Urban Vintners Take on Napa’s Finest

Growing Bay Area movement has winemakers working at home


From the sleek chateaus, to the stunning terroir, the life of a winemaker is as unique as his liquid gold.

But not every glass of fine Merlot comes from the cellars of Napa. Just ask Brian Mast of Waits-Mast Family Cellars.

"A lot of us go to Napa Valley or Sonoma or Anderson Valley (and) you come back from wine country and you say, 'Wow wouldn't it be great to be a winemaker?'"

And that's just what he did. Mast is part of a growing community of urban winemakers making award-winning wines right in their garages.

Steve Goldbeck's carport is where he parks during the week but where he makes his tasty art on the weekends.

As the cars whiz by his house on Chenery Street in San Francisco, the wines quietly age in oak barrels. The grapes were stemmed, seeded and crushed right in his garage, with the help of Goldbeck's assistant, his 12-year-old son. Goldbeck says winemakers don't have to sacrifice quality for comfort.

"If you can get high quality grapes, you can make good wine, even in your garage," he said.

Mast is proof of that. Just down the street from Goldbeck's home, Glen Park's newest wine bar features a 2007 Waits-Mast pinot, recently named one of the San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 Wines of 2009.

"People don't realize that we probably live up the street from them and we're making wine down the street from them right here in the City," he said.

The Waits-Mast production is too big for their one car garage, so the wine is made at crushpad in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood.

Its a place where City dwellers can barrel, bottle and label their own wine without having to invest in land or a fancy chateau.

While the City has the accommodations the winemakers needs, the people behind Waits-Mast say they  aren't quitting their day jobs just yet

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