Not all wineries are located in fields of rolling vineyards, as these six urban spots prove. Your next favorite tasting experience might be waiting just around the corner from your office.
With its 5,800-square-foot Cask Room, small conference room, and new midsized meeting/event space opening in March 2018, the family-owned Domenico Winery can accommodate 400 seated and 800 standing. Groups from Amazon, Facebook and Google have all enjoyed the winery’s range of event spaces and team-building options, which include blind tasting challenges, wine bottling, wine and cheese pairings, and private cooking parties and competitions. “The most popular teambuilding activity is the Meritage blending seminar,” says Director of Events Marina Patton. “Groups basically come up with their own winery by creating unique blends and developing a marketing strategy and label. Then everyone gets to take home bottles with custom labels of the winning blend.” Domenico Winery specializes in Cal-Italia varietals as a reflection of the family’s Italian heritage and winemaking tradition.
SOLTERRA WINERY & KITCHEN
San Diego County’s only winery and restaurant isn’t located in the country, but rather two blocks from the beach right along the Pacific Coast Highway. Solterra Winery & Kitchen can accommodate groups of up to 160 in four distinct event spaces: the main restaurant and dining room, vineyard and back patio with a bocce ball court, barrel room, and front patio with a fire pit. “Our most popular space is the barrel room,” says Chris Van Alyea, owner and winemaker. “During the harvest season, you can smell wine fermenting.” Van Alyea sources grapes from up to 600 miles away in order to create at least 14 varietals at any given time. ‘That benefits the restaurant because we have different types of wines to pair with different seasonal foods.”
CARR VINEYARDS & WINERY
The boutique Carr Winery transports you into the rustic countryside with its cozy booths, high curved ceilings, game tables, barrel-top bar, and the distinct aroma of aging wine barrels. Groups of up to 200 can host events in the winery’s barrel room or its newly opened patio with large gas fire pit. “Our owner/winemaker/ grower Ryan [Carr] can attend dinners and talk through each wine, pair it with food, and explain the winemaking process and history,” says Event Manager Jennifer Nielsen. Carr specializes in limited production wines like Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, all sourced from local Santa Barbara County Vineyards. The winery is located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail, which highlights nearly 30 wineries in downtown Santa Barbara. Carr’s second location in Santa Ynez can also accommodate groups of up to 120.
BLUXOME STREET WINERY
The birthplace of Northern California winemaking wasn’t Napa or Sonoma, but rather in the SOMA district of San Francisco. This little-known fact inspired Matthew Reidy to open Bluxome Street Winery in 2011 in order to bring winemaking back to its roots. “One of my favorite things about our event spaces are the ties to San Francisco history, which are really important to us,” says Caitlin Ryan, events manager. “We have a rustic yet industrial aesthetic, and we project a black and white video of San Francisco three days before the 1906 earthquake on a loop.” The winery floor and tasting room come together to serve up to 300 guests (recent groups have included Lululemon, Facebook, Starbucks, Pinterest and Visa). The winery also recently expanded into the old Woolen Building in Ghirardelli Square, which accommodates groups of up to 80. “It’s a different vibe but equally charming,” adds Ryan. “There’s lots of exposed brick, wood and natural light.”
ROSENTHAL WINE BAR AND PATIO
The Rosenthal Wine Bar and Patio is situated mere minutes from LA’s west side on the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. The venue includes a wine tasting room and large outdoor event space that can accommodate from 25 to 250 people. Groups like Hulu and Uber have taken advantage of live music and Latin fusion, pizza, and smoked meat food trucks out on the patio, or Rosenthal’s wine tasting, food pairings and bottle services. The winery’s signature Rosenthal label sources grapes from the family’s private Malibu Estate while its Surfrider label sources grapes from across California.
FRUITCRAFT FERMENTERY & DISTILLERY