The Bay Area has a growing community of independent natural winemakers. They’re typically one-person operations that focus on going back to the basics and using more traditional techniques, leading to fresh, fruit-forward, and even funky wines. Here are some local boutique natural wines to look for at your local wine shops.
Pinot Gris + Apple 2020
Buddy/Buddy is a personal project from winemaker Cassidy Miller. Working alongside Berkeley’s Vinca Minor, Miller blended fresh wines with picked apples for the perfect refreshing combination. The result feels like cider’s cooler cousin that went to arts school and started experimenting with psychedelics. Tasting notes include cherry with strawberry Hi-Chew candy.
Fizzy Red 2020
Farmed from a blend of Petit Syrah from Hidden Hawk Ranch, Grenache Blanc from Madera, and Marsanne from Santa Ynez, California, this sparkling red wine from wine newcomer Booker Riley hails from Richmond, California. It’s a zero/zero wine, which by definition means nothing was added and nothing was taken out from the grapes, leading to a fruit-forward taste with a fun fizz.
Sultana of Swat 2019
Made from the grapes of eighty-year-old vines, this carignan is best served slightly chilled while watching a sunset. Winemaker Brent Mayeaux hit the nail on the head when he laid out tasting notes of blackberry brambles and watermelon Jolly Rancher laser beams. If this gem is sold out be on the lookout for a new batch coming this late spring.
California Piquette 2020
Although the winemakers are L.A.-based, this wine cooler is bottled right in Sonoma. It’ll take you back to the halcyon days when your cool aunt handed you a wine cooler from her ice chest on the beach. It’s refreshing and fun, with flavor profiles of a ‘90s Push Pop, and pairs great with comfort classics like pizza, pasta and burgers.