Mario's been kickin' it with us at Tank for three years now, and it's no secret that we kinda like the dude. So when we were tasked with coming up with our next Instagram challenge, we decided to create Mario Month. We challenged you to snap a picture with him (or his cool life-sized cutout) and share it with us on the good old 'gram.
What inspired you to get into wine?
One of the main reasons I decided to join the wine industry was my dad. My dad worked for Franciscan Winery as a vineyard worker in the 90s and that was my first exposure to the wine industry. My biggest inspirations are my parents. They are the best. It's because of them that my biggest dream is to start up my own winery and brewery someday.
If you had to pick one blend from Tank to drink for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why? Any bottle past or present.
Space Cowboy Cab (nice choice, dude.)
How did you find Tank?
I found Tank 3 years ago when I decided to leave the wine cellar and move into a tasting room job. I always thought that it was a really cool tasting room.
What is your favorite part of your day at the Garage?
My favorite part of the day would be rolling in the sign and starting up the day.
What's goin' down when you aren't slinging wine behind the bar? Favorite past times?
When I'm not behind the bar I really enjoy cooking and making my own beer/ hard ciders. I am a huge sports fan so I love watching sports on tv.
What has been your favorite thing about growing up in the Napa Valley?
The best part of growing up in Napa Valley was enjoying the summer I got to hang out with my friends and be able to go fishing and hiking swimming. The summertime was always the best part.
Any last words for our Tank Friends?
Finally, to all my Tank people: Stay thirsty and enjoy all the great Tank blends.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most monumental events in music history. Woodstock Music Festival was a three-day festival brought together by peace, love, and music. It represented the height of the counterculture movement and its legacy in pop culture and music history still lives on today. The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hedrix–these are just a few of of the many legends that graced the stage on that rainy weekend. Let's take a look back at that famed weekend:
The festival was conceived by four young individuals hoping to make enough money from the event to open a recording studio. Nobody expected the festival to succeed–in fact, the festival almost didn't happen. It wasn't until April of 1969 when Creedence Clearwater Revival became the first act to sign a contract for the event. According to the Creedence drummer, Doug Clifford, "Once Creedence signed, everyone else jumped in line and all the other big acts came on." After being turned down by several other venues, a dairy farmer named Max Yasgur in Bethel, New York offered his 600-acre parcel of land for the gathering.
Festival producers only expected around 200,000 people to show up that weekend. Little did they know that nearly half a million people would flock to the festival grounds. It didn't take long before festival-goers abandoned their cars and set out on a 10+ mile journey to the venue. So many people showed up at the gates, in fact, that the festival organizers were forced to allow attendees free entry.
At 5:07 pm on August 15th, the festival began and history was made. It was rainy, it was muddy, but 50 years later, the memories still remain in the hearts of those that were there.
As a special 50 year anniversary celebration, the festival is being streamed in its entirety here.
Let's take a moment to talk about the event in history that ignited a movement.
50 years ago was a dark time for our friends in the LGBTQ+ community. Being gay, dressing in drag, and public displays of affection were met with police beatings, verbal abuse, or worse, which forced much of the LGBTQ+ community into the shadows. Enter: Stonewall. The hole in the wall tavern was run as an underground speakeasy and offered one of the only places for New York's queer community to truly be themselves without the watchful eye of law enforcement. In the years leading up to the Stonewall riots, more than 100 men were arrested every week just for being gay. Stonewall was a sanctuary for the community. In a time where other gay bars shunned drag queens and other members of the queer community, Stonewall opened their doors to all. But that wouldn't last for long.
In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, police raided the small Greenwich Village tavern without warning. Those inside were forced to line up against the wall, produce identification, and if their gender didn't appear to match their identification, they were arrested. Those without an ID were forced into a separate room to have their gender verified, and if they refused, they were arrested.
