Enjoying Wine in the Heart of San Francisco

Enjoying Wine in the Heart of San Francisco

When most people think of California wine, they think of Napa and Sonoma Valley.

Just 100 years ago however, San Francisco was wine country. With over 100 wine cellars and production facilities throughout the city, the winemaking industry in California was born in San Francisco.

Unfortunately, the 1906 earthquake struck shortly followed by Prohibition, and the winemaking industry just never seemed to return. Instead it spread out of the cities and into the hills and valleys, as most wineries did during the prohibition-era.

Not many people know it, but in 2010 Bluxome Street Winery opened in a historic 1911 warehouse bringing the wine industry back to its roots in San Francisco.

With their commitment to quality, it’s no surprise that Bluxome Street Winery has received non-stop praise including “Best Winery” awards and the honor of the “Best Wine in SF” title. Plus, you’ll now find their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays on the wine lists of top SF restaurants.

Knowing all of that we decided it was a must to check out Bluxome while in San Francisco– especially since we weren’t heading out into modern wine country. After all, about six months prior to this trip I declared that I would learn to like wine or to at least educate myself on its different varieties.

San Francisco - Oct 2014

The winery truly is a hidden gem located in SOMA. It’s amongst a bunch of other historic warehouses, and we barely spotted it as we walked down the street.

If you’re heading there at night I highly recommend taking a taxi– 1) because they’ll help you locate it and 2) because we didn’t, and we found ourselves walking through some slightly seedy areas after dark. Realizing our mistake we made sure to take a taxi back to our hotel!

Once inside the winery it was like we entered another world. The warehouse provided a really hip place for locals to come for a drink after work, and boy did they. Every table was filled.

We had the privilege of tasting seven different wines in total– six of their staple wines and one that they were currently experimenting with.

San Francisco - Oct 2014

Three of the wines were Pinot Noirs, all sourced from different vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Bluxome has a long standing relationship with its growers and are very picky when it comes to harvesting the grapes that’ll be used in the wines.

My favorite of the three Pinots was the 2012 Pinot Noir sourced from four different vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Aged in a French oak, it had subtle scents of raspberry and violet. Out of the Pinots I felt that it had the most mellow and smooth taste– the other two had more of a tannin structure to them.

As I’m not really a big fan of red wines, I was glad to be moving onto their sampling of white wines!

San Francisco - Oct 2014

We tried a Chardonnay, which is typically my least favorite type of white. This was a 2012 from Teac-Mor Vineyard and it was pretty medium-bodied. This Chardonnay was surprisingly better than most I’ve had and it went extremely well with the almonds that had given us to pair with it.

I was excited to try their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, from two vineyards within the Russian River Valley. This again was medium-bodied with bright hints of yuzu– and I love anything with yuzu. This wine was certainly my favorite so far as it had lots of depth.

We ended with a 2013 Rosé of Syrah from Saint Mark’s Vineyard. I loved the smell of strawberries and cream along with subtle hints of white peach. Taking a sip I knew I had found my true favorite. Although I tend to love all Rosés. There’s just something about this wine’s sparkling palate that reminds me of warm weather and sun!

Our last tasting was of a new wine they were experimenting with. Called “The Sweetness” I can’t think of a better fitting name. Like liquid candy this was some of the best wine I’d ever had. This was one of their strongest wines at 14%, but you’d never know it.

While this wine isn’t normally part of their stock, I hope they make it one! If you ever go to Bluxome Street Winery and get the chance to try it– do it!! (But only if you like sickeningly sweet wines like I do. Think Moscato, only sweeter)

Loving the wines we tried so much we ended up taking home a few bottles for later on. For now you can only buy bottles in their tasting room, but I do hope they’ll start to distribute their wines in retail someday. Especially outside of California so I can have some again!

If you love wine and are in San Francisco, definitely check out Bluxome Street Winery while you’re there. They offer a variety of different tasting and tour options along with some amazing epicurean experiences.

I know the next time I’m back in SF I’ll be heading to Bluxome to grab a few more bottles!

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Do you love California wines? Which ones should I check out??

Thanks to San Francisco Travel and Bluxome Street Winery for helping to host our visit in San Francisco!

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41 Comments

  1. February 20, 2015 / 12:23 pm

    This is such a gorgeous place to go and visit. Your pictures are amazing :)

  2. February 20, 2015 / 8:37 am

    I don’t have a lot of desire to visit the tourist places in CA so much, but SF would be one place for sure. Maybe one of these days. I love finding new areas to explore, and esp those with great wines.

    • Beth Williams
      February 20, 2015 / 9:23 am

      I wouldn’t call SF touristy. I mean, almost every US city has their fair share of tourists, but SF is just a great city over all to visit and to live in.

  3. February 20, 2015 / 12:38 am

    That’s a great review.. I love wine tasting at Napa Valley! wish I could make another trip..

