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San Francisco Is The New Winery Epicenter

16 urban wineries have joined to form the San Francisco Wine Association (SFWA). The President of the SFWA, John Tarbini, said, “California’s newest wine country is San Francisco.” The urban vintners are more focused on investing in the best grapes, modern equipment and outstanding winemaking than spending lavish sums on estate guest centers and tasting rooms. Grapes are sourced from northern California wine regions and although quantities produced are small, quality can be quite high.

SFWA charter members include Aver Family vineyards, Canine Wines, Connor Brennan Cellars, Damian Rae Winery, Due Cani Cellars, Flying Wine Cellars, Guy Riedel Wines, Jazz Cellars, Joelle Wine Company, Mark Moretti Winery, Milliarium Cellars, Pug Wine, Ricardus Corculum, Seawind Wines, Think Tank Wine Company and Townley Wines. A public launch reception will be held on December 11th in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.sfwineassociation.com.

Crushpad is a large custom winemaking facility in San Francisco that has launched over 100 commercial brands. Dain Wines is probably the most recognized Pinot Noir brand but others include Cellar Rat, Conner Brennan Cellars, Joelle and Nicholls. Recently I received communication from two new Cushpad based Pinot Noir producers. Calicaro’s inaugural vintage is 2008 and includes 50 cases of Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and 25 cases of Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Alder Springs Vineyard in Mendocino and La Encantada Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills are scheduled for future vintages. (www.calicaro.com). A small winemaking group in Austin, Texas is making wine at Crushpad in San Francisco under the rockroom label. Before 2005, they had brought fruit to Texas to make wine, but it made more sense to do the winemaking closer to the sources of grapes. The latest release is a 2007 rockroom Bohemian Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (www.rockroom.com).

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