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The more the merrier at this year’s ZinFest

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Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:01 am, Tue May 17, 2011.

For whatever reason, this weekend's ZinFest was considerably better attended than last year, festival organizers say.

Attendance at ZinFest was up an estimated 47 percent over last year, according to Shannon Harbert, marketing and communications coordinator for the Lodi Winegrape Commission. Last year's event drew 4,200 thirsty revelers, but Harbert estimates 6,000 on Saturday alone. Final attendance numbers will be available by the end of the week, she said.

If people didn't come to sample wine from 46 local wineries, they came for the food, wine school or cooking demonstrations. Visitors were also busy dancing to one of three live bands on the north shore of Lodi Lake on Saturday.

Harbert described Saturday's festivities as busy, but not so busy for it to be overly crowded.

"It was just the right amount of people," she said.

Markus Bokisch said he focused on his Spanish wines, which created some visitor interest.

"There were a lot of great questions," said Bokisch, who had a booth at Lodi Lake on Saturday. "There were a lot of questions on the region. The crowd makeup was more and more from out of the area."

A wine writer from New York told Bokisch and his wife, Liz, that he came to California just for the Lodi ZinFest. Liz Bokisch added that four women from Michigan came to Lodi for the weekend for the third ZinFest in a row. What impressed Liz Bokisch was that the Michigan visitors came to Lodi and didn't package it with other California attractions.

ZinFest continued on Sunday, but it wasn't at Lodi Lake. Wineries throughout the Lodi area hosted special open houses. For Bokisch, Sunday marked the debut as part of cellardoor, a School Street establishment in Downtown Lodi. Bokisch joins Michael-David, Jesse's Grove and Van Ruiten wineries at cellardoor.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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