Oakland is known for many things — and I would argue that wine is among them. Jack London Square alone boasts four urban wineries and tasting rooms within a mile and a half stretch. For me, that means one thing: Walking Tour!
1. Dashe Cellars (55 4th St., $10, Thurs–Sun)
Start your walk on the eastern edge of Jack London Square. This urban winery specializes in single-vineyard Zinfandels, though they dabble in other varietals as well. Michael and Anne Dashe have over 40 years of experience between them, and their Ancient Vines wines are always a favorite.
Dashe Cellars | Photo Credit: Dashe Cellars Facebook Page
2. Rosenblum Cellars (10 Clay St., $15, Mon–Sun)
Just a few blocks over toward the waterfront, Rosenblum Cellars’ year-old tasting room resides. It moved from Alameda, where Rosenblum spent most of its 37 years.
With more than 50 Zinfandels that have earned at least 90 points from Wine Spectator, I think they may have learned how to handle the grape! Enjoy the best views of the tour here, and linger over those award-winning Zins on the tasting list.
3. Jeff Cohn Cellars (160 Franklin St., $15, Thurs–Sun)
Luckily, the longest distance of the tour (half a mile) occurs at only the second stop. Head northwest up 2nd St. to find the newest kid on the block, Jeff Cohn Cellars.
That moniker applies only to the tasting room, which opened in February; Cohn spent 10 years making wine with Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars (stop #3), before striking out on his own in 2006.
Cohn’s expertise is in Rhône and Zinfandel grapes. His Smoke & Mirrors line blends those styles together to make a final product that’s satisfying for wine aficionados and approachable for newbies.
The Winemaker himself, Jeff Cohn
4. Urban Legend (621 4th St., $10, Fri–Sun)
For your final destination, take a left onto 4th St. after heading up Clay St. toward downtown.
If I could sum up Urban Legend’s wines in one word, that word would be playful. Urban Legend encapsulates the Oakland spirit and distills it into their bottles. Or into their growlers, as the case may be, as they currently offer draft wines named after Oakland neighborhoods—Temescal was the selection on my last visit.
Enjoy the stories behind the labels as you try their meal in a glass, the Cooper Ranch 2012 Barbera. It recalled blue cheese, coconut curry, and cherry bread pudding for me.