The day had arrived! This year’s Uncorked: SF was upon us, so the waiting was over. It was a sunny, beautiful after a week of dreary, so we happily traveled to Fort Mason for a very special wine event!
The Uncorked Festival offered three ticket levels: VIP, Early Admission, and General Admission. We had Early Admission tickets, which allowed us into the pavilion at noon, an hour ahead of General Admission. As we entered, we were struck by the high quality of organization and planning that went into the design of the festival.
Our first impressions were very positive: entrance security was broken into three layers, with multiple lines to access each layer. That reduced bottlenecks and waiting in line to nearly nothing. The long hall had winery tables on both sides with an expansive open area between the rows. The elevated VIP lounge was in back. We found it very easy to move from open table to open table, skipping back to previously busy tables as they became free. There were plenty of dump buckets beside the tables, a large water dispenser for easy access, even a DJ sound system tuned for the size of the hall. Comfortable and relaxed tasting with less waiting!
As we moved from tasting table to tasting table, we were struck by the significant participation of Treasury Wine Estates brands. Treasury is a very large Australian wine companies with brands around the world. We tasted a lot of wine at Uncorked (there were nearly 50 wineries), and many of them were made by Treasury properties, including 19 Crimes, BV, Beringer, Cavaliere d’Oro, Matua, and Penfolds.
We were also struck by the wide range of winery sizes and wine styles presented at this festival! We tasted familiar brands, certainly, but also had our first experience with wineries from other parts of the globe. We tasted wine from wineries just getting off the ground, without a tasting room yet nor broad distribution; only available in situations like this. We collected a lot of contact information on these “up and coming” new wineries with plans to follow their progress.
It was also fun to see how wine was being stretched beyond traditional boundaries. We tasted wine spritzers from a can. We tasted wine aged in bourbon barrels, with wine bottles shaped much like bourbon bottles. We tasted wine made from grape varietals that were new to North America. We saw our first wine bottle whose label changed color when properly chilled. What a vibrant and experimental industry was represented at this festival. We can’t wait to see what next year’s festival will bring!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?