We just returned from eight days in San Francisco—our first visit back since moving on July 31, 2011—and while some aspects haven’t changed a bit (the overwhelming herbal stench in the Haight, for example), I constantly marvel at how many new things can crop up in an already bustling town once you leave it alone for a couple of years.
One movement that has evolved in our absence is the addition of wineries in San Francisco. That’s right: Now you don’t even have to make that traffic-jammed drive up Highway 29 to see production and taste grapes fresh from the vines; you can do that right in the heart of the city.
Which is why we loved Bluxome Street Winery so much. Open for two years now, it’s tucked away on a quiet side street in the middle of SoMa, near AT&T Ball Park and walkable from Union Square. For the first time ever, I actually was present in the midst of the harvest, so we arrived for some early afternoon drinking and got to watch the sorting process in motion while we sipped.
Meghan Shaw, who is the tasting room manager at Bluxome, told us that back in San Francisco’s heyday, urban wineries were the thing, but they dissipated after the 1906 earthquake and then the 18th Amendment/Prohibition—a double whammy for the local wine scene. And while many wine bars have popped up all over the city in recent years, Bluxome is truly unique in that it’s an actual winery smack in the middle of San Francisco, aiming to recreate the golden days of wine in the Bay Area.
Don’t get me wrong: I love Wine Country. It’s beautiful. It’s warm. It’s an experience everyone should have at some point. It’s also not the only option. Only in San Francisco for an afternoon? Don’t waste it in a car; get your wine on in the city. In San Francisco for multiple days? Great. Spend your day in Napa or Sonoma, but also visit Bluxome and see how the two compare.
And if you love a good farmer’s market, then don’t miss the Meet Market on the last Saturday of every month. Bluxome is also a popular venue for private events like wedding receptions, and had it been around when I was getting married, I would have held our rehearsal dinner here instead of Foreign Cinema, no contest.
While I always go back and forth on whether I prefer white or red—it really varies on the season and my mood; I’m partial to both—my favorite of all of Bluxome’s varietals was the 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
It didn’t hurt that we gobbled down this amazing charcuterie and cheese plate alongside it! The Wall Street Journal called winemaker Webster Marquez a “rock star of Pinot Noir,” so really how can you go wrong drinking anything the guy makes?
Many more San Francisco travel tips to come in the following weeks (since clearly I didn’t do a good enough job covering all facets of the city while living there, if evidenced by the dozens of emails I still get a month asking for recs on where to eat, drink, go, etc.). Is there something specifically you’d like to learn about the City by the Bay to help plan your next trip?
Bluxome Street Winery
53 Bluxome Street, San Francisco (between 4th and 5th Avenue)
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm to 7pm (though sometimes Bluxome closes for private events, so call ahead to make sure they’re open)