Oakland wineries make up a must-visit urban wine trail
When most people think of California wine country, the lush, rolling vineyards of Sonoma and Napa come to mind. Increasingly, however, there’s some nearby competition from Oakland wineries. The East Bay city is giving traditional Northern California wineries a run for their money.
Located just an hour from Napa and Sonoma, Oakland sits on the east side of the San Francisco Bay. Its population of just under half a million people has built a reputation for its collective love of art and culture. And they’re loyalty to the city’s bustling restaurant and bar scene.
Most of Oakland’s urban wineries are nestled in Jack London Square. The eclectic neighborhood is dotted with lofts and industrial-inspired offices. Centrally located to San Francisco Bay, Chinatown, and downtown Oakland, it’s a prime gathering spot for wine enthusiasts. They can enjoy tastings, live music, and great food without leaving the city.
Here are just a few of the wineries that are making their mark on Oakland’s urban wine scene.
The award-winning team at this chic tasting lounge is committed to helping people deepen their knowledge about wine and the winemaking process.
The winery crafts small-lot wines from vineyards all over California. Their Rioja-style wines are widely acclaimed as some of the best in American winemaking. The tasting room is comfortable and casual, welcoming wine lovers of all tastes.
Rock Wall Wine Company
Established in 2008, the Rock Wall Wine Company is known for its laid-back tasting room vibe and its expert team of educators that make each visit unique. The winery is located in Alameda, in a former aircraft hangar.
It boasts state-of-the-art equipment and barrel rooms, while the Oakland-based tasting lounge offers spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline in a warm, welcoming setting.
Conveniently located outside of the Oakland Ferry Terminal, Rosenblum Cellars has been a haven for zinfandel lovers since 1978.
There’s a good reason proprietor Kent Rosenblum is known as the “King of Zin.” Make that 50 good reasons. Wine Spectator has rated more than 50 of Rosenblum’s zins at 90 points or higher. That reputation draws wine aficionados from all over the world to his urban tasting room.
Urban Legend Cellars
Urban Legend makes about two dozen wines at its Alameda-based winery. Just across the estuary, the winemaker’s cozy tasting room is a favorite inside Oakland’s Jack London Square.
The owners, Marilee and Steve Shaffer, have amassed an impressive number of loyal regulars. They flock to Urban Legend for its rotation of diverse wine tastings and welcoming atmosphere.
Côte West is a family-owned winery based in the heart of Oakland. The co-founders source grapes from California vineyards that require minimal intervention. That winemaking process is meant to preserve an “old world” taste to their varietals.
The winery and the tasting room are in the heart of downtown Oakland, between King and Cotton Streets.
Two Mile Wines
Two Mile Wines makes wine from grapes grown in Sonoma, Napa, and the Central Coast. Because they don’t own any vineyards, the owners pride themselves on scouting out vineyards with “exceptional fruit.”
Two Mile’s urban-chic tasting room is just two doors down from its winery, a converted glass warehouse.
Campovida Taste of Place
Owners of the Campovida winery opened their tasting room, Taste of Place, in the heart of Oakland as “an expression of their vineyard and farm in Hopland.”
It’s a cozy, comforting gathering place where Oakland residents can connect over one of the winemaker’s Mendocino County-sourced wines.