by Anneli Rufus
It’s the East Bay Wine Country.
Wineries based in Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, Livermore and other nearby towns comprise the East Bay Vintners’ Alliance, which held its eighth annual Urban Wine Experience at Oakland’s Jack London Square Pavilion. At the ever-popular confab, local wineries offered samples of their wares alongside perfectly paired bites created by chefs from leading local restaurants. Each winery was matched with a specific restaurant, which gave the eager crowd of attendees new ways of thinking about eating and drinking — as live music made everything taste even better.
Paired with the 2012 Alma’s Napa Valley Rosé, 2012 Tudal Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc and 2010 Baci’s Bin 32 from Oakland-based Cerruti Cellars were two dishes — Dungeness-crab gazpacho and chicken tinga on tortilla chips with tomatoes, onion, garlic and chipotle aioli — prepared by chef-owner Rick Hackett of Bocanova, which is also in Oakland.
Over 1,200 bites were served at the Cerruti-Bocanova booth.
Other participating wineries included R&B Cellars, Rock Wall Wine Company, Dashe Cellars, Paradox Wines, Urbano Cellars, Two Mile Wines, Irish Monkey Cellars, Ehrenberg Cellars, and more. Participating restaurants included Picán, Plum, Bucci’s and many more.
“The entire East Bay is stepping up their game,” says Rock Wall’s Shauna Rosenblum, whose Sparkling Grenache Rosé, Lake County Sauvignon Blanc and Monte Rosso Zinfandel were paired with beer-battered fried pickles.
And why is the East Bay coming into its own?
“We love grapes — finding the best ones in Cali, squishing ’em, fermenting ’em, getting them in the bottle and sharing the love with all our friends,” Rosenblum says.
You can click on each picture to enlarge. Photos courtesy of James Adams of Exclusive Productions Photography.