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The Punchdown

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Oakland, CA

Food & Hospitality

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Work Culture at The Punchdown

Our Story

The Punchdown is a natural wine bar. While there is no legal regulation or certification for "natural wine," our criteria are clear. We have a set of guidelines that we feel to be the most important in our selection of wines:


We like the vines of our wines to be grown in a sustainable, organic, or biodynamic manner by real farmers. No chemicals in the vineyard. We also like to hear that cover crops are present creating a healthy and balanced ecosystem with good pests to combat the bad pests.

We look for low yields and hand harvested and sorted fruit.

Natural yeast! We insist on wines that are made with yeast that is naturally occurring on the grapes and in the cellar.

Minimal intervention in the wine-making process. None of the usual chemical additions to change the flavor, aroma, structure, color, texture, etc. Adding sulfur dioxide only when necessary in small amounts, and preferably only at bottling – or even better – never!


At the end of the day, we like our producers to make wines that have an interesting story and distinctive taste - reflecting a sense of place called “terroir”. Making wine naturally may entail a "hands-off" approach, but it is certainly not the easy way to do it. Often, making good wines naturally requires a fair amount of risk and experimentation. So our selection tends to be wines made in small amounts by real people - not corporations - that do it for love, rather than profit. Some of them are breaking the rules, regulations, and laws of their respective regions by choosing to make wine in this natural way. We regard them as heroes in an enormous and competitive industry that increasingly manufactures wine as though it is a soft drink.


Thank you for your interest in real wine. It is our dream to prove the true alchemy and art of the vine! Cheers, ~D.C. & Lisa

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