A plan to open a shop that sells chemical-free wines in San Francisco’s South of Market district is facing some resistance from neighbors who say there are already too many liquor establishments in the area.
Luc Ertoran, 29, a Parisian who has lived in San Francisco for five years, said he never imagined that anyone would oppose the “warm and cozy” wine store and tasting area that he and American business partner Dagan Ministero, 31, envisioned when they signed a lease for a space near Folsom and Seventh streets.
The two speak passionately about their plan to sell wines that are not only pesticide free, as are organic wines, but also produced without any chemicals. Biodynamic wines, Ertoran calls them. The name of the shop is Terroir, a French term that refers to the soil and other factors that contribute to the flavor of some wines. Wines would be sold at a wide range of prices, with many bottles available for $20, Ertoran said.
A handful of neighbors have filed a challenge to the pair’s liquor license application, however, charging that there are more than enough venues that serve alcohol on Folsom Street.
Liquor-selling establishments that line the one-block stretch of Folsom where Terroir is proposed include Julie’s Supper Club, Cassidy’s Irish Pub, the Cat Club, the City Brew Store, Brainwash, a convenience store and restaurants Triptych and Basil Thai.
“We have to control what kind of businesses come in,” said Mike Issa, the owner of the convenience store, which sells liquor. “There are two many licenses in a block or two.”
Jeffrey Zalles, the owner of Brainwash, said he and many others support having the wine shop move into the neighborhood.
“There’s a fair amount of crime in this neighborhood,” Zalles said, noting that the area is just now starting to recover from The City’s dot-com bust. “I think it’s a good thing for the neighborhood because it’s an upscale establishment,”
April Veneracion, the executive director for SOMCAN, a neighborhood activist group, said the group has not expressed a public opinion about the proposed wine shop but that it would prefer to have more “family-friendly places” in the South of Market area.
Ertoran said he’s confident that once neighbors know that his shop will be a low-key establishment that sells only high-quality, environmentally sustainable wines and doesn’t play loud music, they’ll support the business.
“We won’t affect the safety of the neighborhood in any way,” Ertoran said. “Our customers are wine-savvy, they are not coming just to get drunk.”