Dashe Cellars produces a Dry Riesling, a Grenache, a Petite Sirah, and a Cabernet Sauvignon, but Zinfandels are their real specialty. They have five: one from the young Florence Vineyard in Sonoma, one from Todd Brothers Vineyard in Geyserville, a Late-Harvest Zin picked from Lily Hill vineyard at Bella Winery, another from the Dry Creek Valley, and one made from 70-year-old Louvau Vineyard vines in recently re-discovered buried beneath weeds on a Sonoma County property. They have a second tasting room, Family Wineries of Dry Creek Valley, in Healdsburg.
Tucked behind West Berkeley’s slew of design warehouses on Fifth Street, Donkey and Goat is a retail store, tasting room, and full-fledged natural winery all in one. Housed in an old ink factory, the winery puts a strong emphasis on viticulture that’s all-natural, i.e., little to no added sulfur, sugars, yeasts, tannins, or acids. It’s a successful formula, as D&G was named one of five “Winemakers to Watch in 2011” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday from 2-6 p.m.
Garre produces 2500 cases a year on 20 acres in the Livermore Valley. The winery has specialized in Merlot for years, but only recently began bottling the five varietals known as the "Bordeaux blend" (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot). At present they also produce Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Pinot Grigio, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and a Cab-Sauv Port.
Bob and Gloria Retzlaff Taylor planted a fourteen-acre plot of land with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the Seventies. From those four varietals they make seven wines, including a rose, a port, and a Cabernet-Merlot blend (they also make a Zinfandel from Napa Valley grapes). All of Retzlaff's vineyards are pesticide-free and certified organic.
This long-running urban winery has gained an international reputation for its Zinfandel and Rhône varietal wines; a tasting room allows visitors to try a variety.
Irish Monkey Cellars started out as a hobby for the owner-operator-winemaker Bob Lynch; these days it produces about 2,000 cases annually. The grapes are grown in Napa and Amador and the wine is made in East Oakland. It produces four white varietals (Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier); eleven red (Sangiovese, Pinot Nior, SyrBec, MerBec, Merlot, Syrah, Primitivo, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Meritage, Touriga Nacional); and one sweet wine called Captain's Table made from Touriga-family grapes, sugar, and brandy.
When it was founded in 1883, Concannon Vineyards had 40 acres of vineyard in the Livermore Valley. Today, Concannon has approximately 200 acres more than half of which are planted with Petite Sirah grapes. Concannon bottles Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay grapes grown in the Livermore Valley. The winery also makes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel from varieties grown on the Central Coast. All together that makes 30,000 cases a year that Concannon produces.
The Big White House is the definitive family winery: winemaker John started the business with help from his mother Eva, who manages the tasting room. Son John Evan became a co-owner and launched his own label, John Evan Cellars, in 2004; daughter Laura Marion paints all of the label-art. Big White House and John Evan bottle wines made from Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Viognier, Roussanne, Chardonnay varieties grown in Lodi, and Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in the Livermore Valley. Visitors can sample several of their wines straight from the barrel, and check out a large collection of Art Noveau and Art Deco estate jewelry.
Blacksmith Cellars has been making wine in Alameda since 2001. The winery is one of the Alameda Point Vintners, a group of East Bay wineries that share the Rock Wall Wine Co. tasting room including Carica Wines, Ehrenberg Cellars, JRE Wines, R & B Cellars, Rock Wall Wines and Virgo Cellars. Blacksmith produces 1,200 cases a year, among them a Chenin Blanc, a Chardonnay, a Grenache, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Syrah. The grapes for all varietals are grown in the Alexander Valley, north of Healdsburg. Blacksmith was named the area's best winery by East Bay Express readers in 2007.
Boaventura de Caires Vineyard in Livermore is an eleven-year old winery, named after the winemaker's grandfather. The Livermore winery produces approximately 1,800 cases a year. Boaventura specializes in Cabernets: their current batch of wines includes three Cabernet Sauvignons from grapes grown on the property. They also produce a Petite Sirah and a Syrah; all are aged in barrels of French Oak.
Bodegas Aguirre is particularly known for their Petite Syrah, and Bordeaux varietals. The winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, and several red blends.
This "low wattage" urban winery utilizes old school equipment, basket pressing its large selection of wines from sustainably grown grapes.
When the owners of Cedar Mountain Winery bought the property in 1988 the vineyard was producing Chenin Blanc grapes. After the first year, they grafted the Chenin Blanc vineyard to a mixture of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, which became the base of their first release, 1990 Estate Chardonnay; in 2005 they grafted some of the Chardonnay to Sauvignon Blanc that makes the 2007 Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Grapes that aren't grown directly on the property are grown almost exclusively in the Livermore Valley. The winery produces 100,000 cases of wine annually; in addition to the Estate wines (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc) Cedar Mountain makes Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Duet (a Cabernet/ Merlot blend), and number of Port wines which they are particularly known for.
The Jack London Square wine cellar is the Oakland locale for the Napa-based Tudal Family Winery. The cellar features a tasting room, available for public and private events, and a wine club with weekly tastings from Cerruti's Vineyard and Winery-Icon series.
Charles R. Vineyards is located on an former mining trail. The winery produces Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Zinfandel from the Dry Creek and Livermore Valleys several medal winners among them.