Offering a total sensory immersion into four distinct wine growing regions, Amador Four Fires festival is an event like no other. To help you get the most out of your A4F experience, here are some insider tips from the event’s creator, Deirdre Mueller.
Mueller suggests starting with the festival map and program. “Do a quick study of the offerings and select the cooking demonstrations and seminars you want to attend,” Mueller says. Using this as “dots” to connect, she suggests then exploring each tasting region in between, pairing the region with the demonstration or seminar you want to attend.
Next, pick a region to start off your tasting experience: Italy, Iberia, France or Heritage California. The wines are separated by region so attendees can taste them side-by-side. Be sure to sample wines with the cuisine in that region. The chefs have designed their dishes to pair perfectly with the wine. Take a sip, a nibble, and then chat with the winemakers and chefs themselves. Some folks hop from winery to winery within a region, others pick a varietal, like Barbera in the Italian region, and make taste comparisons.
In between each region, take time to relax: Take a seat in the shade; browse artwork, explore the sensory station; listen to live music (provided by a winemaker who doubles as a musician). Be sure to check out the local purveyors of olive oils, cooking sauces, candies and more. But don’t miss the wines available for sale as there are some great values, plus receive a free tote with the purchase of four or more of your favorite wines. (The A4F volunteers are happy to set side purchases for pick up at end of the day.)