San Francisco Vintners Market - Anyone ever go?

Our wine association is thinking of attending this event as a group.


Has anyone attended or heard about it? Good or bad?

I like the idea. Offer tastes and sell wine at the event. I am not sure how they work the license, but they have it set up that way.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

I poured a couple of years ago. Scheduling hasn’t allowed me to do it again. I had just a few sales and a couple of quality mailing list sign ups.

It is mostly a younger, day of partying crowd but they are choosing a wine tasting and paying a hefty ticket price so they are sort of qualified purchasers.

Here would be my keys to success for participation although I can’t meet the first one:

  1. Have at least one wine that you can sell for $30ish or less.
  2. Have some sort of free shipping option but have wine and carriers they can take with.
  3. Be able to accept credit cards.
  4. And although I’ve never pulled this off, I think it’s important, have cute young girl(s) there pouring with you. Yes, that’s sexist, but so often I’ve seen crowds lining up to taste and buy at a table so staffed.

Thanks for taking time to share your experience.

Given these facts, would you think it to be worthwhile:

  • My lineup runs from $20-35
    I accept cards on my phone
    I am not a cute girl and don’t plan to hire one
    It is a 4 hour drive to SF
    I would be in a “Solon” with other Humboldt wineries
    I am interested in expanding out of humboldt sales, but not desperate
    The fee is about $300

Your gut reaction…

Go or no go?

Not this event, but I attended the Spanish varieties/Tempranillo event at the Fort Mason center a couple of years ago, and they allow wine sales. The biggest issue I saw people having was having enough staff at their table to be able to handle both pouring and sales. Most people are so used to just having to pour, that the sales aspect threw some for a loop. They didn’t expect to be as busy as they were and did not staff appropriately.

Unfortunately, I don’t know your wines, but if some of your wines are real crowd pleasers, I would go. That is, would a typical 21-40 something casual or curious wine drinker taste them and think “yummy”. In general, I don’t think SF Vintner’s Market attendees are, what does RMP call them, AFWE.

Although it would make for a killer tiring day, I would try to make your trip the most productive possible by arranging a wine dinner either by yourself or with another complimentary Humboldt County vintner.

I think in the past, the market organizers provided participants with a discount code that can be sent to some of your mailing list members so that they can buy advance tickets at a discount.

I would approach the Humboldt angle with some humor while educating: Wine Grapes… Humboldt County’s other crop.

I think that’s a good point about the crowd – from the descriptions I’ve heard, they may not be combing the joint for restraint and subtlety. I’ve talked to a couple wineries that sold quite of bit of wine as part of the Reserve tasting, but both said the main floor is full of indiscriminant boozers. I would think your wines would fare better with the Reserve crowd that might be paying closer attention. Or maybe just wait for Pinot Days.

The living social half-price tickets kind of trash the idea of pre-qualification. Could I get a living social half-price participation fee?

I’m late responding to this - but FWIW if you’re still on the fence: I go, I have fun, but you will leave with a pounding headache–it’s THAT crowded and THAT loud, and VERY difficult to keep up with the pouring requests without help. It feels something like Halloween in a suburb. “I’ll take the cab” is often heard at my table and I don’t make one. They just want yummy red stuff in the glass. You will have a very high pour-to-sale ratio but you will sell wine.
Sadly, now that I think about it, I can confirm that my best sales were the time I hired a pretty young girl to pour :slight_smile: I have done well and done poorly. Be prepared to haul it home. It’s hit or miss. I do the reserve room, and I agree with the caveats on pre-qual. Some have the mentality of “I paid X, I want to drink the most expensive wine I can during the time allotted.” If Saturday depresses and exhausts you, don’t give up–it’s a more mature crowd and calmer scene on Sunday. All that said, I have fun, I’ll be there!

Hi Emily and all who took time to comment,

Thanks for all your input. It sounds like a fun event to experience, but it does not seem like the best use of limited resources and time for us at the moment. Perhaps I will be more ready to do this and some other shows next year. Sales are still strong locally and I have plenty that needs doing, so as much as I’d like a wine-crowd induced headache, I can’t justify taking time away.