When you think of Oakland, the other city by the San Francisco Bay, you probably don’t think of it as wine country. There aren’t any vineyards, bucolic settings or palatial wine tasting rooms. Instead, you find a gritty, industrial vibe, one that dares to thumb its nose at traditional wine country. This is wine country in the city.
23 wineries now call Oakland and surrounding areas home. This is more than a trend, not only in Oakland, but around the country. City Winery is in New York City. Boedecker is in Portland and Henke is in Cincinnati. While the labels may have appellations from Napa Valley to Long Island to the Willamette Valley, the grapes are brought into a downtown setting to be made into wine.
Part of the attraction for vintners going urban is cost. They don’t have vineyards, and downtown industrial space can be a lot less expensive than a small plot in Napa or Sonoma. What you do find is real passion and talent for winemaking. Most urban wineries make small lots, but it’s the wine they want to make, and drink. The tasting rooms are accessible to a wider population too. Imagine taking the subway to a winery. You can in New York. Urban wineries are changing the landscape, so to speak, and definition of wine country.