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Home » Wineries » California » Woodside » Bay Area Urban Wineries

San Francisco Bay Area Wine Tasting Articles

Bay Area Urban Wineries

The Joy of Bay Area Urban Wineries

By Peter Cunningham

Urban Wineries in the Bay Area operate in converted warehouses, disused military installations, or dockside utility buildings. These sites are gritty, the visuals and the feel are engaging. The customer engagement includes San Francisco Bay with all its moods. In the bay area’s silvered sun light, rust-brown and orange are the dominant colors. In the dark of night, the dominant colors are the lights of the urban skylines, the lights of the bridges and the lights of the ferries on the water. During rains, water drips through the ceilings of the adjacent dry-docks. The surfaces decayed, discolored, and pitted by windswept salt-water spray. Disregarded dredges and tugs list in the shallows amongst creosote infused pilings. Shipping lanes traversed by ocean going cargo ships and tankers. These ships are large and cast shadows that darken the setting. Tugboats ferry back and forth, manned by stevedores wearing rain gear and life preservers. Sailboats and powerboats roll in the currents. The visuals are accented by the clatter of colossal ships loaded by leviathan cranes and the thud, clank and grind of container transports as they move. The smells are industrial and mechanical mixed with sea brine. The experience is new to most. The experience is compelling.An urban Winery’s industrial exterior envelops a tasteful interior with wine bar, good food, a wine tasting space and entertainment. The winemaker’s exposed tanks, barrels, pumps, macros, lifts and bottling lines, all are visible and can be toured. Customers love all this. In addition, several have both indoor and outdoor areas, including bay view patios.

Urban Wineries are “neighborhood wineries.” They are minutes away by car or public transport, and neighbors visit frequently, spontaneously or by plan. A wine bar, with lunch and dinner options and small plates, and optional wine tasting keep the crowds coming back. With this combination, customers enjoy lingering and immersing in the urban winery experience. Meals can be prepared in a kitchen on site, or in food trucks. Self-service food offerings are no problem. Rosenblum Winery added a selection of high quality charcuterie and other light food at their tasting room in Oakland’s Jack London Square. Rock Wall’s site has a kitchen and food trucks to meet the demand of the crowds, others have food trucks only. Groups, families and singles tell me regularly words to the effect, “what could be better than finishing a hectic day with a good meal and some good wine and a great view.” In other words, food and wine connect people to place.

Wine tastings are most appreciated when conducted in an area separate from the wine bar because the tasting curator needs the full attention of the audience. Urban Wineries are full of tales and history Customers revel in stories of management’s taming the industrial site to create the Urban Winery experience. What a great background for information on how the great wines are made.

Entertainment should include headliners and themed parties to attract crowds so people can mingle. Touring entertainers can be brought in to provide variety. Music, readings / poetry slams, art exhibits, comedy nights are all popular. Winery SF and Bluxome Street Winery are worth visiting to see the entertainment in action. An additional attraction is the availability of space to rent in the winery for events they host. People hosting parties say they like to introduce their friends to the winery, and share the experience. Rock Wall, and other venues, I know of enlist volunteers who help with Crush and Bottling. Working on the processes that create the wines they drink gives real satisfaction. At several smaller Urban Wineries, friends and family try their hand at making their own wines, typically about 25 to 50 cases.

These experiences contribute to the enjoyment, and attract and keep a crowd. Urban Wineries have broken the pattern of travel to Napa and Sonoma. Napa Tourism Board reports that 90% of the visitors at the wineries in Napa and Sonoma are Bay Area residents, and visitor numbers are down.

Recently I visited several wineries in Napa. Some are moving their tasting rooms to Napa city center from the countryside. The new tasting rooms are offering meals and entertainment, some offer hotel accommodation. This is in an effort to regain some customers who have adopted Urban Wineries as their destination of choice.

Bay Area Urban Wineries in the Bay Area that should become your go to destination include: Rock Wall Wine Company, R&B Cellars, Rosenblum Cellars, Urban Legend Cellars, Winery SF, Bluxome Street Winery, to name a few.

