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Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Unveils the Culinary Offerings for the Upcoming Zinfandel Experience (ZinEX) Grand Tasting taking place February 25, 2017, at Pier 27 in San Francisco


Inviting food awaits ZinEX Grand Tasting attendees as eleven leading Bay Area restaurants design Zinfandel paired menus that include delights such as pork rillet, smoked duck brochette, trout mousse, world-class olive oil, and Zinfandel chocolate ganache 

San Francisco, CA, January 23, 2017 – Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) today announced the leading Bay Area restaurants and wineries that have developed culinary creations for the upcoming Zinfandel Experience (ZinEX) Grand Tasting, the most comprehensive showing of Zinfandels and blends in the world. The event, taking place at San Francisco’s Pier 27 on Saturday, February 25, is the ultimate tasting experience of sumptuous samples from restaurants and winery chefs, along with opportunities to experience face-to-face tastings with celebrity winemakers.

As part of the announcement, Hess Collection Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson has shared one of his favorite seasonal menu items: Lamb and Toybox Mushroom Ragu with Toasted Barley and Roasted Red Pepper Relish. Perfectly paired with the Artezin Collins Vineyard Zinfandel, this dish reflects Chef Hendrickson’s commitment to utilizing local organically and sustainably-grown products to create fresh seasonal recipes. The recipe is included below.

“This year’s ZinEX menu is sure to delight everyone with Zinfandel friendly dishes from some of the Bay Area’s renowned chefs, restaurants and wineries,” said Rebecca Robinson, ZAP’s Executive Director. “This is THE must attend event of the year for any food and wine lover.”

An all-day pass provides access to limited production wines not available to taste anywhere else, paired with special culinary offerings. Afternoon tickets offer guests the chance to sample the newest releases with culinary dishes and a selection of artisan cheeses. The spacious open floor plan and panoramic views of the bay create a perfect backdrop for getting to know Zinfandel and experiencing Zinfandel’s classic character.

ZinEX 2017 culinary offerings include:

  • Sophisticated dish from Chef Mark Dommen of One Market Restaurant
  • Baby back riblets with a radish slaw and Cochon Volant Sonoma BBQ sauce by Chef Owner Rob Larman of Cochon Volant
  • Pork rillet, grain mustard, mushroom and quince by Hess Collection Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson
  • Smoked duck brochette with dried fig, aged balsamic, and fino verde basil by Executive Chef Matthew J Dolan of 25 Lusk
  • Prime tenderloin sliders with Toybox tomato jam, shaved Midnight Moon cheese and micro greens served on a mini brioche bun by Bob’s Steak & Chop House
  • Fresh local food creations from Chef Stefano Masanti of V. Sattui Winery
  • Crostini of whole milk ricotta soufflé bread with smoked McFarland spring trout mousse and candied red onions by Chef Francesco Torre of Canneti Roadhouse Italiana
  • Muffulettta sandwiches with Simoncini Vineyards Estate Extra Virgin Oliva Oil by Chef Deirdre Francis of Simoncini Vineyards
  • Zinfandel tiramisu and naked cake served with Zinfandel chocolate ganache and award-winning Zinfandel dark cherry sauce by Sonoma Cake Creations
  • Smoked brisket sliders by the Culinary Arts Department at City College San Francisco
  • Culinary creations by Kinder’s
  • Exceptional cheese tastings by Fiscalini Cheese Company and Champignon North America
  • A delectable chocolate selection by the San Francisco Chocolate Factory
  • Each Grand Tasting attendee is offered a baguette upon entrance to the event

The ZinEX Grand Tasting takes place at Pier 27 in San Francisco on Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm. The cost to attend the all-day Grand Tasting is $150 for ZAP members and $180 for the public. An “Afternoon” ticket option provides guests an opportunity to sample the newest releases with culinary dishes and a selection of artisan cheeses. The cost to attend the Afternoon tasting is $70 for ZAP members (with entry one hour before the public at 1:00 pm) and $80 for the public (with 2:00 pm entry).

