Stage Left Cellars

2 Posts Back Home

Oakland, CA is Wine Country

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.

Read more

DRINK – Urban wine

Since wine can be made anywhere these days, it’s no big surprise that Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, CA (also known as the East Bay) are home to many urban wine brands, both established and start ups. So what if there are no vineyards in the city (that I’m aware of).  At this past weekend’s Urban Wine Experience in Oakland, the local wines were showing rather well, paired with bites from local restaurants. The public event was held by the East Bay Vintner’s Alliance. I found a lot to like, and some really good values. There were many good Rhone varietal bottlings, and that made me happy, since j’adore Rhone wines. I might just need to do a little East Bay Rhone wine tour. These are the standouts: One of my last sips of the day was at Stage Left Cellars. It’s a fairly new player in the urban wine scene.…