My heart broke a little last year when my wine club, Cellar 360, closed their tasting room. I’d spent many great evenings with friends drinking wine and telling stories while looking out Cellar’s backroom windows toward a fog-drenched Alcatraz Island. The volume of talking and laughter directly correlated to where we were in the tasting flight, which made each visit unique, even though I am far from a wine connoisseur. I’m more of a wine enjoyer and I do know the difference between red and white. I enjoy the company and conversations that are usually associated with sharing a bottle of wine and I’ve really missed that over the past year since Cellar closed.
But last weekend, I heard about a new urban winery opening in SOMA: Tank 18. Their opening party was a Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) event. A BYOB event? Okay, now we are talking, especially since Tank 18 only charges $8.99 for a full refill of a delicious red blend. So we went and, inside, found that Tank18 was actually a large warehouse converted into an urban winery. The walls were artistically lined with green wine bottles that stretched up from polished concrete floors to an exposed wood ceiling, probably about thirty feet high. On the right wall, under the hanging bottles, a large bar hummed with talkative “baristas”. The rest of the space was open—perfect for Saturday’s large opening day crowd.
We filled our glasses and joked about the BYOB concept. Could we bring beer bottles in? Would they fill them up? Apparently, yes and yes, because a staff member heard us joking about bottling wine in beer bottles and commented that earlier in the day a guy had brought in two tallboy PBR cans. Tank18 filled them, no questions asked. Although beer cans do not lend themselves to recorking. I think I’ve found a new place for lazy Saturday wine tasting memories. For the rest of the afternoon, I continued to enjoy my friends and wine and soon the smell of paella from a nearby food truck filled the warehouse. I knew I’d always miss Cellar and the views of Alcatraz on foggy San Francisco evenings, but I’m happy I’ve found Tank 18 and can’t wait to go back.