    • Beth Williams
      February 20, 2015 / 9:23 am

      I still need to get out to Napa!

  4. Carly
    February 19, 2015 / 11:17 pm

    This wine looks amazing! I grew up right outside of San Francisco…..and have never heard of this!

    • Beth Williams
      February 20, 2015 / 9:23 am

      Jealous that you’re from the area! I’d love to live out in the Bay.

  5. February 19, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    What a great review. I was wondering you said that the warehouse was located in SOMA, what does that stand for or where is that location? I’ve only been to San Francisco about 30 years ago so I don’t know the area well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:38 pm

      Um, SOMA is the name of the district, but yes, it’s a newer…up and coming area? I believe it stands for South of Market (meaning Market Street) … since the neighborhood is off of Market. At least this is what I’m assuming as I’m not too familiar with San Francisco either. This was my first visit. :)

  6. February 19, 2015 / 12:00 am

    That sounds like a wonderful time. I’m not a fan of wine but I bet that would be a fun time regardless.

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:36 pm

      Really, I’m not a wine person (still trying but not there yet ;) ) It was still a really nice evening and I can’t wait to go back.

  7. February 18, 2015 / 11:39 pm

    We are headed to San Fransisco in the next few weeks! Even MORE excited now :D

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:36 pm

      That’s so exciting!! Enjoy the city and give Bluxome a visit!

  8. February 18, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    I would very much have enjoyed that tasting too! I’m also more of a white wine fan than a red, and I’m so curious about the ones you favored.

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:35 pm

      I love white wines. In terms of white, I really enjoyed their Sauvignon Blanc!

  9. February 18, 2015 / 9:41 pm

    It’s nice that they rediscovered this winery again. I hope to get to taste their wines too.

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:34 pm

      Yes! I think it’s so cool that they re-opened a bit of history.

  10. CourtneyLynne
    February 18, 2015 / 9:29 pm

    Omg this place looks pretty incredible!! But then again what place that has wine and cheese isn’t ;-)

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:34 pm

      You make a very good point ;)

  11. February 18, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    Looks like an amazing winery to visit!! I love visiting wineries they are great to see while traveling and to take trips to.

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:34 pm

      I agree! I hope to visit more in the future.

  12. February 18, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    This is what a wine experience should be. I cannot wait to have a time like this!

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:33 pm

      Yes!! Sitting around, enjoying good conversation over wine… nothing’s better!

  13. February 18, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    One day I will make to to SF and enjoy some wine too. My friend honeymooned there and I have been desperate to visit since seeing her photos!

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:33 pm

      Oh wow, that must have been a fun honeymoon! I’ve never really thought about SF as a honeymoon destination before. :)

  14. February 18, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    I have never been to San Francisco, but I would love to visit some day. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I have lots of friends how are. :)

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:32 pm

      I’m trying to learn to be a wine drinker… and trying to get my friends on board too. :)

  15. Fi Ní Neachtáin
    February 18, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    Oh how amazing, my other half and I love visiting vineyards and winerys when we’re on our travels. I really want to visit San Francisco one day.

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:32 pm

      Do visit some of the wineries in NorCal and make sure to stop by Bluxome!

  16. February 18, 2015 / 2:31 pm

    I’ve never been to San Francisco, but I’ve always wanted to go. I didn’t know that San Francisco was once The wine place in CA. I’ve never cared for red wine at all. Chardonnay has always been my fave. :)

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:31 pm

      I didn’t know that either! Was a lot of fun to learn a bit of history while sipping away ;)

  17. michele d
    February 18, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    I’ve never been to San Fran before but if I did, I would be holding a glass of wine myself. Great pictures!

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:31 pm

      I hope you make it to SF! It’s a great city.

  18. February 18, 2015 / 1:38 pm

    I am not really much of a wine drinker I love sweet dessert one but other than that i do not seem to have the test for it. I do not know why. Thanks for sharing SF wine history.

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:30 pm

      I’m not a wine drinker really either, but trying to be. I mainly just love dessert wines also.

  19. February 18, 2015 / 11:38 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever tried California wines- I’m brand new to the wine scene and, coming from a family of wine snobs, have been sticking with their tried and true brands here on Long Island. I’d love to try, though, that Sauvignon Blanc sounds delicious! Does Bluxom Street have a website to order from or is it only locally sold? Thank you!

  20. February 16, 2015 / 12:26 am

    I had no idea! I haven’t been to California yet, but now I’m looking forward to going and tasting some yummy wine! :)

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:28 pm

      California has lots of yummy wine!

  21. February 15, 2015 / 4:11 pm

    Going to San Fran at the end of this month and hope to make it there!

    • Beth Williams
      February 19, 2015 / 9:27 pm

      I hope you do too! It was a cool place.