Created on 05/31/10
Woodside Vineyards is one of the oldest small, "boutique" vineyards in California, and has been an inspiration to many of the other, newer wineries to open around them in the Santa Cruz Mountains and along the Peninsula south of San Francisco.
They've also been a personal favorite of my wife and myself for many years. We've enjoyed going to the suburbs of Woodside, to the base of Kings Mountain Drive, and visiting the home-based winery, talking to Bob (the owner), Brian (winemaker), playing with the dogs, and drinking great wine.
This weekend marks the opening of their new winery and tasting room, several miles from Woodside, in an industrial strip of Menlo Park. The new operation is part of a concept called AutoVino. In addition to the winery, the building holds classic car storage, wine lockers where you can store your own library of fine wines. A cafe and cigar room will be joining these business lines soon.
It was with some trepidation that we went to the Grand Opening Tasting. After all, a warehouse setting is quite a departure from a hillside home. How could they possibly extend the same level of hospitality? Still, we knew the wines would be the same, so we went.
A few touches outside eased us in, including a fountain made from wine barrels that had previously graced the home-wineries patio at the entrance. Inside it was all the same smiling and friendly faces of the staff. And when Corkey, the winery dog, greeted us, it went a long way to making us feel at home.
Brian, the winemaker, invited us to look around the winery facility, and we soon made ourselves at home. The wines were as spectacular as always, but this review is of the tasting room experience.
They've not yet fully built out what will be the tasting room, so there are no regular hours yet, but watch their website - woodsidevineyards.com - or facebook page for special events when you can stop by.
As long as the people remain as open and warm as they've always been, and the wine maintains their always high standards, there's no reason to be put off by the potential coldness of the warehouse structure. And it's pretty cool to look at classic Jaguars and Porsches while sipping your wine ;^)