An Amateur Pouring Alongside the Pros

On January 29, 2005, the Fort Mason in San Francisco will be transformed into a wine lover’s paradise. Nearly 300 wineries will be offering their Zinfandels to thousands of samplers. All of the regulars will be there – Robert Biale Vineyards, Turley Wine Cellars, Ravenswood and Rosenblum Cellars, for example. Tucked in among the big boys will be a table featuring winemakers who you’ve probably never heard of. There you’ll find Maiolini Vineyards, among others. Head winemaker Steve Maiolini’s been in the industry since 1993 and makes Petite Syrah and Sangiovese in addition to his favorite style, Zinfandel. He uses grapes from Napa Valley, and his wine is probably most recognizable by its label, which features a little pig motif (Maiolini means little pig in Italian). His wine has won awards, and he’s been involved with the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) since 1994. So what makes his wine any different from the others that will be poured at the ZAP Annual Zinfandel Festival in January? He’s a home winemaker. This year’s rendition of the Zinfandel Festival will be held