Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on March 22, 2024
San Francisco's Tofino Wines to Close Amid Lease Dispute, Plans Retail RevivalSource: Google Street View

Mark Nevin and April Sack, the owners of Tofino Wines, are shutting down their natural wine shop and bar in San Francisco's Laurel Heights, seeking a fresh start after a tumultuous lease dispute. As noted by SF Eater, the well-regarded local institution will pour its last glass on March 30 after nearly a decade of serving aficionados of biodynamic and organic wines.

In an email to customers SF Eater quoted from, Nevin and Sack expressed how challenging it was to abandon the space they loved. "We are heartbroken to make this announcement but plan to take many of the beautiful things that we built and created forward with us." The couple found themselves cornered with the landlords pushing for a pricey new lease sans flexibility for future sales. After having deferred rent during the pandemic, the landlords sprung a demand for thousands of dollars in a clear attempt at eviction, given to the couple with a sudden 10-day notice.

Amidst concerns, Tofino Wines' future isn't completely bleak; intentions to transition to a retail-focused operation are in the works, building upon the online business at This shift is detailed on their GoFundMe page, where Tofino Wines' loyal clientele is urged to donate towards the establishment's metamorphosis. Funds raised will cover legal fees, moving costs, light renovations, and a new retail license. Given their current on-sale license isn't transferable to the planned retail space, there will be a gap – as the couple waits out the several months it takes to secure a new license – wherein wine sales are on pause.

In a heartrending rally for community support outlined on their GoFundMe, Nevin and Sack reminisce decade's achievements and promise to offer a unique selection of handpicked natural wines. With a minimum donation of $600, patrons are offered an in-person tasting at the new location or a shipped tasting experience for those afar. While the beloved wine bar chapter comes to a close, the couple, as shared on their GoFundMe, maintains, "We will be able to focus on what we do best... finding the very best, small natural wine producers making both funky wines from grapes you've never heard of, and more classic wines that are highly allocated and sought-after."

Embracing the disheartening change, Tofino Wines intends to carry "the invaluable relationships we have built with our customers," firmly rooted in the heart of their business for nearly a decade. With the support of their community, Nevin and Sack hope their passion project can survive and thrive in its next incarnation.