Carly Diaz

Hassle-free wine tasting right this way.

Vicki Denig
September 26, 2018

Planning your next winery visit no longer requires renting a car, driving to wine country, and finding a place to stay after a long day of tasting. Urban wineries are popping up in city centers all over America, bringing accessible vinification, tasting, and winery drop-ins to urban-dwellers nationwide.

So, which ones to visit? Food & Wine has compiled a list of the 10 best urban wineries in the country, spanning 12 cities in 10 states. Next time the hankering for a hassle-free wine tasting kicks in, look no further than your own backyard—or your city block.

Division Winemaking Co.
Portland, OR

Carly Diaz

Founded in 2010 by Kate Norris and Thomas Monroe, Division Winemaking Co. sources fruit from both Oregon and Washington states, crafting wines from a handful of varieties, all produced with a hands-off, minimal manipulation mentality in the cellar. Reflecting their passion for sustainable viticulture, many of the vineyards Norris and Monroe choose to work with are certified organic and/or biodynamic. Inside every finished bottle, you'll also find wine inspired by the regions of France, where the duo first studied winemaking. They produce said wine at Portland’s SE Wine Collective, which the duo also founded, back in 2012, and they're also members of the PDX Urban Wineries Association.  Upon visiting Division, be sure to say hello (and give a treat to) Butch Cassidy, the winery’s adorable ‘general manager and resident good boy.’ Visit the SE Wine Collective six days per week (closed Tuesday); see website for specific hours.
2425 SE 35th Pl, Portland, OR 97214; 503-208-2061

Brooklyn Winery
Brooklyn, NY

Rima Brindamour / Courtesy of Brooklyn Winery

Set in the heart of bustling Williamsburg, Brooklyn Winery is surrounded by lively bars, vintage clothing stores, and a splattering of newly opened restaurants. Founder Brian Leventhal and John Stires created the hybrid wine cellar / wine bar, which serves up seasonal bites alongside the winery’s many small batch cuvées, after their winemaking side hobby turned into a full-fledged obsession. They source hand-harvested fruit from across the country, which is shipped via refrigerated truck straight to BK, where winemaker Conor McCormack works his magic on 15+ different bottlings, ranging from vintage Blanc de Blancs bubbles to skin fermented Riesling, to Zinfandel-based fortified dessert wines. The Winery also boasts a private event space, perfect for weddings, corporate events, or other celebrations. Check the winery’s website for a detailed list of upcoming opening hours (schedule changes based on private event closures.)
213 N 8th St., Brooklyn, NY 11211 U.S.A; 347-763-1506

Donkey & Goat Winery
Berkeley, CA

Kelly J Owen

Natural winemaking philosophies reign over at Berkeley-based Donkey & Goat. Founded by Jared and Tracey Brandt in 2004, the winery produces juice from sustainably farmed fruit, sourced from a handful of carefully curated growers in Sierra Nevada, Mendocino, and Napa. Fermentations begin naturally, without any added cultivated yeasts. Although the Brandts are openly passionate about biodynamic farming, the duo firmly believes that tasting and evaluating fruit hands-on is the best way to choose when to harvest. From classic varietal bottlings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, to more experimental cuvées—like Ramato Pinot Gris, skin contact Sauvignon Blanc, and funky pét-nats—Donkey & Goat Winery’s portfolio is certain to please an array of palates, especially those with a more adventurous flare. Stop by the tasting room, as well as the winery cellar and urban yard (featuring corn hole, board games, and a bocce court) every weekend, Friday-Sunday, from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
1340 5th Street, Berkeley CA 94710; 510-868-9174

The Infinite Monkey Theorem
Denver, CO & Austin, TX

From the Hip Photo

Named for an ancient mathematical deduction, The Infinite Monkey Theorem was founded in 2008 in an effort to "create order out of a chaotic system"—that is, the system of harvesting grapes at 4,500 feet above sea level and vinifying them in an alley warehouse in Denver. Located in the River North Art District, the 15,000-square-foot winery recently expanded, adding a second location in Austin, Texas's South Congress District neighborhood. Fruit comes from Western Colorado and the High Plains of Texas, and goes into creating 20 plus wines, ranging from still to sparkling, dry to sweet, and everything in between—some even packaged in cans. The winery also takes its local neighborhoods extremely seriously, seeking to create wines that express their surroundings, not just the winemakers' whims, for a product "born out of" and "representative of the community." Schedule your private tour and tasting on the The Infinite Monkey Theorem’s website; public tours are available every Saturday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the winery’s Austin location.
3200 Larimer Street; Denver, CO 80205; (303) 736 - 8376
121 Pickle Road #110, Austin, TX 78704; (512) 956 - 7757

Gersing Cellars
Portland, OR

22 Pages Photography

Founded by Jason Gersing in 2015, this Portland-based winery combines Gersing’s two greatest passions, music and wine. After moving to New York to play alongside some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians, Gersing found himself working harvest on Long Island, before pursuing his passion even further by moving to the south of France to study oenology and viticulture, and ultimately settling within Portland’s thriving urban viticulture scene. Gersing Cellars sources from select growing sites across Washington and Oregon states, currently composing nine different cuvées, each of which exudes harmonious balance and a terroir-reflective sense of place. Some are even bottled with musically-inspired names. Vamp Syrah and Sextet Pinot Noir are must-tastes—and for Italian wine aficionados, the Brio Nebbiolo is a gorgeous, European-inspired, New World expression of the variety. Visit Jason at the SE Wine Collective, and say hello to Division Winemaking Company while there!
2425 SE 35th Pl, Portland, OR 97214; 503-208-2061

City Winery
New York, Chicago, Nashville
Atlanta, Boston, & Washington D.C.

