Press Club Debut in SF

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By Robert Farmer
winerytastingroom.jpgFor a time -before I saw the light – I was somewhat opposed to the multi-winery tasting room. My preference had been for a tasting room to be not only to focus on a single winery’s vintages, but also to be attached to that winery. It makes sense, you have to agree. But as I’m sure you’ll also agree, I am right in tossing aside that narrow-minded attitude and embracing the new-style tasting room, the likes of which are proliferating these days in unexpected places. And so you can understand that recently, the opening of the Press Club in San Francisco was happy new for me. Not just because I happen to live in San Francisco, but also because this is an exceptionally fine example of the concept.

The Press Club, which opens this week in the city’s SoMa area – on Yerba Buena Lane, to be precise – features the wines from eight top-caliber wineries in Napa. The Club combines the intimacy and information of a single-winery tasting room, with the social component of an urban wine bar and restaurant–the space is huge, some 9,000 square feet chicly designed and reflective of the urbanity of its location in the Four Seasons Hotel. The wineries on offer here represent an appealing cross section of wines from the Napa Valley, each with its own dedicated tasting bar. They are: Chateau Montelena, Fritz, Miner, Hanna, Saintsbury, Pahlmeyer, Mount Eden, and Landmark. Some of the wines featured at the Press Club–Landmark, for instance–are not readily available in the city, and will therefore be reaching a new audience. That, at least, is the hope of the participating wineries and club founders Andrew Chun and Jan Wiginton. The Club will also offer wine for sale and a menu designed complement the pourings. A full calendar of winemaker events is also in the works. I’ll keep you posted as my visits become more frequent.

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