Wine 2.0 Spring Fling @ Crushpad

Wine 2.0 at CrushpadI 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.

Roshambo Winery Mobile Tasting RoomAs 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.

Pug Wine Amber Ridge Pinot Noir 2006My 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 rosés, and Jason now has a KILLER dry rosé going, the 2007 Vicarious Rosé. 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 Cañon 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!

Mollydooker McLaren Vale Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 2006

Modus Operandi Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Modus Operandi Napa Valley Rosé 2006

Modus Operandi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Midsummer Cellars Napa Valley Cañon Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Pug Wine Russian River Valley Saralee’s Vineyard Pug Blanc 2006

Pug Wine Russian River Valley Amber Ridge Vineyard Pug Pinot 2005

Roshambo Sonoma County Imago Chardonnay 2005

Roshambo Winery Dry Creek Valley Frank Johnson Vineyard Syrah 2005

Lionheart Wines Santa Barbara County Syrah 2006

Lionheart Wines Eaglepoint Ranch Vineyard Mendocino Syrah 2005

Twisted Oak Alta Mesa Silvaspoons Vineyard Verdelho 2006

Twisted Oak Sierra Foothills %@#$! 2006

Luis Alegre Rioja Viura 2006

Segue Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2006

Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo

View posts by Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, former West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for WineLog.net and former Le Wine Buff for Bordeaux.com (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include wine...like virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. Check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Like #Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at WineLog.net". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.

10 Comments

  1. Brittany Dean
    May 01, 2008

    Hey Ward,
    It was great chatting with you! Marshall and I actually had a similar experience afterwards – we walked out and realized there was no way we were going to quickly find a cab. We were lucky enough that Derek, a friend of Cornelius’s and the photographer for the evening, was outside and gave us the cab that he had previously called. Very fortuitous timing 🙂 Hopefully we’ll see you again at some future events!

  2. Ward
    May 01, 2008

    Hi Brittany!

    Glad you guys got home safely and what sounds like a lot earlier than I did! 😉

    Also, as an aside to all of the readers, Modus Operandi was also just featured in the latest v-blog at Web Tasting Room. Jason gives a great interview and talks about the start of MO and his life as a winemaker.

  3. Kim
    May 02, 2008

    I really wish that Jason and I could have been there, but we’re very thankful that our West Coast WineLog ambassador was able to attend.

    I like your * attempt * at trying to focus your wine tasting to whites and dry roses. That’s actually a pretty cool method for approaching a wine event where 1: You know you can’t try it all. 2: You don’t want to leave disappointed thinking you missed something great. 3: You don’t want to stick to your tried-and-true favorites and get into something new. and 4: You don’t want to try too much and get completely sloppy!

    It looks like you ran into some really trouble on the way home — good thing you finally got yourself out of the city and home to Beth.

  4. Ward
    May 05, 2008

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for comments and well-wishes on getting home, heh! I like that new title, as well 😉
    Yes, as a scientist, I’ve thought a lot about how to be a little more methodical at these larger events and trying to get a better sort of horizontal tasting strategy to implement. This time I did try to get scope everyone out first, then go through and get my whites and roses done, then move on to the light and then heavier reds. And yes…once you do that, you do have to pay close attention to wine and water intake and pour out/spit the ones from which you’ve already gotten a good impression!
    With the next event in NYC, I imagine you’ll be able to make that one!

  5. […] Every time I go to a wine event that includes multiple wineries, I will usually find one winery that is new to me and stands out from the rest. I stumbled across many great wineries at the Wine 2.0 Spring Fling at Crushpad last April. But two wines from a particular new winery have stuck with me over the last two months. Leon C. Glover III’s Lionheart Wines had two very good Syrahs that night…and the scary thing is that they were from his very first and second vintages! […]

  6. […] I first discovered Leon’s Lionheart Wines when tasting two of his Syrahs at Wine 2.0 this past Spring. Later, Leon graciously extended an offer to barrel taste his upcoming releases last month, which I excitedly accepted. All of the wines have tremendous character and wonderful mouthfeel. I’m very excited to now taste these wines after having been bottled! […]

  7. […] All of the wines were showing incredibly well, with the 2006 Santa Barbara Syrah easily taking the award for the wine of the night. I didn’t talk to a single person in the crowd that night that didn’t flat-out love that wine. That particular wine in fact, was the one that first introduced me to Lionheart at the Wine 2.0 Spring Fling last April, so it came as no surprise to me that it was received so well. That the SB Syrah is actually one of the first wines that Leon ever made, is an intimidating side note to the evening! The 2006 Roaring Red was a close second as a favorite for me that night with it’s plush nose of blueberry cobbler from the Syrah and cherry and velvety mouthfeel from the Cab Sauv. Jenny’s appetizer selections were fantastic and very tasty alongside the wines. […]

  8. […] WineLog.net is a member and sponser of Wine 2.0, the premiere wine industry group for utilizing new tech to bring wineries and wine-o’s closer and as such, we get invites to the various events that the Wine 2.0 folks host and promote. Implementing that philosophy, WineTwo is an interesting “trade” group in that they include your savvy wine consumer as a member as well as traditional peeps of the wine biz.  I received a rather exciting email from Cornelius Geary of WineTwo and RadCru (very big thank you!) in the middle of June that detailed an invite to a nifty limited event at the above-mentioned winery.  We were instructed to quickly reply in order to be on the list to taste a number of Chateau St. Jean’s (that’s “gene”) reserve and limited run wines.  I dashed off my reply and quietly formulated a plan on how to attend and make an entire weekend around the event (while chuckling evily) and the Pops & Son 4th Wine Trip was born! […]

  9. […] I’ve gotten quite a few shipments from my WineQ (Twitter) already and most of those reviews are listed below (I haven’t had a chance to drink my latest ones. Yay more wine!).  One of my favorite wines that I’ve Q’d up is the ‘06 Twisted Oak Alta Mesa Silvaspoons Vineyard Verdelho. It’s a wonderful expression of that Portuguese varietal and rather rare domestically, much less available from a single vineyard.  I first tasted it from El Jefe himself, at the WineTwo Spring Fling.  An outstanding substitute (or even replacement) for Sauvignon Blanc, with some outstanding zingy citrus and tropical fruit, including canteloupe. Also, look for further integration between WineLog.net and WineQ.com in the future; we’re continuing to expand collaboration with our respective wine-related social networking fun factors! […]

  10. […] was the very first event I covered for WineLog.  I’ve been to a number of others, including the last one that Smoke (Twitter), Cornelius and others held at Crushpad (Twitter), the site of this […]

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