Here comes another new winery association!
The San Francisco Business Times is reporting on a new organization, the San Francisco Wine Association, that, if my hunch is correct, is bound to be a success. Anything that combines the words “San Francisco” and “wine” together with the concept of an “association” will be a solid hit with the public.
The SFWA is comprised of 16 wineries, all of whom produce their wine at Crushpad, a custom-crush facility located in an old building at the foot of the city’s Potrero Hill district. I first reported on Crushpad a few years ago. It was one of the country’s first places where just ordinary folks — you and me — can drop a chunk of change and make wine (or have Crushpad’s staff make wine for us), and then label the bottles with our own private brands. They call it “the urban winemaking movement,” and it’s springing up everywhere — or was, before the Recession slowed things down.
I’ve only tasted a few of the wines from the SFWA’s wineries, with mixed results. Crushpad sources grapes from top vineyards (Georges III, Stagecoach, La Encantada) and their winemaking team has lots of experience under their belts, so there’s no reason the overall quality level can’t be quite high.
It’s not clear, from their public statements, what exactly the SFWA is going to do. Its head, John Tarabini, who co-owns (with his wife) one of the 16 wineries, Damian Rae, was quoted in the Business Times as saying, “California’s newest wine country is San Francisco,” which sounds like they have some kind of tourism/destination scheme in mind that’s targeted to consumers. On their web site, I see that they’re holding their first “Launch Party” this Dec. 11 at Crushpad. It will cost only $10, and I can envision a huge crowd, especially if they put out some nice hors d’oeuvres. They also have a Wine Club you can join and buy sampler packs. SFWA, in other words, is taking the classic BTC (business-to-consumer) route of making money. Before you know it, they’ll be giving out “Best of the Year” awards.