Outside, a crowd gathered and tensions rose. After members in the crowd were beaten with clubs and thrown into the backs of the patrol wagons, the crowd began to riot. Police retreated to the tavern, which was soon set on fire. Though the violence ended by 4 am, this was only the first night of protests. The LGBTQ+ community had taken a stand and they would not go quietly away into the night. The protests would last for 5 days.
Marking the 50th anniversary, Stonewall Forever acts as a living monument to honor this significant time in history.
This month we honor the brave individuals that paved the way to where we are today and celebrate our LBGTQ+ community. We have come a long way in the 50 years since the Stonewall Riots began, but we must still recognize that we still have much farther to go to achieve equality. We believe deeply in equal rights for all people, which is why when we were tasked with creating our third Tank Cares Label, we set out to create Love & Pride.
At Tank, we say Never Dream Alone–and we mean it. We push boundaries, embrace the bold, and celebrate those that struggle to fit in. This wine means something. The artwork on the bottle, titled Closet Door #1 by Hizze Fletcher-King tells the story of her own coming out journey. And she doesn't play it safe. Adorned with profane, powerful words long considered slurs, Hizze's goal is to establish ownership. "These are our words now. These words give the queer community strength." With our wine, we are proud to support this expression and challenge others to think and empathize with its message.
This zesty blend of Albariño, Marsanne, Malvasia Bianca, Gewürztraminer, and Tocai Friulano is a celebration in and of itself. It’s tart, it’s crisp, and everything you want in a summertime sipper. So pop a bottle, live large, shine bright, and always remember, you’ll never dream alone.
Love & Pride is our third Tank Cares label, and we are thrilled to be giving back to LGBTQ Connection, a foundation established in Napa and Sonoma counties in 2011. Napa and Sonoma are only an hour north of San Francisco, but they are world's apart in terms of visibility and community for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people in those communities. LGBTQ Connection is an initiative fueled by youth and other emerging leadership that fosters a healthier, more vibrantly diverse and inclusive community. We are committed to donating a minimum of $7500 to this powerful organization providing much-needed support to an underrepresented minority in our area.
This is the story of one of the coolest projects we've ever worked on.
Meet Marco. It goes without saying that he is one of the raddest people we know. Aside from being an all-around good dude, he's a badass surf photographer and an inspiration to all of us here at Tank. Earlier this year, he bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii and decided to chase his passions full time. Let me tell you, it paid off.
One night last summer, Marco put a bug in our ear about a surf-themed wine. And the more we thought about it, the more that we realized if we define art by the notions of craft, creativity, and expression, surfing may be the ultimate medium. From the shaping room to the water, the ideas expressed in surfing are natural and living in a way that few other art forms can be. With the help of Marco and a few friends, we decided to create a surfboard, a wine, and a coffee table book inspired by our shared passions and, as Marco put it, “capture all the laughs, fuck-ups and satisfaction of the entire process.”
Now introducing the hippie. We knew we wanted something that truly captured the vintage and free-spirited vibe of Tank, so when we came across the iconic 1960s photo of a naked hippie hitchhiking across the country, we knew we'd found the one. The board itself is an 8-foot single-fin cruiser, and damn does she look beautiful. No board is complete without a ride in the water, which is where the real fun begins.
Meet Tyler Payne, our shaper and the baller surfer you'll see on the bottles of Art of Surfing. A California kid who grew up in Pacifica, Tyler's been in the water since before he could walk, so it's no surprise that he took to surfing at a young age. He got into making surfboards back in 2011 after realizing that his boards were never going to feel quite right unless he took matters into his own hands.
For our surfboard, he invested three long hours of hand planing, rasping, and sanding to create the perfectly smooth and symmetrical shape. After glassing and polishing, our board was ready for its maiden voyage in the water. We headed out to a top-secret spot off Hwy 1 with Marco, Tyler, and a few friends, and damn, did we have ourselves a good time. When we started going through all of our shots, we just couldn't help ourselves, so we decided to create six unique labels for the release.
