Crushpad, the business that allows people to make their own wine from high-quality grapes, is leaving San Francisco for Napa Valley.
This may be great for Crushpad and its widespread clientele, some of whom made wine from as far away as Japan -- choosing the grapes, deciding on the fermentation and aging regime, etc., and having Crushpad staff carry out their wishes. (In essence, Crushpad's clients make wine the same way Michel Rolland makes wine.)
Strictly for wine quality, the new location at Silverado Trail Wine Studio in the Oak Knoll District is better because the grapes won't have to travel as far after picking. There's also an outlet for microwineries who get a business license to sell their wines -- the biggest hurdle -- because Silverado Trail Wine Studio has a tasting room.
In fact, for adventurous wine geeks, this puts STWS on the Napa Valley wine map in a big way, as it will soon be possible to taste obscure wines that nobody else has heard of. It's an exciting crapshoot: You might discover the next Sean Thackrey, or you might discover the next Phineas T. Grickleschnuber (don't bother googling the name, I made it up.)
But as a San Francisco resident, I'm really sorry to see Crushpad go. Our city has long been a hub of California wine country, and prior to the great earthquake of 1906, much of the wine was actually made here for reasons that made sense in the pre-air conditioning era. Crushpad had a smart, urban feel, interesting wine events, and it brought us the unmistakable aroma of aging wine.
Crushpad not only brought an urban aesthetic to winemaking; it allowed software engineers in Mountain View to make Viognier as a hobby and check on their barrels with an easy trip to the city. I wonder if Crushpad's move to Napa will actually discourage winemaking wannabes because making wine in wine country, among the pros, is more intimidating than hanging around with a group of smart amateurs who also aren't afraid to admit they don't know what they're doing.
I suppose I'm supposed to feel like Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham, happy for Nuke LaLoosh as he moves up to the major leagues. Instead I feel a little used and discarded, like I spent 6 years rooting for somebody who was planning to move on from the start. But even though I'm depressed, I am NOT sleeping with Kevin Costner.