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There’s a new one-block radius in West Berkeley that now features a half-dozen wineries, all with open tasting rooms, all making wine with natural techniques. Amidst warehouses, repair shops, graffiti murals, and the North Face Outlet, discover the unexpected: a collection of wineries making tasty and exciting natural wines. The cluster of “naturally” urban winemakers includes Broc Cellars, Donkey & Goat, Windchaser Wine Co., Lusu Cellars, Hammerling Wines, and Vinca Minor. Also located in West Berkeley just minutes away from the cluster is Berkeley's newest addition, Maître de Chai.
Berkeley wine makers source their fruit from California’s iconic appellations, typically from vineyards with organic and biodynamic farming philosophies. Many undergo spontaneous fermentation to make wine, a process that uses native yeasts that live on the grapes. The approach is in sync with Berkeley’s organic and sustainable food ethos, championed by Alice Waters and Chez Panisse restaurant just across town in North Berkeley.
Juicy Mendo Grenache, supple Paso cabs, elegant Sonoma chards, spicy Zins, rad Rhone blends, G.V. Pinot Gris and sparkling Cab Francs are all crushing it in the Berkeley Wine Block. With so many varietals available to source, the Berkeley wine makers are blending beautiful wines, bound only by the limits of their substantial creativity.
Berkeley's tasting rooms are open weekends, and some Fridays as well. Click below for tasting room hours and special events.