Peter Cunningham

LOCAL GUIDE

Peter Cunningham is a successful organizer and manager of Urban Winery Operations, Customer Experience Programs for Urban Wineries and Retail Customer experience in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Upcoming Bay Area Urban Winery Events

Jun
7
Sun
Sol Rouge Winery: New Release Party! @ Sol Rouge Winery
Jun 7 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sol Rouge Winery: New Release Party! @ Sol Rouge Winery | San Francisco | CA | US
Join us for Sol Rouge Winery’s New Release Party and taste our newest released wines!

Join us for our Sol Rouge Vineyard New Release Party featuring our brand new 2016 Grenache, 2016 Zinfandel, and 2016 Petite Sirah!

RSVP for a free taste of our new release wines with the purchase of a wine tasting and receive $5 off our new release wines at our release event.

Jun
13
Sat
National Rosé Wine Day Weekend @ Winemaker Studios
Jun 13 @ 12:00 pm – Jun 14 @ 5:00 pm
National Rosé Wine Day Weekend @ Winemaker Studios | San Francisco | CA | US

National Rose Day Wine Tasting Weekend


Saturday, June 13 & Sunday, June 14


12:00 pm – 5:00 pm


Can you EVER have enough Rosé? We don’t think so!


If you agree, join us on Treasure Island for an afternoon of wine tasting! We are giving free bonus pours of Rosé with the purchase of a wine tasting at VIE Winery, Sol Rouge Winery and/or The Winery SF, plus receive $2 off each bottle of Rosé to take home for later!


RSVP below to redeem this FREE offer! Offer only valid to those who pre-register.


 




 


 *FREE parking and Muni conveniently located a block away! Uber and Lyft easily accessible (usually under 8 minute wait).


DIRECTIONS


The Winery SF & Winemaker Studios
30 Avenue G
San Francisco, CA 94130
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4obvBcvJzFU2


1. Take the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island exit (LEFT exit from San Francisco and RIGHT from the East Bay).
2. When you come down the hill toward the island, continue straight- past the security gate.
3. Make a right on California Avenue (the first street)
4. Make a Right into the Third driveway (Avenue G) and The Winery SF is the dark grey building about 300ft in front of you on the left hand side. 

If you are using Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps, please search for “The Winery SF” versus the actual address, as the address sometimes gets interpreted incorrectly and sends you to a different address.



Jun
20
Sat
Summer Solstice: White Wine Event Tasting @ Winemaker Studios
Jun 20 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Summer Solstice: White Wine Event Tasting @ Winemaker Studios | San Francisco | CA | US

Summer Solstice: White White Tasting Event


Saturday, June 20th


12:00 pm – 5:00 pm


Our Summertime white wines will be in full bloom and we want to share them with you at our Summer Solstice event! We will have all of our 4 tasting rooms open for the weekend with a focus on our refreshing white wine flights.


Pre-purchase your Summer Solstice Passport now on Eventbrite and receive:



  • $5 off each of the 4 tasting rooms: Winery SF, VIE Winery, Sol Rouge, and Sottomarino** 

  • $17 in Bottle Bucks* to redeem towards any wine bottle purchases

  • Specialty curated White Wine flight options


If you’ve been anxiously awaiting warmer weather so you can switch to white wines – now is the time!


 


* Bottle Bucks are redeemable discount “dollars” for to-go bottle purchases at the wineries.  Not to be used for on-site beverage purchases.  Pick up your Wine Passport and Bottle Bucks at The Winery SF Tasting Room when you arrive.


**Sottomarino Winery is closed on Sundays. 


Tastings do not include souvenir wine glasses – available for purchase separately. 
FREE parking on-site, and Muni conveniently located one block away.  Uber and Lyft-friendly location (typically under 8-minute wait). Yes, we are dog-friendly!




 


 


DIRECTIONS: 


The Winery SF


30 Avenue G


San Francisco, CA 94130
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4obvBcvJzFU2


 1. Take the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island exit (LEFT exit from San Francisco and RIGHT from the East Bay).


