Makers' Districts Offer A Modern Third Space For Wineries
Article source: Forbes, Jill Barth
Tin City in Paso Robles, California feels like an old-fashioned neighborhood, even though the modern industrial design looks more like a refined, interesting set of warehouses with welcome mats and café umbrellas.
Sit at the taproom bar at Tin City Cider and a dog from say, ONX Wines, might come over for a drink at the doggie comfort station just outside. If you get lucky, so will Brian Terrizzi, of Giornata Wines, Jacob Toft of Jacob Toft or Brian Benson from Brian Benson Cellars—three of the most interesting small-batch wine producers in Paso Robles today.
They're in Tin City, working and hanging out, along with a generous handful other of cult-favorite Paso Robles wineries. The spot is so popular that wineries are moving in right next door, such as Cordant | Nelle and Seven Oxen Estate Wines.
But besides being hip, the concept is functional—it's attracting creative people because it's a creative notion. "We're still very micro," says ONX winemaker Brian Brown.
This is typical because Tin City appeals to local makers in need of both a workspace—such as a winery facility—as well as a hospitality space. They can keep opening hours or tastings by appointment and carry on with work in the back.
It's a refreshing experience for visitors: get dropped off or park and then stroll around, explore, taste, repeat. While you are there, meet the maker of your favorite wine, cider, beer or spirit. A signed-by-the-artist feel encourages guests to peek behind the curtain and see how their drink is made, and hopefully take some home to share with friends and family.
In the 80's and 90's people went to the mall for this ease and abundance—in a modern climate filled with locally-focused consumers, makers' districts such as Tin City offer a solution for both the visitor and the producer. They massage the idea of place by offering a third space while turning the second space (the workplace) into a functional hybrid.
Finding space and utility resources to make wine, beer, or spirits isn't always easy, but industrial slash hospitality spaces fit the bill and maker collectives are popping up around the country. Miralani Makers’ District in San Diego’s Miramar district is a gathering of "all varieties of fermented drinks" plus coffee, juice and food which can be delivered to any of the tasting rooms. The Source Hotel + Market Hall in Denver blends accommodations into the mix, and while occupants tend toward food, rather than drink, New Belgium Brewery is setting up shop to bring beer to what is being called a "culinary complex".
If you can't get to Tin City, you can still try these makers' districts wines at home. Here's a few to get you started:
Brian Benson Cellars 2014 Caliza S & M Paso Robles, California ($55)
Benson coferments 83% Syrah with 17% Mourvèdre from Caliza Vineyard in the high-elevation Willow Creek District, one of 11 Paso Robles sub-AVAs.
Nelle 2015 Maniacal, Paso Robles, California ($38)
A juicy blend packed with 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre from Kiler Canyon on the west side of Paso Robles, an area with a reputation for excellent Rhône variety cultivation.
Giornata Wines 2017 il Campo Bianco, Paso Robles, California ($20)
A fresh expression of fruit and minerality, 60% Pinot Grigio, 30% Falanghina topped off with Vermentino, and Verdelho that soaked on the skins for a few hours.
ONX Wines 2015 Mad Crush, Paso Robles, California ($48)
An unexpected blend of 38% Grenache, 37% Tempranillo and 5% Mourvèdre results in a bright, yet herbal wine with great structure.