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Weekender: Making the most of SF's first Wine Riot

Jenna Scatena | August 2, 2012 | Food & Drink Lifestyle Story City Life Eat and Drink

If you’re like me, when you attend any of the Bay Area’s plethora of wine tasting events, you leave feeling too much valuable drinking time has been wasted just getting oriented to the floor plan. By the time you’ve found the coveted pinot section, they’re flickering the lights and your fighting over an Uber cab to make it to Amelie before last call. Make sure that doesn’t happen at this weekend’s Wine Riot, this Friday at 7 p.m. (with two other times on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.) at the Concourse Exhibition Center. This is anything but your typical wine tasting festival: A DJ will be cultivating a high-energy atmosphere, food trucks will be offering fare to pair with the wine, and wine crash courses will turn you from novice to nerd in twenty minutes flat.

Now here’s your foolproof guide to maximize every minute.

1. Get the Second Glass app—AKA your personal tour guide and sommelier. It can lead you on, say, a Chardonnay tour, tell you about what your tasting, and give you real-time updates on what wines other festival goers are liking the most. It also pre-loads every wine featured, so when you find one you like tap “like it” or “love it” to find out where you can buy it locally, or just refer to it later.

2. Tour the world of wine. Literally. The 47 tasting booths are organized by region, so you can taste your way through the Southern Hemisphere before comparing them to the styles of European wines or our own California ones.

3. Don’t forget about the food. Once you’ve toured the globe, you’ll be oriented and feeling pretty good. By this time you’ve probably worked up an appetite, so head over to the variety of food trucks on site, like Brass Knuckle, to soak up some of that vino. Your stomach will thank you tomorrow.

4. Get educated. It’s easy to get caught up in the hedonistic delight of tasting so many great wines and forget to learn about the wine itself. Twenty-minute interactive crash courses will help you learn about everything from the subtle differences between Rieslings to techniques for telling the price of wine by taste.

5. End with a bang. Head to the temp tattoo parlor for a slightly impaired decision you’ll only temporarily regret. On your way out, stop by the photo booth with a fully-stocked disco-inspired wardrobe from Betabrand.

Get tickets here - $60 for Friday, $50 for Saturday.

Jenna Scatena is San Francisco’s Associate Editor.

Contact her at

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