2. When you come down the hill toward the island, continue straight- past the security gate.
3. Make a right on California Avenue (the first street)
4. Make a Right into the Third driveway (Avenue G) and The Winery SF is the dark grey building about 300ft in front of you on the left hand side. 

If you are using Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps, please search for “The Winery SF” versus the actual address, as the address sometimes gets interpreted incorrectly and sends you to a different address.


 


 

Jun
21
Sun
FREE Father’s Day Wine Passport Event @ Winemaker Studios
Jun 21 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
FREE Father's Day Wine Passport Event @ Winemaker Studios | San Francisco | CA | US

Free Father’s Day Wine Passport Event


Sunday, June 21


12:00 pm – 5:00 pm


Who said Dad only likes beer? Bring your wine-loving Father over to Treasure Island for a relaxing and fun afternoon of wine tasting!


RSVP for free below and receive:


– FREE Father’s Day Wine Passport (worth $32) for $5 off your wine tastings + $12 to spend on take-home bottles** at The Winery SF, Sol Rouge and VIE Winery


– PLUS we are giving a free tasting for Dad with the purchase of a wine tasting (lesser or equal value)


 


Offer only valid for those who RSVP before the event begins.


**The Winery SF – $2 off a bottle, Sol Rouge – $5 off a bottle, and VIE Winery – $5 off a bottle




 


*FREE parking and Muni conveniently located a block away! Uber and Lyft easily accessible (usually under 8 minute wait).


DIRECTIONS


The Winery SF
30 Avenue G
San Francisco, CA 94130
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4obvBcvJzFU2


1. Take the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island exit (LEFT exit from San Francisco and RIGHT from the East Bay).
2. When you come down the hill toward the island, continue straight- past the security gate.
3. Make a right on California Avenue (the first street)
4. Make a Right into the Third driveway (Avenue G) and The Winery SF is the dark grey building about 300ft in front of you on the left hand side. 

If you are using Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps, please search for “The Winery SF” versus the actual address, as the address sometimes gets interpreted incorrectly and sends you to a different address.



Sep
20
Sun
After Bay to Breakers Wine Tasting @ Winemaker Studios
Sep 20 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
After Bay to Breakers Wine Tasting @ Winemaker Studios | San Francisco | CA | US

After Bay to Breakers Wine Tasting


Sunday, September 20


12:00 – 5:00


We love Bay to Breakers, but we don’t love the crowds and traffic…


If you too want to get away from the madness for the afternoon or relax after the run, join us on the beautiful Treasure Island for a relaxing wine tasting!  We are conveniently located in the middle of the Bay Bridge so we are an easy pit-stop on your way into or out of the city.


RSVP for free below and receive:


– Bay to Breakers Tasting Passport for $5 off each tasting at our 3 neighboring wineries ($15 savings!)


– $12 in Bottlebucks to purchase your favorite bottle(s) to bring home


Good luck to the Bay to Breaker runners and we will have wine at our finish line if you want to join us!


 




 


 


*FREE parking and Muni conveniently located a block away! Uber and Lyft easily accessible (usually under 8 minute wait).


DIRECTIONS


The Winery SF
30 Avenue G
San Francisco, CA 94130
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4obvBcvJzFU2


1. Take the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island exit (LEFT exit from San Francisco and RIGHT from the East Bay).
2. When you come down the hill toward the island, continue straight- past the security gate.
3. Make a right on California Avenue (the first street)
4. Make a Right into the Third driveway (Avenue G) and The Winery SF is the dark grey building about 300ft in front of you on the left hand side. 

If you are using Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps, please search for “The Winery SF” versus the actual address, as the address sometimes gets interpreted incorrectly and sends you to a different address.



© WineTasting, Inc. Helping Wine Lovers Find Great Places to Taste and Experience Wine
© WineTasting, Inc.
Helping Wine Lovers Find Great Places to Taste and Experience Wine