First ‘Urban Winery’ Headed for Oakland’s Waterfront

Bowl of wine bottle corksTimes change. Tastes change. And so it is with Rosenblum Cellars, a California winery founded in 1978 that for many years hosted one of my favorite wine events.

It was an open house with multiple tasting stations — multiple because Rosenblum made so many bottlings of Zinfandel. Over the years, founder Kent Rosenblum developed relationships with countless grape growers around the state, enabling him to craft a plethora of appellation-specific and vineyard-designated bottlings.

Where was this massive open house held? In the heart of North Coast wine country? No. In an upscale tasting room? No.

It took place at the home of Rosenblum Cellars: an old airplane hangar at the old Naval Air Station on the island of Alameda in San Francisco Bay.

There wasn’t anything romantic or even remotely “atmospheric” about it — unless, perhaps, you were a pilot. No dramatically lit cave carved out of a mountain. No comfy porch chairs from which to soak in a dramatic vineyard view. No adjacent bocce courts or polo grounds.

Just a bunch of tapped barrels and uncorked bottles waiting to be sampled by adoring Zinfandel fans and no small number of fanatics.

But now, Rosenblum Cellars is part of a large wine-focused company — Diageo Chateau and Estate Wines — and the “original urban winery” is moving three miles away to the Oakland waterfront and Jack London Square.

There, close to public transportation — including the Bay Area Transit System (BART) and the local ferry terminal — Rosenblum will be able to offer visitors an array of food, wine and entertainment options.

No projected opening date was announced for the new location, although the month of July has been targeted. Jack London Square presently is undergoing several changes in hopes of increasing attendance numbers.

To learn more about Rosenblum Cellars, click here. And if you happen to have a bottle of Rosenblum Zinfandel around the house, open it up and raise a glass to what was and what will be.

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Posted in Editor's Journal
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