The wine itself is a blend of Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Barbera–a wine with, as our winemaker Bertus puts it, "a California sun-kissed vibe." Each blend that we make at Tank is something unique, and this wine is no different. Art of Surfing hits you on the first sip with juicy raspberries and pomegranates before taking you on a journey filled with aromas of cinnamon, dark cherries, and tobacco. Needless to say, this is going to be a killer summertime red. If you've got plans for firing up the grill, do yourself a favor and pop one of these bad boys. You won't be disappointed.
Want to read all the juicy details behind the project? Grab yourself a copy of our Coffee Table book. We documented everything about this project, from the making of the board to the blending of the wine. It's chock full of stunning photography and artists backgrounds. Don't wait though, because this one's in limited supply.
We're doin' things a little different this spring with our first-ever Carbonic Maceration Natural Wine.
Say what? Lemme break it down for you. Most of the wine that you're used to sippin' on is made from the standard yeast-fueled fermentation, where grapes are destemmed, placed into tank, and either naturally occurring or manually added yeast strains convert the grape juice into alcohol. When wines are made via Carbonic Maceration, fermentation begins inside each individual berry. Crazy, right? First, we started by placing while clusters of Cinsault into our fermentation tanks and pumping the sealed vat full of carbon-dioxide to remove any oxygen. This causes the berries to release an enzyme that functions similarly to yeast and begins turning the grape sugars into alcohol. After a certain amount of time in tank (ours took nine days), the wine reaches 2% ABV, and the berries begin to burst. From there, we put the fermenting clusters through our press and back into the fermentation tank they went. At this point, native yeasts naturally occurring on the fruit finish the fermentation process, and the wine is placed into neutral French oak barrels to await bottling. Because we went au natural on this one, there was no fining, filtering, or any additions to the wine throughout the entire process.
The grapes come from a young vineyard called Snows Crossing in El Dorado County in the Sierra Foothills. Because it sits at an elevation of 3100', the grapes get a nice cool breeze throughout the growing season with plenty of sunshine. The result? Perfectly ripened fruit with just the right amount of acidity. The soils are primarily red volcanic with granite and iron oxide, which makes it perfect for growing Rhone varietals like Cinsault. We got word of this unique vineyard back in the spring of 2018 through our talented grower and friend, Ken Musso, who manages the property. We had long been on the hunt for more unique varieties and when Ken drove us up to Snows Crossing to show us his prized grown Cinsault and Tocai Friulano blocks we committed to the site and the grapes right on the spot. The words “we'll take 'em” probably left our lips about 2 minutes after we had stepped foot in the vineyard. We used grapes from this vineyard for Some Girls, but they also made an appearance in Stars Like Ours and few other unreleased wines yet to come.
Our label for this unique limited production wine features a photograph of the top half of a hand-painted female mannequin from the 1960s. As we were wandering through a local thrift store, we were captivated by the character and personality of the vintage piece. With a brightly painted face, pink lips and alluring aqua eyes, she reminds us that Some Girls, the cool ones at least, dance to the beat of their own drum. We believe that being different is good and that we don’t always have to conform–we can grow, dream, and be anything we want. This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered with no added sulfites allowing this girl to find her natural rhythm.
So, how'd it go?
HOLY SHIT ARE WE PSYCHED ABOUT THIS WINE. It's funky, fresh, and oh so much fun. Chill this wine down for about 30 minutes prior to opening, and dance to your own beat! You're going to want to open your bottle (or three) by the Fall Equinox. Act now, because we only made 45 cases.
One of Tank's prized possessions is our beloved pinball machine. But this isn't just any run-of-the-mill pinball game. We've got a 1977 Evel Knievel Bally Professional Series 1 Home Model, with two flippers, three pop bumpers, two passive bumpers, two slingshots and a deluxe kick-out hole…ahem…if you want to be exact.
