Tin Barn Vineyards | Amy Tsaykel

Location, Location, Location….

In Uncategorized on 08/21/2009 at 2:49 pm

To find us, you'll definitely need to look for the signs...

Your GPS won't cut it: to find us, look for the signs.

“Where Am I?”

It’s one of the first questions new visitors ask. Tucked in the back lot of an unromantic industrial park, Tin Barn is no grand vintner’s castle. In this way, it defies the stereotypical notion of what a Northern California winery should be. But that’s often why people seek the place out. Last week, a guest described Tin Barn as a “harem tent in the middle of a desert”—a place of indulgence where you’d least expect it.

This “harem tent” is where my experiential, sensory, seat-of my-pants wine education is taking place. During my initial month, I’ve had a good chance to scope it out … and Toto, this former cubicle-dweller is (happily) not in the Financial District anymore. Here’s the lowdown on Tin Barn’s unique location:


What’s better than one innovative and committed artisanal winery? Twelve of them in one block. Tin Barn is surrounded on all sides by folks also in the biz, joining with eight of those to form Eighth Street Wineries. (I suppose this makes us less like a harem tent, and more like a caravan … but you get the picture.)

At a group open house a few weeks ago, I was able to meet some of the neighbors and taste some of their wines (including a yummy merlot from Ty Caton). I sensed straightaway a passion and personality amid this group. Tin Barn is in good company; my resources are broader for it.


No, those aren’t Tin Barn’s vineyards out back. They make a pretty backdrop, though, don’t they?

Tin Barn wine is actually vineyard designate, which (for my fellow neophytes) means that each varietal comes from a single vineyard. What’s so great about that? you might ask. It’s a pretty important detail: Obtaining the grapes from specialty growers in optimal locations means our wine retains its best possible character.

Our facility is in the Carneros appellation, and we do make a few wines sourced from this region. The rest come from other parts of Sonoma and Napa. In an upcoming post, I’ll be taking you on a trip to one of the vineyards from which we source our syrah.


Yep, this is where the magic happens. The place smells so strongly of grapes that I practically see purple when I walk in the door. Every aspect of winemaking takes place here, including the bottling, which is facilitated by a mobile bottling truck. In addition to Tin Barn wines, winemaker Mike Lancaster runs the joint as a custom crush facility for other wineries; a wall of barrels bears their names.

Imaginably, Mike’s a busy guy, but generously leads tours when available. I always try to tag along. I’m eager for harvest season, when the cellar sees its prime action….

Tasting Room

This is where you will find me, of course. Tin Barn’s tasting room was launched a year ago with the help of marketing consultant Sandy Maus. Arriving this summer, what I noticed was its refreshing lack of pretentiousness–characteristic of Sandy herself. This can provide a lively and welcoming experience, and a great informational exchange.

As I soak up impressions of the winemaking process and the broader industry, I’m keeping that priority front and center. If you can follow your nose to our Sonoma oasis, together we’ll discover the nuances of fine handcrafted wines.


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