Noe Valley Voice September 2011

Napa Valley Comes to Noe Valley

Merchants Stage a Wine Walk

By Corrie M. Anders

Look for this poster in the windows of stores and restaurants participating in the Sept. 14 Noe Valley Wine Walk. Poster design by Kyla Kaplan

Noe Valley will get a taste of the Wine Country this month as the neighborhood hosts its first Noe Valley Wine Walk. The event will be held on 24th Street and environs on Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Oenophiles and casual sippers alike will get a chance to sample fine wines from seven Bay Area vintners, including Sonoma Valley’s Kokomo Winery, Terra Savia of Mendocino County, and Rosa d’Oro Vineyards of Kelseyville, Calif.

Those who purchase a $30 wristband can wander among 19 shops and restaurants, each pouring tastes of chardonnay, merlot, champagne, or other varietals.

Organizers said they expect 400 to 600 tasters—and hundreds more who will come simply to enjoy the party.

Kilby Stenkamp, sales manager at Hill & Co. on 24th Street, quipped that her real estate agents last month started practicing wine-pouring techniques to prepare for the crowds.

“They’re doing wrist exercises to get ready,” said Stenkamp, whose office is an official co-sponsor of the event, along with cable company Xfinity-Comcast.

The wine stroll was the brainchild of the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association.

“A lot of the merchants said we have all these kiddy events”—such as the Harvest Festival and the Summerfest in June—“why don’t we have something for adults?” said association president Bob Roddick.

Bill Hoover, who operates Gallery of Jewels on 24th Street, suggested the winetasting after participating in a “highly successful” event last year on Union Street, where he has a second store.

Hoover said he is “not a connoisseur of wines,” even though he pushed for the event.

“Quite honestly I’m a beer drinker,” he laughed. “My favorite wine is a wine that’s available!”

Hoover said the goal of the Wine Walk was “to get people out and into stores, and couple that with a social element so it’s a fun event.”

Most of the tasting stops will be along 24th Street from Diamond to Chatta­nooga streets, and a few blocks of Castro Street. Imbibers can meander from venue to venue or catch a free hop-on, hop-off shuttle.

Participants will be able to purchase tickets online or at two locations—a booth at the farmer’s market parking lot at 3865 24th St., and another at the city parking lot at 4049–4063 24th St. There they will receive the wristband, a wine glass, and a map showing the tasting stations. Each site will also be identified by the Wine Walk poster, an art deco design created by San Francisco artist Kyla ­Kaplan.

When visitors enter a store, the merchant or a winery representative will “pour a little sample for each participant,” said festival producer Steven Restivo. He noted that the wine should be consumed on the premises. “You can’t walk out with the wine in a glass.”

Restivo said many merchants plan to offer cheese and crackers or other finger foods, to complement the tasting.

Wine connoisseurs can double back to pouring stations as often as they wish, though Bob Roddick said he did not expect the party to descend into bacchanalia.

There’s no limit “as long as you can handle it,” Roddick said. “We don’t want anyone getting drunk. It’s a matter of good taste, and I mean good taste all the way around.”

To buy tickets online, visit For more information about the event, call 800-310-6563 or go to