SAN FRANCISCO, January 18, 2013 –Although most people think of Napa and Sonoma when they think California wine, you can visit wineries right in the heart of San Francisco.
The number of urban wineries has been growing consistently over the past few years, especially on Treasure Island. Another fact that might even escape many San Francisco locals is that Treasure Island is actually part of San Francisco. One needs to access the Bay Bridge or a boat to get there, but it is part of the city.
There is an important distinction in urban wineries that sets them apart from wine bars and just tasting rooms, and that is that the wine is actually made there too.
Here is a short list of the top 3 urban wineries in San Francisco:
1. The Winery SF, Treasure Island, San Francisco
Winery SF is the brainchild of winemaker Bryan Kane, who had a vision to create this artisan, urban winemaking oasis. Kane has succeeded with flying colors, by bringing the California wine experience to San Francisco through his 20,000 square foot wine-lover’s paradise.
The Winery SF is home to a large number of boutique wines, harvesting grapes from Napa, Sonoma, Lake County and beyond. Kane’s winemaking style is reflected in the winery as well as his wines. He is committed to sustainable farming practices and natural winemaking. And his Rhone varietals are out of this world. Kane is also the winemaker and proprietor of Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery located in the Red Hills Appellation in Lake County, CA.
This is a must-do visit for anyone in San Francisco, locals and tourists alike. Insider tip: you can take MUNI bus number 108 (affectionately referred to as the “wine wagon” and “booze bus”) from downtown San Francisco, and the bus lets you off right in front of The Winery SF.
Tasting suggestions: Check out their San Francisco series, where the 2008 Cabernet steals the show. Upcoming events: 1/19, Annual Cabernet Shootout Challenge; 1/26-27, Treasure Island Flea Market (Indie designers, antiques, crafts, vintage); 2/10, Puppy Love, quarterly wine and dog lover meet up, free admission, bring your dog.
2. Bluxome Street Winery, SOMA, San Francisco
Hidden among the vintage lofts sits boutique Bluxome Street Winery. Back at the turn of the 20th century, San Francisco was home to 120 wineries, but tragedy struck in 1906 in the form of The Great Earthquake and most of the wineries were completely destroyed.
Fast-forward a century or so and enter Bluxome Street Winery. True to San Francisco’s winemaking beginnings, Bluxome Street pulls from that storied past to create a big piece of wine heaven on a tiny street that is only two blocks long.
Bluxome sources their grapes from vineyards in cool climate regions of Sonoma, like Russian River. These guys aren’t just winemakers though, they are also growers and their meticulous farming practices are reflected in their high quality wines.
Swing on by during your lunch, grab a bite and a glass of vino, or go in for a few hours and relax. Sip wine while witnessing the inner workings of the winery as they magically happen around you. Bluxome is very urban chic. The old wineries of the early 1900s would be proud. Tasting suggestion: Try their 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir.
3. VIE Winery, Treasure Island, San Francisco
VIE Winery is another hidden gem on Treasure Island that makes beautiful Rhone varietals and Zinfandel-based wines from some of the best vineyards around California. Winemaker Todd Seaver’s roots began back in Boston in 1998 when he starting making wine with his family out of their garage. Seaver’s come a long way since those early garage days. He initially joined VIE as assistant winemaker under Bryan Kane back in 2005.
Today Seaver is showcasing some gorgeous wines in VIE’s new tasting room on Treasure Island. Don’t let the rustic exterior fool you, the renovated and rejuvenated old auto repair shop shines as VIE’s urban-elegant tasting room. Seaver uses the winery’s small size to his advantage. With only about 2,000 cases, he is able to hand craft all of his wines. And the wines are lovely, very food friendly, as well as great to drink on their own.
Starting this spring and summer, VIE will have bocce ball courts and BBQs to entice you to visit. VIE is conveniently located walking distance from The Winery SF. Come out to Treasure Island for a touch of the French life. Tasting suggestion: try a flight of Syrah.
Columnist Sherrie Perkovich offers an insider’s perspective of the very best San Francisco has to offer. Join her weekly to experience the best the City by the Bay has to offer - from parties to parks and everything in between.
Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all. If it’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sherrie is in on it. Follow her column, for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco treats.
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