Off the Menu OC

Covering the dining scene in and around the OC

150 Wineries Come to Pasadena for Tasting Event on March 9

Cass winesTickets are still available for what is shaping up to be one of the most significant So Cal wine tasting events of the year: Family Winemakers 2014 Tasting event at Pasadena Convention Center on March 9.

More than 150 wineries from throughout California are participating in this tasting, which is normally only open to trade and media but this year welcomes consumers for the first time.

The list of wineries is truly impressive. Many of them are from California’s central coast region (our favorite wine destination) and include Adelaida, Ampelos, Fiddlehead, Foxen, Halter Ranch, J Dusi, Justin, Opolo, Tablas Creek, and Cass.

Chris first encountered Cass wines several years ago at a tasting room in downtown Paso Robles, and fell in love with their Mourvedre. Since then, he’s been to the tasting room and enjoyed Cass wines at local wine boutiques, including Wine Lab at The Camp in Costa Mesa (which carries many Cass wines),

We recently talked to owner Steve Cass, who told us he’ll have a handful of his wines at the Pasadena event, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, a Rhone Blend, Petit Verdot, cass wines 2Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, and port.

He told us that out of the 6,000 cases of wine he produces each year, more than 5,000 are sold to consumers—many of whom are in So Cal (around 50 restaurants and shops carry Cass wines).

He also has 1,600 wine club members, and a tasting room in Paso Robles with a restaurant that was named Best Winery to Have Lunch by the Paso Press.

At the tasting room, they hold wine blending parties and wine dinners, including one on March 15 that coincides with Paso’s annual Zinfandel weekend.

“The blending parties are fun,” noted Cass. “We bring out barrel samples and everyone makes the best possible blend. The winning team gets to make the wine labels, and we put that blend in a wine club shipment.”

For more information on Cass Winery, visit

wine fest 2We also have to mention Opolo, which makes a variety of wines but their Mountain Zinfandel is our favorite—it’s big, rich and jammy, and is nearly 17% alcohol.

The Dusi vineyard is one of the most noted in Paso (Tobin James, among others, makes a Dusi Zin), so it’s only natural that the Dusi family would make their own wine, which we’ve had and love.

We’re also curious to try a winery we just learned about that will be at the Pasadena tasting: Heartfelt Wines, a boutique, family-owned winery on Treasure Island in San Francisco. At the recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Heartfelt Wines won a Best of Class, two Double Golds, and a Bronze—impressive for a first-time entrant.

With 150 wineries pouring hundreds of wines, it’s impossible to try them all, but you’re sure to find something that pleases your palate.

The Family Winemakers event starts at 1 p.m. for trade and media. The public is welcome from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Tickets start at $60 in advance, or $70 at the door. A limited number of early admissions during the trade segment (which includes the special iSip Lounge Reserve area) are available for $100.

Visit for details.

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This entry was posted on March 5, 2014 by in Special Event, Wine event, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , .
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