There are so many chateaus and castles in the valley, but there’s only one gas station tasting room and it’s sittin’ pretty in Calistoga, California. Cool California vibes, vintage decor, and unusual blends bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you will get at a winery. If you’re looking for something a little different to enjoy and share with friends and family, then you know we’ve got the coolest wine club in Napa Valley.
The benefits of membership are endless. To start, there is absolutely no cost to join. Our unique wine club gives you a number of perks: 10-20% off wines and merch, 2-6 free tastings every time you come into the garage, discrete access to our members only speakeasy lounge, and tickets to our garage sale parties we host a few times a year. You will also receive a free shirt or hat upon sign up!
We release wines 5 times a year in February, April, July, October, and December and members may skip up to two consecutive releases. With tons of flexibility, our members have the option to fully customize their shipments prior to billing to ensure they get the wines they really want.
One of the most unique parts of our wine club is access to our hidden speakeasy lounge in the back of the garage. The back room alone took a whole year to renovate. Through the curtain, you’ll find a gaudy chandelier and lounge seating with gothic velour wallpaper. Old photos of Napa during the 1920s line the walls in ornate gold frames. It’s a different kind of vibe back there. Secret, sultry, and just for you.
Come on down! A few times a year we throw a garage sale party (timed around the club release) where we open the garage door, park a food truck, and pour unlimited wines. While rocking out to some sick jams, feel free to roam and use our giant cornhole boards and giant Jenga or try to nab the high score on the lot of old pinballs machines stationed inside. Our parties are legendary (we may or may not have had the cops shut it down in the past).
We’re always pumping out rad new wines so as a wine club member, you will always get to try something different. You will never get the same thing twice since every bottle is a one-off and we have handpicked them just for you. In addition to red wine, white wine, and rose, we also dabble in the dazzling worlds of orange wine, sparkling pet nats, natural wine, carbonically macerated wines, and so on. We collaborate with tattoo artists, digital artists, and photographers to create some of the most eccentric labels you’ve seen on a bottle. So if you’re adventurous and love trying new things, we’re the winery for you.
If you’re game, join the club and get to know our wines, the vineyards we source our fruit from, and the rad folks who bring them to you. It’s one you won’t forget.
When tasting in Napa Valley, we know you’re looking for the most fun winery experience. We got you. For approximately an hour, we will pour you through four unique, limited release wines, delving into stories behind our one of a kind labels and the history behind our treasured spot. We pay attention to the little things: the tables are made of old wine barrels and the garage is decked out with Indian motorcycle memorabilia, a custom-made surfboard, and an Evil Knievel pinball machine. Feel free to wander the garage, play a few rounds of pinball, check out our specially curated merch room, or just hang with our staff. We think tasting wine should be easy, chill, and accessible for everyone and that’s the experience we’ve created at Tank. No judgment. No pressure. No frills. Everything we do is with our heart and soul.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic bringing all of our lives to a seemingly forced halt, life in the vineyards of wine country continues on. The biggest change has been the silence; there’s a new lack of hustle and bustle from the cars lining up highway 12 up and down the valley. Back in July of 2020, Governor Newsom issued an order mandating that wine tastings must cease in 19 counties. For a small, family-owned winery, the news was tough but we know it was the right thing to do. In December of 2020, a regional stay at home order has forced closure again for over 3 weeks. For wineries all over, it seems a pivot to online experiences is in order. You can shut us down, but we’ll keep trudging on and find new ways to adapt.
We are implementing important measures to assure the safety of our employees and our guests. We have enlisted in tasting room precautions to ensure an experience enjoyable for everyone. When the tasting room is open, all Tank Garage Winery staff will be screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature screenings. Employees will not be allowed to work when they exhibit any such symptoms. All Tank Garage Winery staff will wear personal face coverings. Guests must also wear face coverings at all times, with the exception of when wine has been served to them for their experience. Hand sanitizer will be available at multiple locations around our property. Guests are asked to wash or sanitize their hands upon arrival, and to follow good hygiene practices at all times.