We decided to do some digging on the history of pinball, and what we found was pretty damn interesting:
For real. Not only was it considered a form of gambling, lawmakers legit thought the pinball industry had mafia ties. Crazy, right? But there's more. The mayor of New York orchestrated straight-up raids on pinball halls, smashing the games with sledgehammers and dumping them into the Hudson River.
That came in 1947. Prior to that, players maneuvered the ball by bumping, shaking, and tilting the machine. If it weren't for the flipper, we'd still be playing in seedy back rooms hiding from the man.
In 1976, over 40 years after the pinball ban began, a man named Roger Sharpe saved the day. Called as a star witness, this pinball wizard was considered one of the best in the country. But there was one hell of a curve ball thrown his way when the court demanded that he demonstrate his skill on the backup machine...the one he hadn't practiced on. In a Babe Ruth style move, he called his shot stating the ball would go through the middle lane on his next turn. With a swift shot of the flipper, that little silver ball zoomed through the middle lane, and the ban was overturned.
Want to know more? Here's an awesome doc you can watch on the youtube.
Now if you just want to drink some cool wines and play some pinball, make sure to stop by the garage and hang with us. ✌️
We're taking one giant leap for winemaking with our first Pét-Nat Sparkling Wine.
First of all, what exactly is Pét-Nat? Good question. Short for Pétillant Naturel and translated to "Natural Sparkling," this is the OG French method of making sparkling wine and dates back to the early 16th century. While most sparkling wines have their effervescence added during a second fermentation, Pét-Nat wines are bottled before they complete their first fermentation and the bubbles are produced by natural sugars in the grape juice.
The process is laborious, expensive and hard. The first two times we attempted to make a Pét-Nat, things didn't go as planned. Two years of learning and refinement later, we finally perfected the craft and the result is Space Crush.
Our friends from Babcock Ranch in Solano County hooked us up with a few small lots of their celestial Riesling. After some manual foot-stomping and a run through the basket press, the fermentation process began. After a few weeks, we moved the juice to bottles where the fermentation continued.
Then, we had to hand bottle and top each and every one of these using this filler and bright red Ferarri (yes, like the car) crown capper. Every. Single. Bottle. By. Hand. If that doesn't make Pet-Nat isn't a labor of love, we don't know what does.
Notice how the bottles look a little hazy, or might have some "stuff" in them? Space Crush is a natural wine and was not fully filtered. Because of this, there will be sediment inside each bottle from the Pét-Nat process that tells you it is legit. It's dirty, embrace it.
The label is fit for a Warhol exhibit. Since our first Pét-Nat was so out of this world, we decided on a retro cosmonaut theme, available in three mod colorways. The fun part? You'll receive a completely random color when you order.
And how'd it turn out? OH MY GOD. We nailed this one. It's fresh, crisp and complex with a floral perfume and green apple, peachy notes that endlessly orbit around your mouth. The texture is fascinating, the bubbles so satisfying and the finish extends to the moon.
Long before the masses started to flock to Napa Valley to sip on world-class wines and savor stupendous food, Calistoga’s majestic hot springs promised relaxation and healing to visitors both near and far.
Nothing in Calistoga is ordinary, including spa treatments. Darby opted for the Wine Country Scrub, a luxurious exfoliation with a little bit of wine-country swagger thanks to the scrub made from crushed grape seeds.
Next up, Grace got Perfectly Muddled. A spin on Calistoga’s famed historic mud baths, you get down and dirty in the garden, slathering your skin in mud and relaxing under the sun as it dries.
Mario stepped up to get the Groom and Go. This one’s for the guys and their skin needs. Curated, manly products (nothing frilly) help shed dead skin cells and replaced with newer, healthier ones. The result: Glowing skin and one happy Mario.
Bertus soaked his cares away in a gorgeous clawfoot tub during the Splish-Splash, an ode to the social bathhouses of days gone yonder.
Sigh. So relaxing.
Cheers to treating yo'self and thanks again to the homies at the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa for the heavenly day. We'll be back!