To readers of a certain age, say over 50, “Dogpatch” was the place Li’l Abner and his hillbilly comic strip pals lazed their life away. For VinoDuo, Dogpatch is now the little-known San Francisco neighborhood that boasts artisan coffee, gritty shipyard remnants, funky shops, and fabulous restaurants. Dubbed a “perennial up-and-coming neighborhood” by one San Francisco guide, Dogpatch has seen good times and bad and today is flourishing with the influx of artists, artisans, and the people who trail them.
We first visited Dogpatch in 2015 to do a tasting at Dogpatch WineWorks a boutique winemaker’s collective and tasting room. Urban winemaking has caught our fancy of late and this no-frills winery—housed in a former warehouse—was smack dab in the middle of a resurgent Dogpatch.
Dogpatch WineWorks hosts several small commercial producers in a “custom crush” arrangement, where artisan winemakers source their own grapes and bring the fruit to WineWorks for production. During our first visit to the tasting room, we sampled the wine of two of Dogpatch’s premier winemakers – Seamus Wines and Jazz Cellars.
Seamus is a family-owned business, with a twist. Father and son winemakers live in Georgia, but they produce 900 cases of California wine in Dogpatch. Jazz Cellars was founded in 2005 by two friends who shared a love of good wine and great music. Jazz’s small-batch producers focus on Rhone-style wines, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir. In tandem, Seamus and Jazz Cellars presented Lisa and Gary with a literal Vino Duo wine tasting experience.
In March 2017 we returned to Dogpatch with wine-loving friends in tow—making us VinoQuatro for the day. The cavernous space seems to have become more of an event venue, less a wine-making and tasting enterprise. Hard to fault the owners…it’s a very cool space in an oh-so-hip neighborhood; rental fees for corporate shindigs likely keep the lights on for the wine-makers.
Dogpatch WineWorks doesn’t serve food but encourages take out. We brought in BBQ from nearby Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing and ordered a flight of white wines and a flight of red. Unfortunately, none of the wines shone like the Seamus and Jazz Cellars offerings of previous years. But when you’re chomping on BBQ, washing it down with wine and sharing good times with your friends, the experience alone is worth the trip.