Sure, you can get hot dogs — veggie as well as meat — and if you’re a beer drinker, you have your pick of brews that include Bud and Blue Moon. You also have a choice of many ethnic foods, a farmers market and quality wines.
If you think I’m talking about the Ferry Building, think again: This is AT&T Park, where wine is analyzed almost as much as the Giants’ chances of winning back-to-back World Series titles.
According to one of the bartenders at the Field Level Bar, there are games when they sell more red wine and Irish coffee than anything else. Weather is the simple reason for that, but even when it’s not nippy, wine is fashionable. Chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon are the fan favorites, but for the same amount of money, you can drink the Brassfield pinot grigio, a crisp white wine from Lake County that is ideal for day games.
The Field Club’s California Wine Bar stationed at the center of the food court has the best selection in the stadium. If you’re lucky enough to find Precious Lewis on duty, she will help you match wine with your food. Lewis, who said she is working when not on maternity leave (baby No. 3 is on the way), tastes all the wines and can describe the 10 selections with confidence. Here, I was delighted to find the Madigan cabernet sauvignon, White Rock’s second-label red, being poured for a reasonable $10 a glass.
There is another California Wine Bar all the way up at the View Level near Section 305 that carries a slightly different range of local wines that includes Rosenblum zinfandel XXXII and Acacia chardonnay ’09 for $9.75.
For obvious reasons, all beverages are served in plastic cups. This is hardly the ideal way to enjoy wine, but if quantity is your goal, it’s a good deal, especially considering that most of the wines sell for $9 a cup and are filled to the 7-ounce rim.
The food court behind the center-field bleachers is one of my favorite places to go during the third-inning stretch. The Crazy Crab and its next-door neighbor, the Chowder House, offer the Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux from the Languedoc region of France. Touted as France’s oldest sparking wine, it is one of the few imports wines served at the stadium. At $16 a glass, it is a little pricey though if bubbles are what you’re craving, that may not matter.
Fans love the full bars at the Club Level and the Cuervo Margarita Bar near Section 230 always has a line — but maybe not just for the tequila. Here you can buy Vinum Cellars chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, which, in their price category, are as good as they come for these popular varietals.
Clearly, the food-and-wine experience during baseball games has evolved and part of me holds nostalgia for the days of peanuts, hot dogs and beer. But if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em, and if you choose to drink wine while watching the 2010 World Series champions, you might as well drink in style.
Pamela S. Busch is the owner of Skrewcap.com, founder of CAV Wine Bar and a Bay Area wine consultant. Please submit your questions to Pamela@Skrewcap.com.