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Gold Medal Wine Club
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Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Rock Wall Wine Company - Alameda

91 Points, Best Zinfandel in California, Double Gold Medal, Best of Class and many more awards!

Any winery advertising a really excellent view of San Francisco had better refer to the new Rock Wall Winery located across San Francisco Bay in Alameda. Housed in a pair of ancient airplane hangars (the site was formerly the Alameda Naval Air Station), the new winery is the latest wine project of the prestigious Rosenblum family, former owners of Rosenblum Cellars (of Zinfandel and Rhône varietal fame) also located in Alameda.

When Rosenblum Cellars was sold in February 2008, it was a gigantic 250,000-case entity. Owner Kurt Rosenblum decided to start again on a much smaller scale and Rock Wall Wine Company was born. Rosenblum jumped at the chance to locate at the ageing former military facility with its unparalled view of San Francisco’s marvelous shore and skyline.

Work began in August of 2008 and Rosenblum’s daughter, Shauna, now 27, was soon caught up in the enthusiasm of the new project.

“I had grown up around the family winery and worked every job possible,” she admitted. “At two years old I could do certain jobs. Even though I went to college and my degrees are in fine arts and ceramics, there is a kinship between the chemistry involved in the wine business and that required for a ceramics degree.

“There was so much energy involved in renovating the hangars and getting the place fitted to be a winery, I was soon caught up in the emotion. Whenever something came up, my father asked if I could do it. When it was all finished, he asked me if I wanted to stay involved. He already knew what my answer would be.”

Shauna Rosenblum became the winemaker for Rock Wall Winery. By the way, the Rock Wall tag refers to the rock border that surrounds the entire Alameda base site, built during WWII to protect the base from Japanese torpedoes that never materialized. It is a scenic addition to the area as well as a wonderful source of old folklore and the like.

Rock Wall Winery’s first release came in 2009, almost 2,000 cases of mostly Zinfandel and other odd-ball varietals according to Rosenblum. “We are already up to almost 10,000 cases and we utilize fruit from 39 different sources,” she explained. “These sources are located all the way from Soledad in the south to Mendocino in the north, practically all of wine-producing California.”

And, concerning the winery’s almost instant success, “We really weren’t prepared for the recognition we have experienced so far. We have had so much fun and I am surrounded by so many great people with extremely high energy levels. Around here, we believe that all this love and energy have been somehow transmitted to our wines. It has allowed for our rapid expansion.”

That development has also been fueled by some terrific press and competition scores, making Rock Wall Winery one of the few real success stories of the soft past two years in the California wine business. What the future holds for the fledgling winery is anyone’s guess.

“We want to continue producing wines in small quantities (around 800 – 900 cases per varietal). We want the wines to be really unpretentious, yet awesome in their own right. We have a great mixture of Zinfandel, Rhône varietals, and some wonderful Italian varietals to work with, and the wine drinking public seems to like just about everything we have made,” commented Rosenblum.

Shauna’s father Kurt is referred to as the “consulting winemaker,” and is available “whenever a tough question arises,” but Rock Wall Winery is definitely Shauna Rosenblum’s baby.

“We are extremely proud of our new tasting facility that is almost finished,” she added. “It is a geodetic dome located at the tip of Alameda with an incomparable view that is only minutes from the ferry that connects us to San Francisco. For people with a limited time in San Francisco who want to visit a winery, the ferry ride over is almost magical.”

Shauna Rosenblum is that rarest of individual whose compassion and enthusiasm dictate a sure winner. Her winery is well on its way to taking its place among the emerging pearls of the boutique industry that offers engaging wines and an even more compelling story behind the wines. It will be interesting to follow the development of Rock Wall Winery and its myriad of enjoyable wines. Wineries like this one make drinking wine all the more fun and enjoyable.

  1. Rock Wall
    2008 Zinfandel
    Rock Wall
    Sonoma County


    91 - Connoisseurs' Guide
    id: 716