To make sure we are able to provide a safe wine tasting experience, we have followed all of the safety guidelines recommended by the state. While we were open, service took place outdoors and indoors with parties not exceeding 6 guests at a time. We limited the number of parties on property at any time, and all tables were stationed at least 6 feet apart. Guests must also comply with our social distancing requirements, and be mindful of maintaining distance from other visitors and our employees at any time they are away from their tasting experience area. Tastings during a pandemic may be limited, but guests are able to enjoy a more personalized, one on one experience with their host. We are truly thankful for the times we are able to be open during COVID-19.
When we first read the forecast for dry lightning, we didn’t know what to expect. To our dismay, dry lightning amped up our fire season like nothing we’ve ever seen. But the resiliency of Calistoga is astonishing. In 2020, fires roared out of control in California, destroying much of wine country and displacing thousands of people. In just a few days, the Glass fire erupted in size and destroyed upwards of 80 homes and wineries. All wineries were affected by the Calistoga wildfire in a city highly reliant on tourism. At Tank, we mourn the loss of the wineries who were destroyed in the fires and were terrified when the fires only reached a mile from our little garage. The recovery efforts will take time and we are so thankful for those who have supported us through this year of unpredictable disruption.
As part of this year’s adaptation, we are stoked to be able to provide a way to enjoy our wines from anywhere. We're making it easier than ever to gather with friends and family with our insanely cool virtual wine experiences. Bring the Tank Garage Winery experience to your home. In this one-hour private Virtual Tasting, a member of our team will taste you through 3-4 wines over Zoom. You'll learn about our unique varieties, vineyards, winemaking methods, and worst break-up stories. A wine experience on Zoom may sound intimidating, but our staff makes it super comfortable and fun. We’ve even incorporated wine trivia into our tasting experience to further engage with our favorite folks and so y’all have a shot at winning some prizes. Happy tasting!
Our crew has been working tirelessly through the pandemic and we’re so grateful to have them on our team. Help keep our crazy band of misfits doin’ what they do best and give us a call down at the tasting room. Our goal is to create a memorable experience you won’t forget so we found the finest in the business. When you walk through the front door, it is like walking into a friend’s house. We have the raddest crew around with Heath rockin' the stereo, Jacey singin’ a tune, Conary flexing his camo, and Aaron dropping some hot somm knowledge. From club member, Steph H: “Every experience I've had with a team member there has been fun, educational, and genuine. Almost like hanging out with friends!”
Hey there! Welcome to Tank Garage Winery, the coolest winery in Napa Valley. No... really. Visiting the tasting room is like taking a trip back in time to a 1920s gas station turned speakeasy, pouring rad as shit wines and playing bomb as hell music. Cool California vibes mixed with vintage decor bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you’ll get at a winery. Every day, we celebrate this crazy dream turned into a movement where we get to do cool shit and you get to come along for the ride. We celebrate the adventurers, the dreamers, the weirdos, the free spirits, and the misfits. So next time you’re in town, you won’t want to miss out. Come by our little garage and celebrate with us.
Let’s talk vineyards! Ann Kraemer is known for her meticulous creation of Shake Ridge Ranch in Sutter Creek, California. She spent 25 years in vineyard management and development in Napa Valley, Oregon, and Chile and longed for a place of her own to work on. From a longtime farming family, she bought the property with her father in 2001. Of 8 siblings she was the only one to stay in agriculture.
Shake Ridge is surprisingly young for how well known its fruit is, having been cultivated in 2001 and only begun yielding in 2005. Shake Ridge has reached a level of fame unmatched by vineyards in the same location that has been around for generations. With Kraemer’s love for puzzles, she considers this venture the ultimate puzzle; the vineyard is divided into tidy blocks of vines pieced as snugly together as a jigsaw.
Shake Ridge Ranch straddles the Sierra Foothills 1800 ft above sea level, featuring approximately 42 acres of wine grapes in several blocks, each boasting unique soil characteristics, microclimates, and slope. The overall soil at the vineyard consists of well-drained loam with quartz, shale, soapstone, and a touch of granite. Before planting, Kraemer dug up six-foot deep pits around various locations to analyze the soil and determine which grapes would be best planted where. For example, Barbera craves heat so those vines are orientated on west-facing slopes. Petite Sirah was planted at the base of the vineyard, where the soil is more fertile and the climate is cooler. Shake Ridge is farmed organically, even though they aren’t certified, using organic fertilizer and composting to promote natural movement, cover crops for soil erosion control, and using natural predators to attack pests. The calling of the vineyard is for as minimal intervention as possible while maintaining the strongest, healthiest plants.
