376 Grand Ave., Oakland
Phone: (510) 686-3615
Ever since the news hit that wine stars Josiah Baldivino (former lead sommelier at Michael Mina) and wife Stevie Stacionis (director of communications at Corkbuzz) were plotting an Oakland bottle shop, local wine aficionados have been waiting with bated breath. Last week, Bay Grape finally debuted its wine shop and tasting room, which follows a unique retail format highlighting affordable bottles and pre-packaged picnic fare.
The open and airy 1,800-square-foot space features a 16-seat communal table and room for eight at the bar, so there's not too much room to linger. But artisanal cheeses, meats, nuts, potato chips and crackers are all available to-go at the new spot, which offers the option to dine in "picnic style" with a small board and utensils. "It's really 'make yourself comfortable and make yourself at home'," says Baldivino, who notes that this system ends up being a better deal for customers, since they can get retail pricing and easily take leftovers home.
On the drinks side of things, Bay Grape offers craft beers, ciders, and specialty sodas, but it's really all about wine at the new spot, which has what Baldivino describes as "a global selection that covers pretty much everyone's taste." With bottles averaging $20-$25, there's something for everyone available, and Bay Grape aims to provide low-key education in an easy-going and approachable way. Classes and educational guided tastings will happen four times a week (here's the schedule), and the shop will also offer another perk: in lieu of a by-the-glass offering, Baldivino says that patrons are always welcome to open any bottle in the shop for a $5 corkage on top of retail price.
A regular guest of the shop has already coined it "a bottle shop with benefits," with good reason: in addition to their in-store offering, the sommelier duo also hosts a Capay Valley CSA pickup complete with recipes and paired bottles (this week, it's a Graciano from Spain and a grower Champagne from JL Vergnon.)
After throwing a Grand opening party tomorrow, Bay Grape is open Monday-Saturday, 11am-10pm, and Sunday noon-9pm.