What’s in a Name?
Golden Grapes, a popular Palm Springs wine festival returned (after a long hiatus) on December 4th, 2021, to celebrate the best of small-lot, organic, bio-dynamic, sustainable wineries throughout California. Tickets sold out fast. The event was hosted by two well known local hangouts; Ace Hotel & Swim Club and Dead or Alive Bar + Shop – both within walking distance to where I live lucky for me.
I have to say I was both surprised and disappointed to discover how little supply of organic wines are available for purchase in any of the local grocery stores here; even “Total Wine” the big wine supplier in Palm Desert. This was really my main intention for attending the event…to discover fine tasting, organic California wines. That plus the fact this fest is known among industry insiders as a winemaker’s favorite wine festival.
Even though it was small in size, it was still overwhelming since I was not at all familiar with any of the wineries featured. In actuality, it was hit and miss for me. As with choosing films at a film festival, the movie title (or wine label here) is what first garners my attention. After that, I hope the film (wine) lives up to my expectations. Many times it does not. All in all I enjoyed this outing on a beautiful afternoon with great views. I was able to pace myself and keep it classy, enjoy small bites in between tastings while people-watching. My dog enjoyed it too especially when I shared some of my cheese with her.
It was fun to meet the winemakers and taste the Golden State’s distinct and diverse bounty of grape varietal, style, and terroir, from Shasta to Mendocino, Sonoma to the Sierras, down the Central Coast, all the way to San Diego – and everywhere in between.
How it Began:
Palm Springs Wine Fest was founded in 2018 by Dead or Alive owner, and locally-born-&-raised wine merchant, Christine Soto, as a platform to uplift and evangelize small producers and their conscientiously-farmed and crafted wines within the greater desert community. The inaugural PSWF was also held in December 2018 at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, bringing together over 30 winemakers of California’s new-guard to pour their fresh, honestly-made juice for the wine-loving assemblage – and the rest is history.
The $75 admission included unlimited tastings (although they recommend you keep it classy but you know how that can go), small bites, and expert insights from the winemakers such as:
Ashes & Diamonds, Broc Cellars, Las Jaras, Scribe Winery, Ruth Lewandowski, Hoxie Spritzer, Inconnu, Nomadica, Minus Tide Wines, Forlorn Hope, Roark Wine Company, En Cavale, Iruai, Ardure Wines, Augur Wine Co, Carboniste, Los Chuchaquis, Stirm Wine Co, Field Recordings, Fine Disregard, Lo-Fi Wines, Penville Wine, Thee & Thou, Raft Wines, Little Trouble Wines, Rootdown Cellars, Es Okay, Cole Ranch, Roark Wine Company, Woods Beer & Wine Co, Origin Wine, Two Shepherds and more.
Later that evening…
I attended the Bouschet Christmas Party (one of my favorite places for curated wine and tastings, small bites, PS Air Bar) and met a few new friends.