Winemakers in San Francisco may not be growing their grapes in the city, but they can boast a long wine-making tradition. Before the great fire of 1906, there were several wineries based in the SoMa (South of Market) area, which used to go by the less lyrical nickname South of the Slot. That tradition has been revived in the past 20 years, fueled largely by grapes from Napa and Sonoma. JAX Vineyards, for instance, started in the 1990s with David Jackson’s Calistoga vineyard grapes, but his tech-sector son, Trent, was the one who started to make wines from them in his San Francisco garage. Come to their Brannan St. tasting room for happy hour Tuesday through Saturday, and try their red-blend Taureau (named for a prized family bull), paired with charcuterie and cheese.
Nearby, Bluxome Street Winery uses grapes from the Russian River Valley, but you can taste the resulting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and more at its airy warehouse location; pair your wines with nibbles and watch the actual wine-making process on the other side of giant glass windows. A few miles north in Ghirardelli Square, stop by Wattle Creek Winery, which serves wines made from its Alexander Valley grapes.
Winery Collective, meanwhile, reminds you that San Francisco is an excellent hub for tasting a range of California wines. Its Fisherman’s Wharf tasting room features some three dozen wineries from around the state—like Copain Wines and Donum Estate—offered up in rotating flights. The Winery SF, meanwhile, located on Treasure Island, also always has a full calendar of weekend public events to explore.
Interested in making your own wine? Go to Dogpatch WineWorks, which sources grapes from a variety of regions’ vineyards, but makes wine in this industrial-neighborhood cellar. You can even get hands-on: Book a time and you can make your own handcrafted wine to take home.