Yesterday Joe and I did the first annual SF Chefs.Food.Wine event in the middle of Union Square, San Francisco. We arrived and parked at a parking garage about a block and a half away at 10:15 a.m. (oops - didn't realize there was a garage actually underneath Union Square). Doh! Anyway, we had pre-shipped our wines, so at least we were only lugging some printed materials, wine openers, etc. I had arranged for the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association to have a table split with Foursight and a SF-based AVWA members and local grape grower very nicely volunteered to help come pour at the AVWA table. Other wineries in attendance ranged from a small group of Anderson Valley producers to Napa, Sonoma, Livermore and New Zealand.
They tented most of the square, and had restaurants from the Bay Area lining the entire outside of the tent, with food that ranged from sushi to dessert. There was a demonstration area in the back (where we were), where they did cooking demos and cocktail competitions. They also had cookware, cocktail booths where margaritas and other drinks were being mixed up, and book signings by famous chefs. It was a cool set up, except for one thing: IT WAS 1,000 DEGREES INSIDE!!!
San Francisco was already in the 70's yesterday, and with all the ovens going and people everwhere we sweated behind our booth for a solid 5 hours! It was probably 90+ degrees in the tent, and the same humidity with all the cooking. That was absolutely miserable. I resorted to fanning myself with an Anderson Valley appellation map for most of the afternoon.
It would have been a great event to be a consumer at, albeit pricey at $125-150 a ticket. However, that ticket did include access to some seminars going on all around Union Square (AV producers were doing an Alsace-style white wines seminar at Farallon restaurant that we missed because we were packing up and too late to attend). We poured through an OK amount of wine (we've had more people at other events by far), but we did get to meet some really nice folks and got a chance to chat about our appellation and winery.
Overall, I'm not sure if we'll do it again, but every event is an experience, if nothing else. Due to the heat, we were so exhausted by the end of the day we rushed home to have tri-tip at the Ambulance Fundraiser, where it was cool!