Wine Taste in Oakland

Irish Monkey Cellars Oakland


From the issue Crush Coming On

Vintage Oakland

Industrial waterfront, tucked-away enclaves, zig-zagging freeways in the distance, ahhhh wine country! Make that Oakland’s urban answer to wine country, where an imaginative flock of winemakers have uncorked a grittier side of the grapevine in waterfront warehouses. The best way to explore this refreshing wine trail is by hopping on two wheels and pedaling south from Jack London Square. The first stop is just a mile away at the co-habitated warehouse of Dashe Cellars and JC Cellars. JC has a lineup of ravishing reds like the intriguing 2009 Smoke & Mirrors, an exotic Syrah-Zinfandel-Petite Sirah blend. Dashe scales things back with delicately balanced (and delicious) Dry Creek Valley Zins. Both places charge $5 for several tastings—refundable upon a bottle purchase. Back on the bike, continue south along the Embarcadero toward Irish Monkey Cellars (pictured). Its unassuming office park location is offset by a casual, indoor-outdoor tasting bar with a wine list currently exceeding 30 bottles. Sip quirkily described wines from Fumé Blanc (Sauv Blanc on steroids) to Primitivo (stepsister of Zinfandel). Wind down the tour with a picnic lunch at the new and nearby Union Point Park. Its nine acres of waterfont open space just south of the Embarcadero area shoreline is an ideal place to lay out the grub and toast East Bay ingenuity.

Dashe Cellars and JC Cellars are open Thursday–Sunday from 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Irish Monkey is open Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. The ride begins at Jack London Square; bikes are available for rent at Bay Area Bikes. Ride southeast along the Embarcadero and then turn left onto Oak St. Turn right on 4th St. for Dashe Cellars/JC Cellars. Retrace your route back to Embarcadero and continue south. After approximately 2 miles, turn left on Livingston St. and left again into the gated office park for Irish Monkey Cellars. Union Point Park is then just another quarter mile farther down Embarcadero. Return to Jack London Square via Embarcadero for a 6-mile round-trip ride. Dog-friendly!

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