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Best Oh-So-Shocking Wine Bar Newsletter 

Alameda Wine Co.

There are two reasons to frequent Alameda Wine Company: It's an amazing new place, with knowledgeable, personable staff, an artsy and intriguing atmosphere (the bar top, a tribute to Jackson Pollock; the colorful, lighted back bar, an homage to Piet Mondrian), great food (cheeses, fresh fruit and dates, nuts, olives, cured meats), and one of the best wine lineups in the East Bay, featuring a rotating collection of stellar Old and New World, local and imported wines to sample and buy. The second reason to visit is owner Karen Ulrich, a newcomer to Alameda, and one of the most colorful residents to date. You'll recognize her as the one with her head shaved in protest over a city business regulation. (Earlier in her protest, she painted her head and face blue, too.) In staid Alameda, she's become notorious for her newsletters. Sure, they're full of knowledgeable musings on new wines and varietal histories, but the really juicy parts come from her personal essays about personal and professional crises, trysts, sexual explorations, and a sweet affair turned to vinegar. "I know many female customers live vicariously through those essays," says Ulrich. "And some men were happy to understand at least one woman's sexuality a little better." At first blush, one might think it would ruin her in a small city like Alameda; instead, it has endeared her to many. To get a copy, talk to Karen directly. It's free, but by request only to protect the parties involved.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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