In vino … where’s it at?
Even more elusive than the perfect grape is Revolution Wines. The card announcing last Thursday’s grand opening of the Midtown winery—yes, winery—gave 2116 P Street as the address. But that was no help at all.
See, there’s a 2114 on P, but the next number up going against traffic on the one-way street is 2118. Luckily, a sidewalk sign pointed to a black metal gate, through which one traversed a narrow pathway to a tiny back unit. That’s where one found Revolution Wines, which only may have seemed tiny because it was filled with large wooden wine barrels, a forklift, the chrome apparatuses of modern wine-making, and what would probably seem like a more roomy wine store and tasting bar were it not stuffed with tables, chairs, a buffet spread and a surprisingly un-snooty crowd.
Standing at the center of the room like proud papas were Jason Fernandez and Joe Genshlea Jr. Winemaker Fernandez co-owns the plant with Genshlea and his wife, Gina. Joe Genshlea Sr., a prominent Sacramento attorney, welcomed guests. He and Phil Serna, a lobbyist and son of late Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna Jr., are investors. So, think of this as just another mom and pop business—with impeccable political connections.
Fernandez and Genshlea looked less like typical vintners and more like successful young professionals. Then again, 85 percent of Napa is now owned by successful young professionals who look nothing like typical vintners.
Napa is actually where 33-year-old Fernandez started in the wine business nine years ago, and he’d been moving in this direction ever since. When he laid eyes on the vast, verdant, rolling hills of Sacramento, he decided to stake his claim. OK, there are no vast, verdant, rolling hills here, and Fernandez doesn’t have grapes growing strategically around town. He gets his pinot grigio grapes from Clarksburg, his zins come from the foothills in the direction of, well, Zinfandel, and he even hauls the devil’s fruit in from his old Napa stomping grounds.
Revolution Wines is the latest in a growing trend of so-called urban wineries that import grapes but crush and ferment them on site. It is reportedly the first full-production winery to open within Sacramento city limits since Prohibition. Revolution’s 2005s, just out, already have popped up in small retail stores.
Bottles are flying out of the P Street shop, which is impressive considering the neighborhood wine boutique competition. You can’t turn down a wrong street in Midtown without running into an L Wine Lounge here or a 58 Degrees & Holding there. But Fernandez has even grander plans to get his wine in your mouth by hooking up with local chefs who’ll marry his juice with complementary gourmet dishes. A gold medal from the state fair for Revolution’s ’05 zin should warrant calls back.
Now if they can only find the blasted place.