Berkeley’s Gilman District, packed with historic warehouses, quaint residences, and innovative makers, is also home to several of the region’s best wineries. If you’re willing to forgo the vineyard views, this neighborhood offers an outstanding day of wine tasting without the long drive to Napa.
Several of the wineries mentioned below participate in the First Friday Block Party, which takes place on the first Friday of every month and includes delicious wine, food, live music, and more.
Berkeley’s first natural winery, Donkey & Goat, is credited with being one of the first to list ingredients on its wine bottles. Owner Tracey Rogers Brandt is a celebrated winemaker as well the driving force behind the development of the Berkeley wine district. Their airy tasting room and sunny patio are the perfect venues to celebrate their incredible wines including Lily’s Pét Nat, a popular sparkling chardonnay that they first debuted in 2011. They also offer a variety of tasting experiences if you want to sample a few glasses.
Location: 1340 5th St, Berkeley
2. Vinca Minor
Sitting on an otherwise industrial block, Vinca Minor is warm, welcoming, and an excellent place to spend an afternoon. Enjoy their barrel-filled tasting room and sunny patio, which plays host to rotating food vendors including Dos Raciez Baja style tacos and Palestinian vegan food from Mish Mish. This urban winery produces delicious classics like chardonnay and carignan alongside exciting co-ferments like pear & sauvignon blanc under their Moonland label.
Location: 1335 Fourth St, Berkeley
3. Broc Cellars
Winemaker Christ Brockway started Broc Cellars in 2006 and has been making wine in Berkeley since 2008. Broc approach to wine is using only native yeasts and little to no sulfur. Grapes are intentionally picked early which gives Broc wines a pleasant acidity. Broc offers tastings every weekend, which are available for reservation and walk-ins. Japanese street food pop-up Daruma Kiosk provides tasty treats for purchase nearly every Saturday.
Location: 1300 5th Street, Berkeley
If you’re in the mood for low-intervention sparkling wine, Hammerling is your spot. Founded in 2018, they are focused on producing low-intervention sparkling wine using grapes grown in cool-climate California vineyards along the coast. Their tasting room and bottle shop are open Friday through Sunday, by appointment, and open to walk-ins.
Location: 1350 5th St, Berkeley
5. Lusu Cellars
David Teixeira, the founder of Lusu Cellars, comes from a long line of Portuguese winemakers. He blends traditional and modern methods to produce wine with a deep connection to the land. In addition to the classics, Lusu produces The Farmer’s Hand, a southern Portugal-style blend, and A Mad Era, a 6-year aged Madeira-style California dessert wine. The tasting room is open on Saturdays only, reservations are required.
Location: 805 Camelia Street, Berkeley
This fast-growing winery started in 2003 and produces wines from grapes grown in Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria, Sonoma, Napa, Lake County, and Lodi. Inspired by incredible wines that they tasted from Israel, in 2013 they started producing wine in Israel under their Covenant Israel label, including a Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastings are available on Saturday and Sunday, with reservations required.
Location: 1102 6th Street, Berkeley
Maître de Chai translates to the keeper of the cellar, or the person responsible for the development and aging of wine. They focus on producing high-quality, limited-intervention wine, that captures the personality of each individual vineyard. Their tasting room isn’t currently open but it’s worth keeping an eye on these folks for when they do. You can still pick up online orders on-site.
Location: 2315 Fourth Street, Berkeley
Featured image: @donkeyandgoat via Instagram