Treasure Island wineries

San Francisco wine country | Courtesy Treasure Island Wines

Treasure Island usually evokes visions of the swashbuckling pirates and their treasures from the Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel. But today the former military base set majestically in the middle of San Francisco Bay is home to a growing roster of wineries. Along with the island’s proximity to San Francisco, it makes for a wonderful wine retreat.

The location also provides access to some of the world’s best vineyards in Northern California, which makes for a smorgasbord of great grape-source options for the cutting-edge wineries calling the island home. As with most things Bay Area, innovation is the order of the day and these folks have it in spades.

The location provides access to some of the world’s best vineyards in Northern California, which makes for a smorgasbord of great grape-source options for the cutting-edge wineries calling the island home.

We don’t have room to cover all the wineries here, but among the standouts is Treasure Island Wines. Occupying an urban vibe, dog-friendly space at 995 9th St., the winery consists of five distinct wine projects that co-op equipment, tasting rooms and barrel space. Perhaps most important of all is a collaborative philosophy in which they help each other with winemaking wisdom, marketing advice and sometimes some sweat equity.

Oro En Paz is a top performer here and a typical example of the atypical wineries you’ll find on your visit. It’s the passion project of three friends who grew up together in the city and found they shared an enthusiasm for wine — specifically for single-vineyard wine expressions of unique grapes: think Carignan, Semillon and other under-the-radar varieties. Co-owner Ben Herod told me they are also committed to creating balanced wines that show finesse and nuance. Indeed, Oro En Paz wines are light-on-their-feet, energetic quaffs with palates of fresh fruit, mineral and bright acids.

Another co-op member is Baker Family Wines and B & B Wine Company, owned by former S.F Giants’ manager Dusty Baker. They feature a lush Syrah from his own vineyard in the Sierra Foothills.

Dusty Baker’s Rockin’ Syrah | Courtesy Baker Family Wines

The original and keystone winery is Treasure Island Winery, which makes a broad range of offerings from more mainstream varieties such Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from vineyards stretching from Mendocino to Livermore Valley.

Other Treasure Island wine neighbors we can recommend are: The Winery SF, which had one of their Cabernets voted “Best Cabernet Under $25” at a San Francisco Chronicle wine competition; Fat Grape Winery, which specializes in low-sulfite wines and Zinfandel specialist Hoffman Family Cellars.

In all you will find about 15 wineries in a few square blocks on this island oasis with world-class vistas, some of the most reasonable tasting fees this side of anywhere and almost weekly special events, such as the Treasure Island Music Festival returning in 2018 — all a quick trip from the city or East Bay.

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Lou Phillips
Lou is a Level 3 Sommelier based on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, who loves traveling the wine world doing research for his writing. He also consults for collectors and businesses buying and selling fine wine and creating special events.