’s seminar topic relates to the use of sulfur dioxide (a preservative) in wines. Sunday’s seminar topic is on the challenge of sourcing organic grapes in California. One of the speakers for this session, Tracey Brandt, is a co-founder and co-owner at one of our personal favorite natural wineries, Donkey & Goat in Berkeley, California.
Tickets for Saturday only are $45.00 and a weekend pass is $80.00, which seems like a real bargain compared to other wine festivals that we have attended in the Bay Area. We are looking forward to trying out some new wines and tasting some wines we have already tried. For those that want to learn more about Califermentation, we have attached the event flyer below. To buy tickets, click on the link below and find the “Buy Tickets” button. We hope to see you there!