River City Wine Week Kicks Off


Wine tastingThe organizers of the 2nd Annual River City Wine Week (Aug. 3–9) had to scramble when COVID-19 put the kibosh on in-person events this year. But founders Carrie Boyle and Rachael Levine managed to come up with a slate of digital, virtual and socially distanced programs to shine a spotlight on the Sacramento region’s winemakers.

Events include live tastings at Bokisch Vineyards in Lodi and Heringer Estates in Clarksburg (Friday, Aug. 7); Sierra Vista Winery in Placerville (Saturday, Aug. 8); and Crystal Basin Cellars and Matchbook Winery in Zamora (Sunday, Aug. 9). Sac Brew Boat is offering wine tasting excursions through Aug. 15.

But the week’s main event—the Pop & Pour wine tasting—will be held online on Sunday, Aug. 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. Last year, it was an in-person, walk-around tasting that sold out. This year, it will be a virtual gathering hosted on Zoom. Recognizing that many people are suffering from “Zoom fatigue,” Boyle promises it will be a fast-paced two hours. Moderated by Kilt & Cork’s Russ Reyes and “Existential Wine Guy” Jeremy Maron, the event will feature a talk on how to taste like a somm by Tesh Diyal, former sommelier at The Kitchen; a casual conversation with local winemakers and winery owners; a wine trivia game; and a musical set by local artist Clemon Charles.

“It’s like a wine happy hour,” says Boyle, who has hosted her fair share of Zoom happy hours in the past few months. “Show up with your bottles of wine, make a cheese board and hang out with us.”

To participate in this free event, register online at rivercitywineweek.com. When you register, your name will be entered in a drawing for a two-night stay at Bed & Berries, a luxury bed-and-breakfast in the Fairplay wine country.

As part of River City Wine Week, Boyle and Levine are inaugurating a social media campaign to promote and support local wineries. On the first Friday of every month (starting Aug. 7), they’ll encourage people to buy, open and drink local wines, snap a photo and post it to social media using the hashtag SacSipsLocal.

For more information about River City Wine Week, go to