Family Wine Makers Tasting Favorites

I recently attended the Family Winemakers of California (“FWC”) Grand Tasting in San Francisco.  The FWC is the trade advocate for California’s “small family” wineries (according to this year’s program, case production ranged from 200 to 200,000! ).  A huge tasting like this brings in trade, media, and wine lovers from across the country.

There were 103 participating wineries from across California pouring over 350 different wines and 40 varietals and blends.

Image courtesy of EventBrite
Image courtesy of EventBrite

When I attend a big tasting like this, it’s impossible for me to taste all the wines…so where to begin?

In years past, I chose to focus on either a specific grape variety (e.g. Grenache) or wineries that were new to the tasting.   This year, I decided to give “Taster’s Choice” (which is pretty much what it sounds like) a try.

There were some wineries where I was able to taste through the lineup of wines being poured.  For others, I may have tried only one or two of the wines being poured.

I was there for three hours before tapping out after tasting 65 wines.  

You’ll find a recap of my social media posts featuring my favorite wines/wineries below!

Click name of the winery for more information

The Withers Winery

Woodenhead Wine

Petree Cellars

Vino Noceto

Hawk and Horse

Bella Grace Vineyards

Belden Barns

Cass Vineyard And Winery

Angwin Estate Vineyards

Tablas Creek Vineyard

Bokisch Vineyards

Byrd Vineyard

Frisson Wines

Howell Mountain Vineyards


Of the fourteen wineries featured in my social media posts, I managed to achieve a 50/50 split between new to me wineries and consistent favorites like Tablas Creek.

Perhaps the real takeaway for me from the tasting is that there are relative newcomers like Belden Barns which I “discovered” at this event a few years ago that are  better than ever.  

Related post you may be interested in:


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  1. Thanks for posting this recap of your favorites. I enjoyed your day-by-day tweets but this puts all of them in one place; easy to use as a reference. Looks like a great tasting, Martin!

    1. Support says:

      Thanks Lauren… a great event for sure. If you ever get a chance to go… I highly recommend!

  2. Sounds like a good plan. I see some familiar wines and some new introductions to try. Thanks Martin.

    1. Support says:

      Thanks Michelle! A great event if you get a chance to attend one day! Cheers!

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