SF Bay Area Tasting / Study Group

I’m looking to start or possibly join an existing tasting group for the purposes of WSET / Guild of Sommeliers rank advancement and also just for general knowledge + enjoyment. I would classify myself as an “advanced beginner” i.e. I know a lot of general info but my palate and overall breadth of tasting experience is pretty limited. Would be interested in meeting on a weekly / biweekly / monthly basis. Also potentially interested in adding a poker night into the mix. I’m in the East Bay and could potentially host but I also don’t mind traveling within reason. PM if interested.


Bonjour! I’m in the South Bay (Cupertino) and in the same category as you (advanced beginner, taking wine education more seriously this year).

If more people are interested and want to do WSET practice, I’m down.

I’m a little late to reply to this, but I’m in Novato and currently taking the WSET 3 course. If anyone is up for tasting, count me in!

Even later to this, but interested if this ever ended up happening! (I’m based in Berkeley.)

Bonjour, everyone,
Are these meetings still going on? I’m also preparing WSET 3. It would be a good opportunity to practice and exchange!
I live in Berkeley.
Thank you very much!

Bonjour les amis(e),
I’m interested to this idea Tasting / Study Group. I’m an intermediate of beginner level. I would like to learn and discuss. I’m in Walnut Creek.
Thank you.

To (East Bay) Stephen, Celine and Lisa. I run a tasting group in East Bay for over 20 years now, in Danville area primarily these days. Includes winemakers, cellar rats, retail/wholesale pros, and wine drinkers of various levels of aptitude/interest, though probably at least intermediate level and up these days (we did and do have some beginners as well, always welcome!) Actually, prefer this great mix of beginner/intermediate/expert since it leads to great discussions from all angles. Not geared specifically towards WSET studies, per sé, but plenty to learn and study, and share. We do blind only, sometimes double blind, various regions and varieties. Usually at least 3 flights of 4, sometimes more, depending on theme/interest. And the group includes a bunch of serious foodies, so always food to match a theme and see how wines interact with it (very important!). And, I can assure you, plenty of discussion taking place after each flight’s scores/reveal, we’re not shy, at all :slight_smile:

That said, not sure who does tastings these days, and until lock downs are over. Will be happy to include invites once the group resumes its normal ~1 per month tastings schedule, provided the format interests you.

Greg- if there is room would love to join and contribute when these tastings resume. The format sounds like a great time!

PM me your email.

I am working on an OR vs. CA Pinot shootout, we haven’t done that for a while, and once things open up its one of the first I am planning on doing.

Good morning Greg, really looking forward to the upcoming event :slight_smile:

Need email addresses, via PM.

Hi Greg,

I am a beginner in tasting as well. I’ve been to quite a couple of Napa Wineries and would love to expand my knowledge along with you and your group when it resumes. I have pmed you as well.

Hi Greg,
I sent you a PM about the group too, including my email. It sounds like a really fun way to learn.

Hey Greg,

I’d love to join in sometime on your tastings. Its been many years since I was involved with the East Bay crew!

Hi Greg,

Also in east bay (Oakland) would love to join when these (or other eat bay events) resume

Will do!

PM me with your email address.

Would love to be involved in any Bay Area events now that we’re emerging from Covid. I’m based out of SF.

Will be looking at options in the next 2-3 weeks. We did a tasting 3 weeks ago, but not a blind one for the first time in who knows how long, some in the group simply wanted to socialize after a year of lock downs. Our usual venue is good for 10, maybe 12, so that leaves maybe a couple of spots for newcomers. Looking at either a somewhat larger venue or starting another parallel group, we seem to have enough just in this thread, and maybe mix it up with a few “old timers” from the originals. This way we can use same venue on a more frequent basis.

If anyone has an idea of a venue in East Bay I am all ears. The one we go to is in Danville, but any place in East Bay is fine. We normally pay no corkage, and leave nice tips, would be great to have a similar backup option. Or we sometimes congregate at one of the group’s houses, also works, but we still try to stick to no more than 12. Gives you good pours for the official portion, and leaves enough for those who want to re-taste after the reveal.

We used to taste at a restaurant right next door to Bridges, but the owner sold, I’ll reach out for his input. Cafe Esin used to host us with same conditions (no corkage), but there is a new management there, need to inquire as well.

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Quick updates now that things are beginning to look up.

Update 1.
My group is scheduled for an OR vs. CA Pinot Noir shootout, on July 2 in East Bay. Depending on group RSVPs we may have a couple of spots open, but I won’t know until June 6-7. I will post an update on June 8, at least I hope we’ll have a better picture by then and will be able to open up the list. This one will be blind, our usual format, but whereas we usually call a theme and everyone brings a bottle to match it, this time we already have OR wines through local distributor after consulting with an OR winemaker of choice to see what makes sense and wines that should represent OR well. Working on CA side now, but will most likely fill that via our cellars and find CalPinot on a savory side of things. I’ll explain in greater detail later.

Update 2.
Starting another group, in parallel, or expand, as indicated before. One issue I may have with a couple of restaurants in the area (Danville) that used to host us is new management, I have to explain and discuss everything from scratch now and hope they will continue to do what their predecessors did for us. Already had a discussion with a wine distributor and he confirmed that his sales people are having this same issue, many (most?) restaurants let go of their crews in the past year and have re-hired from scratch since. I will need some time approaching new guys I never dealt with, although post closures its a whole new ballgame due to restaurants trying to make up for all the lost revenues, and I do not blame them. Will take a bit of time to sort things out and see what works, and how, and I hope to find a solution in this new reality with restaurants being way less flexible.