The Walnut Creek Downtown Business Association launched a new yearly event this past Wednesday (06/25/08) with their first annual Downtown Wine Walk. For a $20 fee, you (were supposed to) receive a commemorative wine glass and a map to that showed the various downtown stores, restaurants and bars that were participating and pouring wine from 6-9pm that evening. This first event focused on Napa wines. The event fit in well with their long-running annual Art & Wine Festival and various downtown art and farmer’s market events. It also was well-timed to take advantage of the wine renaissance that is continuing to take place downtown where many wine bars and stores have gone in over the last year or so (and is also taking place across the Bay Area).
I met up with my friends Kristin & Ian and we had high hopes for the evening until we realized that we should have bought Presales…the line must have been at least a couple hundred people long and was not moving quickly, a sign of the organizational learning that was to be taking place that night. While they had a gentleman walking up and down the line to distribute Will Call tickets, they really could have had at least two or three other attendants to sell tickets. There was no reason to have a day of ticket distribution table. They also quickly ran out of glasses by roughly 6:30 and before we were able to get a glass. When pressed they said absolutely no discounts for this and suggested we call someone at the Downtown Business Association and request a glass after the event. I didn’t necessarily need another glass (although a lot of people in front of me were very disappointed with the glass shortfall), but I really didn’t want to taste fine wine in a clear Dixie cup, particularly after I just paid a full 20 dollars. Ever resourceful, Kristin, Ian and I ventured over to the South end of the map (which was weirdly reversed and went N, S, W, E) and bought 3 stemless glasses at Cost Plus.
All of this finally settled, we ventured around downtown and tasted some pretty tasty wines, all the while served by very courteous and enthusiastic owners and employees of the various stores, bars and restaurants that we entered, learning a bit about the downtown vendors along the way, as intended. I had no idea how high-end Foot Candy was, nor how many rad clothes for my wife were being offered at Norf London.
The evening ended with a requisite visit to Artisan to say hi to Lena, Jenny and Zoe who had personally picked out the wines that they were pouring that night. Despite the many planning issues that surrounded this first WC Wine Walk, Ian, Kristin and I all had a good time by the end of the night.
I won’t be listing direct links to the wines we tasted last Wednesday, but I will be uploading reviews with the tag “2008WCWW“, if you would like to list those wines in your own WineLog. Did you attend this event as well? Post a comment and tell me about your experience, I’d love to hear it!