In August 2014, husband-and-wife team Josiah Baldivino (former wine director at Michael Mina) and Stevie Stacionis (who handled communications for Laura Maniec of New York’s Corkbuzz Wine Studio) breathed additional life into Oakland’s already-bustling food and drink scene by opening Bay Grape, a delightfully personal store a block from Lake Merritt. The selection is well rounded, but especially geared toward frisky, come-hither wines suited to a picnic on the sunny shore of said lake. (There’s a refrigerator case with a small selection of snacks—cheese, salami, pâté—to match). Amid the wealth of sparkling wines and rosés, you might fi nd a bottle of Hijo de Rubentis, the harder-to find sparking version of Ameztoi’s bracing, quintessential Basque rosé, or stumble across a 2005 Nicole Chanrion Côte de Brouilly. Baldivino and Stacionis host regular educational tastings at a large table at the front of the store, occasionally putting together more ambitious tastings, like March’s Heavy Pet Nat Zoo, a celebration of California’s homegrown pét-nats from producers like Donkey & Goat, Onward and Scholium Project. Want more? They also offer recipes and wine pairings to complement the produce in the weekly boxes from Capay Valley Farm Shop that CSA members pick up at the store.
This review appears in the print edition of the June 2015 issue. Like what you just read? Subscribe now.