I was first initiated into the innovative world of Wine 2.0 when I attended their NRO event at Varnish last November. What I found was an extremely thriving movement of loosely knit and mainly younger wine aficionados, producers and entrepreneurs that were expanding upon the path set down by the original Wine Brats…they also tend to throw a party with a little more enthusiasm than your average wine event!
With those thoughts in mind, I geared up for some serious wine-drinking, networking and, well, partying last Thursday night. I was keenly aware of how the night would unfold and so I decided to BART and cab it to the event, held at the 3rd street warehouse of Crushpad in San Francisco. Crushpad is a custom crush facility, meaning that they provide equipment, bonded space, reagents and even fruit for boutique wineries and amateur winemakers, alike. They are one of the most well-known companies where winemakers can go to make their own wines with as much or as little hands-on participation as they might choose. I’ve been hearing about them for years and have been rather intrigued by their facilities, so I was quite happy to check out the space when I first arrived, just before the event opened.
As I walked up, Cornelius of RadCru and Wine 2.0 had just descended from the Roshambus, the tour bus wine room of Naomi Brilliant and her cadre of hip wine malcontents from Roshambo Winery. After a brief hello, he directed me inside and I began the night.
My first tastes were actually (dare I say it) due to the label. I was suckered in by the great labels of Pug Wine. I have a pug at home and he’s a bit dear to my heart, so I figured that I just had to stop by and try the wines. She’s sticking with single vineyard wines and I tasted both the Amber Ridge Pinot and Saralee’s Vineyard Rhone blend. I dug the Saralee’s quite a bit actually, and it’s not just because I have a fur baby at home!
After tasting some canine wine, I headed off to do a brief survey of the wines and faces that were going to be available that night. One face I missed, unfortunately, was Jessica Yadegaran of the great blog, Corkheads. I’ve been following her blog for quite awhile now, as well as her wine articles in the Contra Costa Times. Breezing through the warehouse, I did spy some wineries that I wanted to hit later. First up however, was the Bottlenotes table and a chat with founder Alyssa over some great Rioja Viura. As I turned around, I spied Jason from Modus Operandi, winemaker for new favorite winery on the cusp of cultdom. I started the night purely on the hunt for whites and dry rosÃ©s, and Jason now has a KILLER dry rosÃ© going, the 2007 Vicarious RosÃ©. While disappointed (but not surprised) that he wasn’t pouring the Vicarious red blend that night, I vowed to return later to taste his 2004 Cab. As another nice touch, Jason was also pouring his 2007 Sauvignon Blanc that has yet to be bottled.
As I traveled through the tasting rooms and tables the rest of the night, some highlights stood out from the crowd. The young kids representing Hahn Estates, one of the best value wine producers out there (Cycles Gladiator), had some great news about some higher end labels that they would be debuting later in the year. Midsummer Cellars, headed by Rollie Heitz, was pouring a tremendous Napa Cab, their 2005 CaÃ±on Creek, which was one of my favorite wines for the night. Two other wines that hit the spot for me were the two Syrah’s that were being poured by Lionheart’s Leon Glover. One was from Santa Barbara County appellation and the other from the cooler Eaglepoint Ranch Vineyard in Mendocino. I actually preferred the SBC Syrah the best but I really enjoyed both, which I found interesting as I usually prefer cool-climate Syrah better. In the grand scheme of things however, both really come from cooler wine-growing regions.
As the night wore on, anyone who goes to these trade (and consumer) events will tell you, the more interesting conversations begin to take place. A couple interesting ones were with the engaging couple Marshall and Brittany, behind WineQ.com, the brilliant NetFlix of wine clubs. They actually found me, as they had noted my name on a few signup lists for wine information earlier in the night. I also was intrigued by another website, VinVillage, that founder Rob Barnett created, partly as an outlet for his radio show about wine, as I surreptitiously took two more free Bottlenotes gift cards for some friends back home.
The final part of the evening was not nearly as boring as I might of hoped. My travels back to the East Bay from the Dog Patch neighborhood where Crushpad is housed took a full 2 hours! As I walked away from the event I realized that I should have called a taxi…3rd and 23rd is not exactly a hotbed of SF activity. I finally found a town car that I could flag down and figured that I’d soon be at BART, 2 miles away. Well…I quickly found out that though the gentleman driving the car had lived in the City for over 16 years…he apparently must never actually drive there! I finally got him under control and headed in the right direction and arrived at 24th and Mission 30 minutes later. Whew. Let that be a lesson to you City-drinking wine lovers…always call a taxi in the City!
Please find reviews of all of the wines I tasted at WineTwo below. If you’d like to list all of these wines in your own WineLog, I’ve tagged them all with “WineTwo2008Spring“. Wines that I’ve tasted and reviewed from all of the Wine 2.0 events that I have attended are tagged with “Wine2.0“. Enjoy!