Bay Area folks who like to sip on small production, artisanal wines in gritty urban settings can add another spot to their growing list. Dogpatch WineWorks has just opened its doors to a new tasting room among the hip restaurants and converted warehouses in San Francisco's historic Dogpatch neighborhood. For the past year the winery has been operating a custom crush facility for locals who want to make their own wines. Now, WineWorks is building a list of partner wineries who will also pay to make wine on premises and will have their wines featured at the tasting bar which fronts a 15,000 square foot winery.
Dogpatch WineWorks founders Dave Gifford and Kevin Doucet
The neighborhood's mix of retail and manufacturing appealed to founders Dave Gifford and Kevin Doucet. "We like it because people still make things here, and that's what we're doing," said Gifford who left the restaurant industry to begin working in wine ten years ago. "I think this is really a new model we are trying here with a tasting room and custom winemaking in San Francisco," said co-founder Doucet who worked in the finance world for several years, earned a graduate degree in oenology in Australia and has invested in a handful of wine operations. One of those projects was Crushpad, in some ways the predecessor to WineWorks.
Crushpad, which never had a tasting room at its Dogpatch facility, opened in San Francisco in 2004 as the first urban, custom crush facility. It broadened its clientele to include national and international members and eventually moved to Sonoma. After several years of rapid expansion, the company is unfortunately facing financial troubles. Gifford, who worked for Crushpad, credits the company for paving the way for WineWorks but he says his company is taking a different direction. "I like the idea that you can stop by on your way home from work and check on your wine. You don't have to spend a day driving out to the wine country and back.