Sometimes we forget that Oakland's urban wine oasis has its share of decorated winemakers and trailblazing families.
Take Cerruti Cellars in the heart of Jack London Square.
On a typical weekend, you might find owner John Tudal or winemaker Ron Vuylsteke (Rombauer, Joseph Phelps) swiping a bottle of Tractor Shed Red, a lush California blend, from a tasting room attendant to pour for visitors in the chic, 7,000-square-foot tasting room down the street from Blue Bottle. Tudal's family has been growing cabernet sauvignon in Napa Valley for 40 years, but in our opinion, hitting Cerruti Cellars after brunch at Bocanova or the Sunday farmers market is more convenient than trekking up to Tudal Winery's home in St. Helena.
It's also an ideal place to kick back with a glass -- they offer three wines on tap, including Honker Blanc ($6 per glass), a lively sauvignon blanc -- and people-watch on the patio with complimentary cheese and charcuterie. With its concrete floor and wood fixtures, the winery has the vibe of an urban barrel room, and combined with Vuylsteke's award-winning wines, it's a stellar way to sip away an afternoon.
The details: Cerruti Cellars, 100 Webster St., Oakland. Open 12:30-5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 6-9 p.m. First Fridays. Tastings: $12. Glass, $6-$9. www.cerruticellars.com.
The sips: Tractor Shed Red ($15), now in its 15th vintage, is a highly quaffable blend of petite sirah, malbec and zinfandel, while Vuylsteke's newest wine, a super Tuscan blend called Baci's Bin 32 ($32), is showing beautifully in its second vintage, with spicy, rustic fruit and leather notes. Ask your attendant to dip into the Tudal Family vineyard series, specifically, the 2010 Tudal Family 50/50 ($28), a lush blend of Napa and Sonoma cabernet sauvignon, and the 2010 Tudal Family Clift Vineyard ($65), a refined yet powerful cab.