GRAND AVENUE, WEST OF 580 – September 2014
Bay Grape – Wine Shop & Community Gathering Place
Open now! Official Grand Opening Party, Sat. Sept. 6
One Saturday last year Josiah Baldivino, Lead Sommelier at the Michael Mina restaurant in San Francisco, and his wife Stevie Stacionis, Director of Communications at Corkbuzz Wine Studio in New York and Community Manager for the national nonprofit Guild of Sommeliers in Petaluma, walked from their Oakland home in Adams Point to the Farmers Market at Splashpad Park. These “two young stars of the wine world” wondered, “Is there a way we could combine what we do and work together?”
As they walked down Grand Avenue, they passed 376 Grand, former site of Ora Tiffany’s Salon that had been vacant for a couple of years. Part of the brown paper covering the windows had fallen down. They peeked through the glass and began to imagine a unique venue: a community space where people could hang out, meet neighbors, and casually learn about wine.
On Feb. 1, Josiah and Stevie signed a lease and began a 4-month journey through the city and county permitting processes. In June they began construction and renovation, doing much of the work themselves with guidance from talented friends. The sign in the windows then heralded their new enterprise, Bay Grape, which opened on Aug. 23. A few days after opening, as Josiah sat on the floor with a screwdriver, adjusting the front door, he said good-naturedly, “We appreciate what we have because we did so much ourselves.” Stevie added, “It’s so empowering!”
Josiah and Stevie invite the neighborhood to come to Bay Grape’s official Grand Opening on Saturday Sept. 6. “We can’t wait to meet you and share some amazing wine!” From 5 pm to 9 pm that evening, participate in a 4-wine tasting for $20 as four local winemakers — Anne Dashe of Dashe Cellars (Oakland), Tracey Brandt of Donkey & Goat (Berkeley), Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars (Berkeley) and Alex Pitts of Scholium Project (Napa) — each pour one of their wines. Snacks from local vendors will be for sale and wine goodies will be raffled.
Bay Grape is not just another wine bar. “This neighborhood is so special,” says Stevie. “It is great to see the support and love we have received from all of the neighbors. We want Bay Grape to foster a sense of sharing.” Yes, you can buy a bottle of wine and leave. But Josiah and Stevie encourage you to drop in, get acquainted, ask what wine might pair well with a menu you are planning, sit and chat. Browse through the wine reference books on the shelves. “This is a place for everybody. This neighborhood is a place where we want to grow old, not big. This is where we are going to be for a long time,” says Josiah.
Purchase craft beer, sodas, local and artisanal charcuterie, cheese, nuts, pickles or bread. Add a bottle of wine and, for a $5 corkage fee, have a little picnic at the community table, enjoy a glass or two from that bottle, and trade impressions with a neighbor.
Bay Grape will offer many opportunities to learn about wine in a low-key, relaxed environment. After the Grand Opening weekend, Bay Grape will offer Saturday Tastings from 5:00 to 9:00 pm based on a particular region, grape, style, story or winemaker. Sample 3 wines for $15 and receive a 10% discount on purchases of the featured wines.
Starting Sept. 14, Bay Grape will offer Sunday School Classes, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, featuring 4 wines for $20, and limited to 16 participants. On September 14, the class will learn about Sauvignon Blanc from the Central Coast of California, Chile, France’s Loire Valley and Bordeaux.
Bay Grape will also offer Monday Blind Tasting Classes from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. For $25 a sommelier will give tips on appreciating the aroma, taste and structure of 6 wines.
Bay Grape is a pick-up location for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce boxes from Capay Valley Farm Shop, offering 100% local, seasonal food direct from its network of over 40 small, family farms. Each week, Bay Grape will suggest two recipes featuring that week’s produce and recommend two bottles of wine to accompany them. Thursday CSA Pickups and Wine Pairing Tastings will offer tastings of these wines for $10 from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Napoleon, the couple’s Brussels Griffon Pug Mix rescue dog, is adjusting well to his new realm and eagerly welcomes visitors with a tail wag and shoe sniff. Miss Figgy, the large fig tree, was still adjusting to the move when I visited, but she provided me a delicious ripe fig. Yum-mm, perhaps I’ll have it with a glass of dry Prosecco, or a fruit-forward Pinot Noir or Shiraz and a slice of Gouda.
376 Grand Ave. (midblock,between Staten Ave. & Perkins St.)
Oakland, CA 93610
Mon – Sat 11 am – 10 pm
Sundays noon – 9 pm
ALL PREVIOUS WEST OF 580 BLOGS ARE ARCHIVED HERE