It’s that time of year again, where you curl up in front of your fake Amish fire (no wood burning here please, it’s Spare the Air!), open a big juicy zin, a good book, and your new furry slippers. It’s cold here these days, and the damp chill of the morning fog makes it feel more like London than San Francisco. That’s not all bad however, as it’s days like this that make me cook up a big pot of bean soup and open some of my deliciously California Zinfandel. One of the most unique American wines, Zinfandel has a long history in California. From Italian field blends during the gold rush to the new gold rush of wine, zinfandel has a solid palace in history. There are so many different flavor profiles you can find, from raisiny ripe Paso Robles to spicy & racy Sierra Foothills, to brambly blackberry punch of Dry Creek. What better way to taste them than at the 2012 Zinfandel Festival! January 26-28, 2012 join thousands of Zinfandel aficionados in San Francisco for the 21st Annual Zinfandel Festival. This year marks a departure from the past festivals, with both a venue change and event revamping. I am excited to see how these changes impact the festival. In 2012, the festival will be help for the first time in the Concourse Exhibition Center, an urban venue south of Market Street in San Francisco. While this can present a logistical nightmare, my hope is that it will encourage more taxis and bus travel than auto travel – which has resulted in some less than stellar behavior in years past. But back tot he event! Thursday ZAP kicks off with Epicuria, formerly known as Good Eats & Zin. This has long been my favorite event, with it’s smaller crowd and delicious food pairings. At this gourmet extravaganza, you can discover the diversity of zinfandel, as it is paried with a huge variety of sweet & savory food sfrom some of the best restaurants in California. Friday afternoon, Flights continues it’s journey with Forums of Flavor. At this exclusive seminar-style tasting you will discover themed flights of Zinfandels and interact with Zinfandel experts. Aimed at the true wine aficionado with an aptitude toward learning more, Flights offers in-depth insight into the Zinfandel varietal and provides the opportunity to experience the true character of the legend.