Several weeks ago, the idea of a wine fair of California natural wine producers seemed like wishful thinking. How do you get these brash, independent, mostly upstarts, with seemingly disparate agendas together in a room? A similar fair was done in a much smaller scale some years ago, which was Califermentation. However, this Wine From Here event is more ambitious, with a large venue (Subject To Change's winery facility) and a goal of selling about a thousand tickets at $55 per.
Yet, a credible organization developed and got to work on signing up producers, not just from California, but from far away as Oregon, North Carolina, and New York. The roster was a veritable who's who of the California natural wine scene. As soon as that was apparent tickets started to sell, and it sold out days before the event. It was a smash hit!
The event itself was a charm and well laid out. A spacious open-air food court with picnic tables was at the far end of the venue. Lured by the bright sunshine that's where I headed and where I found a coffee roasting vendor from Colorado. That was very cool to find them in this event.
Local natural wine sources are still relatively new, most are no more than five years in existence. But in the last year or two I've seen growing numbers and confidence in the winemaking. In this wine fair, the usual releases from familiar wineries proliferated, but I noticed an energy to experiment and push the limits to turn on the funk in a good way.
Oxidative wines? Yeah, why not? Great with funky cheese.
Wines going the wrong way during fermentation and turning more vinegary? Believe it or not, I found a good deal to like about it, it's like kombucha, I imagined it with fried chicken.
Co-ferments like cider and wine has been catching on.
Fruit infusions like prickly pear co-fermented with Chardonnay? Delicious.
The overall vibe in this wine fair was beautiful. Community, kindness, sharing, experimentation, fun. I was so happy to be there to bask in the sunshine and the joy in the room.