Courtesy of City Winery NYC

After opening the renowned concert venue, The Knitting Factory, in 1987, Michael Dorf found his passion for wine while producing his first barrel in California with brother Josh and winemaker David Tate. This hands-on experience pushed Dorf to create and establish City Winery’s first location in 2008 in the hear of NYC. The company has since expanded to Chicago, and Nashville, Atlanta, Boston and Washington D.C., with a Philadelphia location opening in 2019. City Winery brings together all of Dorf’s passions—wine, music, and food—in its fully functioning winery facility-cum-concert venue and fine-dining restaurant, all located in a shared space. The idea here is to indulge the senses, via smell, sound, and taste, in an immersive, one-stop shop. Contact your local City Winery for specific wine, menu, and upcoming concert details. See each specific city’s website for deatiled operating hours/information.
Original location: 155 Varick St, New York, NY 10013; (212) 608-0555

Jet City
Seattle, WA

Located in a former Dr. Pepper bottling plant, Jet City—the latest brainchild of Walla Walla winemaker Charles Smith—finds its home in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. At 32,000 square feet, it's officially the largest urban winery on the West Coast, boasting gorgeous views of Mount Rainier and the main runways of Boeing Field, as well as a firsthand look at the winemaking process behind his K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines, and Wines of Substance labels. The winery features two tasting rooms; the downstairs facility, which exudes a “rustic,” Northwest feel, and a larger upstairs tasting room, emanating a more ‘60s/aviation vibe, both of which will play abundant music, most of which will be live. Charles Smith vinifies classic French varieties (think Rhone, Bordeaux, & Chardonnay.) Visit Jet City from every day of the week from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.

1136 S Albro Pl, Seattle, WA 98108; (206) 745-7456

Red Hook Winery
Brooklyn, NY

Mark Snyder opened Red Hook Winery in 2008 with the intention of highlighting New York’s premier growing sites. Fruit comes from both the North Fork of Long Island and the Finger Lakes, bringing diversity and complexity to wines that reflect a sense of place, as well as New York’s unique geology and microclimates. Christopher Nicolson, the winery's in-house winemaker, and consultants Robert Foley and Abe Schoener bring a personal touch to each hand-crafted, small batch cuvée. The winery churns out a vast array of wines from specific vineyards, including 10 skin-contact style whites and a handful of red blends, available in various bottle sizes (hello, magnums!). Stop by the tasting from every day from 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. Free tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Barrel tastings and tours are available by appointment only.
175 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY 11231; (347) 689-2432

The Austin Winery
Austin, TX

Founded in May 2014, The Austin Winery was launched by Ross McLauchlan, Cooper Anderson, and Matthew Smith, who all bring sustainable winemaking (and wine consumption) to heart of Texas. The trio sources fruit from organic and biodynamically farmed vineyards in the Texas High Plains, Sonoma, Amador County, and Walla Walla; they bottle in locally-produced glass; and on top o fall that, they use recycled corks, too. They're also currently experimenting with an AstroPaq® pouch and 9L (12 bottle) barrel bottlings, with the goal of reducing their carbon footprint, as well as costs of wine. From varietal Chardonnay, Malbec, and Old Vine Zinfandel bottles, to GSM- and Bordeaux-inspired blends, all equipped with animal and nature-inspired labels to boot, the wine from this Austin destination is a must. Stop by from Tuesday-Sunday (check the website for hours), no reservation needed.
440 East Saint Elmo Road, A1, Austin, TX 78745; (512) 326-1445

Bluxome Street Winery
San Francisco, CA

Courtesy

Founded by Matt Reidy and Peter Chouinard, Bluxome Street Winery has a simple mission: to produce wine that is as enjoyable to drink as it is to make. Wines are produced from cool-climate fruit, grown within various, low-yielding sites across Sonoma. At Bluxome Street, the emphasis is on the vineyard, not so much on the winemaker’s hand, allowing a sense of place to remain present in the glass. Bluxome Street Winery also offers a full functioning event space, with wine educators, a non-exclusive catering list, a built-in sound system, WiFi, and of course, their namesake wines, available on site. Whether Chardonnay, rosé of Syrah, or a handful of single-vineyard Pinot Noir is your calling, sipping on a bottle of Bluxome is a must for SF residents. Visit the winery Tuesday - Sunday, from 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.
53 Bluxome Street; San Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 543-5353