The Fifth Annual Bay Area Korean American Wine Tasting Event

Ξ September 6th, 2008 | → 1 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, Wine News, Wineries |

How to spend a beautifully temperate Friday night in San Francisco? Well, I had the great pleasure to participate yesterday evening in the 5th annual Bay Area Korean American(s) (BAKAs) Wine Tasting Event in the Golden Gate Room at Fort Mason, Sept. 5th.

BAKAs “is a [non-profit] virtual community of 1st and 2nd generation Korean American organizations. We are committed to bringing visibility and awareness to the diverse number of Korean American organizations in the Bay Area.”

The event was spearheaded by KACSF, the San Francisco chapter of the Korean American Coalition. Headed by its tireless President Louis Hong, KACSF brought together a number of distinguished Korean American organizations.


The Korean American Society of Entrepreneurs (KASE)


The Korean American Professional Society (KAPS)


The Northern California chapter of the Korean American Bar Association (KABANC)


The Korean American Women Artists and Writers Association (KAWAWA)


The Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB)

The Korean American Professional Women’s Association of Silicon Valley [I was unable to locate their website, if they have one. Admin]

And Liberty in North Korea (LINK). “We are a non-profit, non-ethnic and non-religious group…”

The reader might wonder how I came to be included among these high-powered folk! The answer is simple. KAC’s delightful Koun Han, from the User Operations dept., saw Gary Vaynerchuk, Operations Manager of Wine Library and irrepressible host of Wine Library TV, when he was guest speaker at a conference hosted by and about Facebook. Impressed by Mr. Vaynerchuk’s message of making wine more accessible to everyone, she contacted him for a donation of wine for last night’s tasting event. Mr. Vaynerchuk immediately agreed. And Gary asked me, knowing I am fairly local (Santa Cruz), whether I might pour on behalf of WL.

I made the right decision!

The other generous sponsors of the event were Kendall-Jackson, a winery of note(!), Bottlenotes, a rather intriguing wine-related enterprise, and Hyphen, a magazine for the young Asian American community. Corporate sponsorship was provided by the insurance company Prudential.
The evening began well before 6:30pm with the re-acquaintance of the many organization’s staff. There was a convivial, relaxed atmosphere as Louis Hong hurried about the Golden Gate Room making sure all elements were coming together before the public’s arrival. Pictured here is Mr. Hong alongside the elegant Jae Yi, President of KABA.
Among the most beautiful cultural motifs of the event surely special mention must be made of professional dancer and staff member of KAWAWA, Ilhyun Kim. I poured next to her and very much enjoyed her sense of playfulness. Of the many freebies Mr. Vaynerchuk sent along with WL’s wine donation, the embossed corkscrews and DVDs containing four of his most humorous episodes, there was included one version of terry cloth wristband. I regret not getting a picture of Ms. Kim wearing it. Such a remarkable contrast it would have made between the traditional and the puzzling new!
Of the KAC staff, they were top notch. They and their additional volunteers continued to polish the room until the last minute. Just before the doors were opened to the public Sang Chi (left) and Ricky Chin (right) enjoyed a relaxing moment, but only a moment, before again they sprung to the floor with the arrival of the first guests.
The room filled quickly. I would estimate more than 400 people attended were the Fire Marshall to allow such a figure! Wine glasses were plentiful. From under Kendall-Jackson’s label was offered a 2003 Grand Reserve Merlot. An R-Wines ‘Evil’ was tabled. There were Crane Lake Cellars’ 2005 Zin and Merlot. A rosé labeled ‘Babe’ came from the Wine & Truffle Company out of Western Australia, Pemberton. From Columbia Crest was a 2006 Grand Estates Chardonnay. WL sent a 2006 white and red Bordeaux bottled under the ‘Jacques/San Souci’ label. And a 2006 Cal. sauv. blanc, Green Groves. Lastly, WL sent the 2004 Thunder Cuvée Red from Napa Valley.
The special guest of the evening was Yul Kwon, winner of the 2006 season of Survivor: Cook Islands. He gave a very inspirational talk on community goals, social responsibilities and true grit. I found myself taking notes! He cuts quite a figure in person.

I had a lot of fun, but the event passed too quickly. Louis Hong eased the wine tasting to a soft finish around 10pm. I was pleased to have seen so many young people eager to learn and talk about the world’s most convivial drink. All in all, it was a delightful evening for everyone. Folks left having made many new friends.


I did too.



One Response to ' The Fifth Annual Bay Area Korean American Wine Tasting Event '

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  1. on September 7th, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    great write up :) nice work and thank you!

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