Grand Tasting attendees also enjoy complimentary entrance to ‘Meet the Maker Roundtables’ from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. These short sessions provide guests and the winemaker an opportunity to get to know each other in a fun and informal setting. With only a handful of people seated around the table, the winemaker shares their wine and tells stories about how it was made. Guests are encouraged to ask questions and discover new ways to enjoy Zinfandel. Tickets to the ZinEX Grand Tasting can be purchased online at http://www.zinfandelexperience.com. Advance ticket purchases are highly recommended as this event does sell out.

Recipe: Lamb and Toybox Mushroom Ragu with Toasted Barley and Roasted Red Pepper Relish to Pair with Artezin Collins Vineyard Zinfandel

Recipe Courtesy of Hess Collection Executive Chef, Chad Hendrickson – Yield:  4 portions

Ingredients – for Lamb and Toybox Mushroom Ragu

  • 2 oz.        Canola oil
  • 1½ lbs.     Lamb shoulder, cut in 1” pieces
  • 1 lb.         Toybox Mushrooms, trim stems (we use a mixture of 4 different mushrooms)
  • 1 cup       Onions, diced
  • 1 Tbsp.    Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp.    Thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup       Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup       Artezin Collins Vineyard Zinfandel
  • 1 each     Bay leaf
  • 1 qt.        Chicken stock
  • 1 qt.        Veal stock

Ingredients for the Barley 

  • 1 oz.         Olive oil
  • 1 cup        Onions, diced
  • 1 ea.         Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup       Barley, toasted on a baking sheet in the oven until golden
  • 5 cup       Chicken stock

Ingredients for Pepper Relish

  • 1 oz.         Olive oil
  • 1 ea.         Garlic, sliced
  • ½ cup      Roasted, Diced Red Peppers
  • 1 Tbsp.    Parsley, chopped
  • to taste    Salt and Pepper


  1. For the Ragu: Preheat a 325 °F oven.
  2. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight.
  3. In a large sauce pot, heat the oil until it starts to smoke, add just enough lamb to cover the bottom in a single layer. Do not overcrowd the pan. Sear the lamb on all sides. Remove to a bowl or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining lamb, combining it with the other lamb.
  4. Once the lamb is seared and the pan is empty, add the onions. Cook until caramelized. Add garlic and thyme, cook until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and cook until reduced to a paste. Deglaze with the Zinfandel, reduce until almost dry. Add the meat and stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and let cook on a low simmer until the meat is fork tender.
  5. Heat a separate sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil and the mushrooms, Sauté until the mushrooms are golden brown and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms to the ragu.
  6. For the Barley: Heat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Add the toasted barley, stir to coat with oil. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. For the Pepper Relish: Place the oil in a small sauce pot. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until the garlic is tender with no color. Add the peppers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. To Serve: Place spoon of the barley in the center of the plate. Spoon the ragu over the barley and top with a small spoon of Pepper Relish.

About Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson

Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson utilizes local organically and sustainably-grown products to create fresh seasonal recipes to pair with Hess Collection wines. Chad strives to individually pair the unique flavors and textures in each of our wines with complementary flavor combinations in the dishes he creates.  He also created the special Tour of the Palate program for visitors. This gives guests the opportunity to taste three current release wines, expertly paired with his dishes. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Chad moved to Los Angeles, where he started his career as a Hollywood restaurant chef. He worked for several elite West Hollywood restaurants, working as Sous Chef under Michael Roberts at Le Bel Age Hotel and as Chef at Café La Boheme.  Before joining The Hess Collection in 2001, he worked at renowned Napa Valley restaurants Brix and Auberge du Soleil with Chef Andy Sutton.

About Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP)

Created for Zin lovers by Zin lovers, Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP), a non-profit 501(c)(3) association, brings Zinfandel education and appreciation to the public each year at their annual ZinEX event. ZAP’s mission is to advance knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. Members include winegrowers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts. The common focus is the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America’s Heritage Wine. ZAP members enjoy benefits throughout the year including access to ZAP’s Premier Winery Experience program.  ZAP can be found online at Zinfandel.org and ZinEX can be found at ZinfandelExperience.com, on Facebook @ZAP.org and on Twitter @thezinfandelorg.

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