ZAP’s Grand Tasting each January is an event that produces comments that show one’s love or not for the event–there is not in-betweenness. The myriad of not liking it center around the participants and the over imbibing of the Zin. And ,of course, each year at ZAP and other wine events this invariably happens but I do not think it happens at an unacceptable rate.
This years ZAP Grand Tasting seemed to have slightly fewer event participants (and I am sure that could be attributed to current economy)–I have felt it more crowded in the past few years. I could easily move in some areas of the pavilions.
I am always curious that this event is open (or at least I thought) to only California Zinfandel producers and last year there was a South African and Italian producer. This year the same Italian producer was there–I am excited to see Zinfandel and all other varietals from every appellation. For me it was a very nice thing to see and experience.
While a majority of wineries presented their finished product; and very few had any proprietary blends. I would like to see more proprietary blends with Zinfandel. Also, there were several more tables pouring barrel samples. While I am not opposed to barrel sampling–I do think there is something to be said for a finished and ready-to-pour bottle–the concern is in presenting a wine that will invariably be different than the barreled wine.
The entry process certainly needs to be updated and the wrist banding and ticket taking is a long and cumbersome process–and signage letting participants what they do next. The ticket process needs to be updated so that if you lose a ticket or forget to print out your ticket. The customer service team was less than helpful and friendly. The entry volunteers were on the other hand were excited and helpful.
But I love ZAP because it is the world’s largest Zinfandel event–where else can you go and, if you were able to, experience 500+ wines all for a bargain price of $59.00. I’m not equating quantity as the only reason to attend ZAP (or any other wine event) but to have access to so many different visions and expressions of the Zinfandel grape. I’ll be back in 2011.
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