Poor you if you missed this year’s sold-out urban winery extravaganza on August 2. More than twenty wineries in the East Bay represented on a gorgeous day outside at Jack London Square. Along with wine, some of the newish darling Mead was offered, as well as artisanal olive oils, and a lot of delicious food. (A full list of supporters and restaurant partners is here.)

The Vintners of the East Bay Alliance are winemakers who support each other and buoy each other’s efforts as the idea of excellent urban wine making takes off. Our locale is home to many award-winning wines and the “Xperience” gives the opportunity to try them. Unlike some group wine events, local winemakers tend to “bring out the good stuff” on this day as well as popular wines and new releases.

A couple generations of Oakland locals

Winemaker Sasha Verhage of Eno Wines holding either Pinot Noir or Rhone blend - highly coveted, Eno wines never disappoints.

Winemaker Sasha Verhage of Eno Wines holding either Pinot Noir or Rhone blend. Highly coveted, Eno wines never disappoints.

Eduardo Balaguer owner and chef of Venga Paella serving some delicious samples.

Eduardo Balaguer, owner and chef of Venga Paella, serving some delicious samples

Rock Wall bubbly always a crowd-pleaser. This year the brut was dry and perfect on this hot day.

Rock Wall bubbly: always a crowd-pleaser. This year the Brut was dry and perfect on this hot day.

Two Mile Wines tasting room manager Deborah and her husband. Dry Creek Sangiovese, Founders Rock, superb.

Two Mile Wines tasting room manager Deborah and her husband. Dry Creek Sangiovese, Founders Rock: superb.

Winemaker David Teixeira from Lusu Cellars pouring a new Zinfandel - delicious!

Winemaker David Teixeira from Lusu Cellars pouring a new Zinfandel: delicious!

Oakland psychiatrists need to unwind.

Oakland psychiatrists need to unwind.

Lungomare and Chop Bar represented with tasty samples of salmon mousse and pâté.

Lungomare and Chop Bar represented with tasty samples of salmon mousse and pâté.

Oakland gal with a guest.

Oakland gal with a guest

Winemaker Robert Lynch of Irish Monkey Winery pouring excellent Cabernet.

Winemaker Robert Lynch of Irish Monkey Cellars pouring excellent Cabernet

Kent Rosenblum pioneered urban winemaking with his namesake in Alameda circa 1978, Now there's a Rosenblum tasting room in Jack London Square. I look forward to trying their wines soon with their new winemaker as Kent Rosenblum has moved on to working with his daughter at Rock Wall Wines.

Kent Rosenblum pioneered urban wine making with his namesake in Alameda circa 1978. Now there’s a Rosenblum tasting room in Jack London Square. I look forward to trying their wines soon with their new winemaker as Kent Rosenblum has moved on to working with his daughter at Rock Wall Wines.

I drank a pricey and delicious Cabernet poured from Irish Monkey’s Robert Lynch (double gold at least once from the SF Chronicle wine competition). I followed that up with a stunner of a Pinot Noir from Eno Wines, Dashe Zinfandel which I had to compare with the very different but equally pleasing Lusu Cellars Zin.

Other favorite wines from the day were a Stage Left Cellars red blend, “The Day Job,” fantastic Brut bubbly from Rock Wall and the (for me) always superb, Two Mile Wines reds (asterisk on Dry Creek Sangiovese).

Urban wineries use grapes from expected areas like Sonoma and Napa, as well as some emerging areas in the Sierra Foothills and beyond. Many, like Eno and Lusu, practice low-intervention, near-zero additives, wine making. Irish Monkey uses century-old recipes. Dashe has brought French style to award-winning Zinfandels made in Oakland.

Rumor has it that Two Mile Wines is expanding operations in Oakland, and that’s a good thing. The line was “out to there” when I was near Urban Legend Cellars, so I gave it a miss, but you can read about them here.

Events like this showcase talent beyond trend, and some of Oakland’s long-term residents as well as newbies appreciated the true pleasures of food, wine, music and high spirits. Cheers!

P.S. Don’t despair if you missed out. Check out the Alliance’s website and get a full run-down on wineries, locations and tasting room hours. There’s more wine!

Granate Sosnoff is freelance writer, nonprofit communications consultantMugsy pop-up wine bar producer, and frequently in need of a glass of wine.

 

2 Responses

  1. Steve Shaffer

    Granate,
    Thanks for the great review! It’s always a great time for everyone including the vintners. I’m sorry our table was so mobbed.

    Kind Regards,
    Steve
    Urban Legend Cellars

    Reply
  2. Granate

    Steve, luckily I get to go try your wines at the winery! Thanks for checking out the article. Cheers!

    Reply

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