The Castro District’s Bottle Bacchanal is a woman-owned boutique bottle shop that specializes in natural wine and small-batch artisanal spirits. The shop is known for its exceptional selection and but also its focus on women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ producers. There’s a story behind every bottle in her shop, and owner Beth Hughes is a gifted storyteller.
The shop sells craft beer, cider, and specialty liquors but has a strong focus on natural wine. This type of wine is often compared to sourdough bread in its use of native yeast strains and traditional techniques. It’s a fitting comparison because Hughes spent most of her career working as a bread baker and pastry chef at celebrated bakeries like SF’s Tartine Bakery.
Like sourdough bread, customers tend to walk in with established opinions about natural wine. ” A lot of people have this idea that natural wine is intense, vinegary, and volatile, but you can also just get a natural crisp clean bottle that tastes similar to the wine you’ve been drinking your whole life,” commented Hughes. “I really wanted to showcase the approachability of natural wines.”
One way that Hughes bridges this gap is by hosting frequent tastings and pop-ups, giving curious customers the opportunity to experience wines from a wide range of small producers. Tastings range from a tasting of autumnal red wines to a sampling of small-batch vermouths and amaros as well as frequent visits from winemakers themselves.
The shop also hosts weekend bakery pop-ups from some of SF’s most talented pastry chefs and is hosting a “Holiday Maker’s Market and Fundraiser” on December 3rd.
When asked about some of her current favorites Hughes mentioned a “big, bold, bone-dry orange wine” from Artana Wines in the country of Georgia. The company is helmed by two sisters who took over their family vineyard from their parents in 2015 and converted it to produce 100% natural wines. It’s a story of tradition, evolution, and two women helping to revolutionize a male-dominated industry. Their story is one of the hundreds that Hughes loves to share, and part of what makes a trip to Bottle Bacchanal so special.
- Somebody’s Sister
Friday, October 28, 7-9 pm
This popular dyke/lesbian/non-binary/trans/
queer wine bar is having a spooky pop-up at Bottle Bacchanal. They’ll be pouring all female-made wines. Drink tickets will be available at the door.
- Year of the Snake Bakery Pop-Up
Sunday, October 30, 11 am-2 pm
An Asian pastry pop-up featuring cheesecake, warm tea eggs, and other favorites.
Thursday, November 3, 5-8 pm
A special sparkling wine tasting from T. Edwards Wines. Selection TBD.
You can visit Bottle Bacchanal at 4126 18th Street in San Francisco.
Featured image: @bottlebacchanal via Instagram