Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Community Wine Making in Dogpatch/Potrero Hill, San Francisco

How you, too, can get in on the act, with Crushpad

picture photograph image ALT 2008 copyright of sam breach

A few weeks ago, I did something I have never done before: I bought three bottles of pinot noir. Nothing unusual about that, you might think. But the difference, this time, is that the wine I purchased hasn't been made yet. And - if all goes according to plan - I am going to be part of the wine making process. And you can be too!

I was very excited when I found out that Crushpad - a winery situated just a few blocks away from where I live, had started a community wine-making project right in my hood. I don't expect anyone remembers, but I first wrote about Crushpad almost three years ago. Although the idea of it appealed to me on some level, I couldn't really get into it at the time because it was so cost prohibitive: To make your own wine with Crushpad privately costs a whopping $5,700 to $10,900 per barrel.

So when I heard that Crushpad were opening up the opportunity to be part of the wine-making process to our whole neighbourhood, both the people who live here and work here, I jumped at the chance to be involved by buying (the maximum allowance) three bottles of the Potrero Hill Pinot at the futures price of just $19 a bottle. So, what does this give me and what does it give you, if you decide to buy a bottle too?

For just $19 you can be a part of all of this:

July 10 9, 2008 Potrero Hill Pinot Pizza Party
August 28, 2008 Potrero Kick Off Party
October 5-18, 2008 Potrero Hill Crush Camps (dates subject to change)
February 14, 2009 Valentines Day Barrel Tasting Party
August 2009 Potrero Pinot Release Party
# Receive online updates about the progress of your wine as is makes its way from vineyard to bottle.
# Participate in a special Potrero Hill Crush Camp where you'll get to sort grapes, do punchdowns and learn about winemaking. Plus enjoy all the grapes you can eat!
# Vote on a local Potrero Hill artist to design the label for Potrero Pinot.
# Know that any profits from this endeavour will go to a neighborhood charity.

AND, of course, you'll end up with the bottle of wine you were a part of making.

For an investment of just $19, it doesn't sound like I've got anything to lose! I'd love as many of my Potrero/Dogpatch neighbours as possible to join in the fun because then I might get to meet you, make wine and clink glasses with you. And if you don't live or work in this particular area, don't fret, your turn will come: Crushpad plans to start similar community wine making projects all over the city of San Francisco soon. Click here to see the map, select your hood and sign up for information about when Crushpad will be offering their service to you and your neighbours.

QUESTION OF THE DAY graphic copyright sam breach
?Have you ever made wine before? How did it go?

2006 | Hungrig in San Francisco (now in English!)
2005 | The first time I met The Restaurant Whore

© 2008 Sam Breach
Community Wine Making in Dogpatch/Potrero Hill, San Francisco


  • At 2/7/08 02:09, Anonymous Fatemeh said…

    A friend's dad is a highly successful and prolific amateur winemaker. I've had the luck to both harvest and crush/destem with them for a few years.

    This year, we'll be drinking the first vintage I worked on. Am. So. Excited.

  • At 2/7/08 10:02, Anonymous Vanessa said…

    I remember crushing grapes with my great-grandfather- he kept a "garden" and he'd have grapes there. He also bought some additional grapes from some farmer, and I remember jumping in the big wine barrel with my naked feet to crush the grapes. I was probably 4 or 5. I remember the ticklish feeling of must on my legs, how almost unbearable it would become very quickly!
    My great-grandfather passed away at 91, and he made wine well into his old age- so much so that I still clearly remember the wine he made for our everyday table. It wasn't great- with the typical sharp taste (I'm being kind here!) of home made wine.
    Every time I have tasted home made wine in my life, I always go back to the one he used to make, and although it didn't taste too good, it's still in the fondest memories bin- will my kids ever get to make wine with their grandparents?

  • At 2/7/08 10:59, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    In a previous life, when I was a previous wife, I made about a case of pinot noir from grapes we purchased at a vineyard in Napa Valley. It actually worked according to plan, although the flavor was a teeny bit sulphur-y. I would know how to correct for that now, but alas, the vintners divorced.
    We named our "winery" Crimson Breath.

  • At 2/7/08 12:05, Blogger Cali said…

    I never have, but I have considered it because I have a very old muscat vine in my back yard.

  • At 2/7/08 16:09, Blogger Aaron Kagan said…

    I've made a simple, wild fermentation honey wine before. And I couldn't believe how easy it was. Here's the idea: mix honey and water, wait for wild yeast to colonize it (about 4 days). Let it sit for a month. Drink your wine.

  • At 6/7/08 15:28, Anonymous Jo said…

    We made meade for our wedding. 15 gallons, and 5 gallons with elderberry essence which caused it to be melomel rather than meade. These wines are 9 years old this year and just beginning to show full maturity. A few years later, Mike actually went into beekeeping and we now have some meade aging with his own honey. In 2006 we moved from the Bay Area to North Carolina where we have 2 acres. We have a few grapes planted with a desire to plant more. Some of those will be used to make wine. We celebrate communion at home with our 2 sons and the first crush will be used for communion wine.

    It's a great process to develop a passion for particularly if you develop an understanding of the history. Thanks for asking!!=o)

  • At 7/7/08 11:07, Blogger Mr. Nissan said…

    No I have not


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