It is always fun to take a day — or weekend — to escape to Napa or Sonoma, but there are so many great tasting options much closer to home — one or two wineries within the actual confines of San Francisco, a handful of collectives on Treasure Island that feature the work of multiple producers and many more in the East Bay.
The Bluxome Street Winery is a few blocks from the Fourth and King streets Caltrain station. You can grab a glass or a bottle. The urban winery focuses on Russian River Valley and Napa Valley wine grapes. It also sells handmade wood cutting boards and Molinari sausage. (What could be more fun for the train ride home to the Peninsula?)
Dogpatch WineWorks also offers an urban-industry tasting space where guests can make their own wine from vineyard sources in the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Mendocino County regions. The space’s tasting room is open weekends for samples by the bottle, glass and flight, and can be rented for private
HALFWAY OVER THE BAY BRIDGE
Treasure Island has become a hotspot for winery collectives. Many pour the wines offered by a half-dozen winemakers, and some host geeky activities like demonstrating technical feats such as push downs and pump overs of the grape skins during the production process.
One of my favorite is Treasure Island Wines, because many of the winemakers are on site. They often do wine tastings; visitors may taste through a dozen different wines from various regions. Sometimes barrel tastings are offered to get a sense of how the wines are evolving. It can be a fun, hands-on experience. Treasure Island also hosts a handful of festivals with food trucks parked outside.
There is ample parking and even an express bus from downtown San Francisco.
ALL THE WAY OVER THE BAY BRIDGE
Although Alameda is accessible by car, it’s a real treat taking the ferry there. You can visit Rock Wall Wine Co., where winemaking is led by Shauna Rosenblum. (Rosenblum Winery also has a tasting room next to the ferry terminal in Oakland’s Jack London Square.)
The name Rock Wall refers to the defensive perimeter wall built in San Francisco Bay during World War II to protect Alameda, the former military base, from air-to-sea torpedoes. It is housed in a converted 40,000-square-foot former airplane hangar. The winery features a range of wines from fruit sourced from all over California.
The East Bay Vintners Alliance also represents many other wineries in the area. The group’s website, www.eastbayvintners.com/east-bay-wineries, offers a map of locations. And Aug. 1 marks the Urban Wine Xperience in Jack London Square.
Liza B. Zimmerman is the principal of the Liza the Wine Chick, a writing and consulting business. She has been writing, educating and consulting about wine, cocktails and food for two decades. She has worked almost every angle of the wine and food business, from server and consultant to positions in distribution, education and sales.
Correction: This story originally misstated the location of Rock Wall Wines. It is at 2301 Monarch St., Suite 300, in Alameda.