California is home to some of the world's best wineries, but most of the glory goes to Napa and Sonoma. Wine Country definitely deserves to be a destination for wine aficionados, but local tipplers don't have to make the trip.
Founded in 2010, the Oakland Urban Wine Trail is a association of ten Oakland wineries with tasting rooms near Downtown and Jack London Square.
The program began when Errin Leach, direct sales manager for Dashe Cellars, Melinda Doty, co-owner of Stage Left Cellars, and Steve Shaffer from Urban Legend Cellars banded together to promote the "original urban wine country," said Shaffer.
The wineries include:
- Brooklyn West Winery at 201 3rd St.
- Campovida at 95 Linden St.
- Cerruti Cellars at 100 Webster St.
- Dashe Cellars at 55 Fourth St.
- Jeff Cohn Cellars at 160 Franklin St.
- Periscope Cellars at 518 9th St.
- Rosenblum Cellars at 10 Clay St.
- Stage Left Cellars at 2102 Dennison St.
- Two Mile Wines at 477 25th St.
- Urban Legend Cellars at 621 4th St.
With Rosenblum Cellars in Oakland since 1979, these local businesses wanted to showcase the city's wine scene. Shaffer said that around this time, the East Bay Vintners Alliance began getting publicity for a few wineries throughout the area.
Even with additional promotion, few out of town customers were finding their way to more than one or two wineries. In response, several companies started producing postcards with maps directing customers to their tasting rooms.
After this proved ineffective, Visit Oakland stepped in to help rebrand this initiative in 2015.
Natalie Alvanez, Visit Oakland's Marketing VP, said the wineries came to them seeking help creating a more robust marketing plan. What began as a brochure turned into a long-term project: Visit Oakland also facilitated logo development and branding guidelines.
Leach and Shaffer said the revamp has been tremendously rewarding for Oakland wine businesses; traffic has increased by 10 to 15 percent in the last 12 months.
Shaffer also only had positive things to say about this trail, as traffic at Urban Legend Cellars increased since the trail's inception with love not only from San Franciscans and Oaklandites, but also from travelers, some of whom come straight from the airport.
Shaffer said the "who knew?" comments have diminished, and it's been rewarding hearing feedback from customers asking, "why have I been spending three hours to get to Napa when I can wine taste right here?"
Never miss a story.
Subscribe today to get Hoodline delivered straight to your inbox.