The rad thing about Shake Ridge wine is that 80% of Kraemer’s famous fruit is sold while 20% is kept for her label. “I’m giving them really good ingredients like you see on those cooking shows everyone watches, like ‘Iron Chef,’” Kraemer says. “The contestants are given the same ingredients and they make completely different meals with those same ingredients. That’s what I think is so cool.” Kraemer takes her relationship with grape customers to the next level. She is well-respected for her attention to detail and works closely with winemakers to give them the best possible grapes for their desired style of wine. She also hosts an event, “The Shades of Shake Ridge,” where winemakers are invited to meet and share their wines made with Kraemer’s fruit.
Our most recent wine from Shake Ridge is called Middle Finger and sold out of 325 cases in just one day. Middle Finger is a blend of 95% Barbera, 3% Primitivo, and 2% Graciano. It is a shimmery shade of garnet in color, with aromas of herbal cherry, violets in bloom, and maraschino cherry. In your mouth, it’s like a strawberry gusher (remember those?!), with tart strawberry, blue Icee (or those?), and creamy vanilla bean flavors balanced by mouth-watering acidity and a finish that JUST. DOES. NOT. QUIT. We are forever grateful to folks like Ann who keep the dream of creating cool wines a reality for us.
The story behind the garage begins with Eddie Bratton, a young fella from Fargo, North Dakota. He bought his first motorcycle bike in 1926 at the age of 15 and eventually rode out from Fargo to California, surviving solely on onion sandwiches and potatoes he'd dig up from rural farms. Eddie started at Hap Jones' Indian Motorcycle dealership in San Francisco, tuning bikes and manufacturing custom "Bratton Cams," his rendition for the nation’s top riders looking for an extra boost.
When he wasn’t working, he was riding. He competed annually in the Catalina Grand Prix, one of the biggest races in the country at the time. According to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, it was a 100-mile event held on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles and the course was a mixture of road, dirt fire trails, singletrack, and even went through a golf course. Many big riders skipped the Grand Prix to avoid embarrassment when riders who typically dominated the race came out on top.
One of his favorite tricks while riding was with his wife. He would stand on one foot peg and raise his body off the seat on that side. His wife would scoot under him and he would slide back, swapping him as the driver. Consider it the motorcycle version of the Chinese fire drill except while the bike was moving. Then, they’d catch up with their group and surprise their fellow riders with her in charge.
He was known for his devotion to Indian motorcycles, considering them tried and true. He opened up his shop where Tank sits today, racing and repairing classic bikes until retiring in the early 80s. His custom 1947 Indian Chief still sits in our brick hallway with his trophies line on the wall behind it. Some tasting room staff may say that Eddie still hangs out in the back hallways of the garage. True legends never die but don’t worry, he’s not the hell-raiser he used to be.
The inspiration behind Tank comes from a visit our owner, James Harder, took earlier in his career to a gas station winery in Walla Walla, Washington. A wine bottle shop, a pet shop, and a few other miscellaneous ventures along the way, our very own Harder then discovered our little garage in 2014 and saw something different. With an extensive marketing background, he had no idea he possessed all the tools to create the best tasting room in Calistoga. A little dreamin’ later, Tank Garage Winery was born.
When you step into Tank Garage Winery today, you can feel the presence of a story. There’s something different about walking into a location that has taken on many different hats over the years. Strolling through the big restored rolling garage door and pouring wines under a giant lubrication sign, we think Eddie would be proud. The preservation of the history of the garage combined with a love for cool, new wines has created your new favorite place to hang.
Hey there! Welcome to Tank Garage Winery, the coolest winery in Napa Valley. No... really. Visiting the tasting room is like taking a trip back in time to a 1920s gas station turned speakeasy, pouring rad as shit wines and playing bomb as hell music. Cool California vibes mixed with vintage decor bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you’ll get at a winery. We think tasting wine should be easy, chill, and accessible for everyone and that’s the experience we’ve created at Tank. No judgment. No pressure. No frills. Everything we do is with our heart and soul.
When tasting in Napa Valley, we know you’re looking for the most fun winery experience. We got you. For approximately an hour, we will pour you through four limited release wines, delving into stories behind our one of a kind labels and the history behind our treasured spot. We pay attention to the little things: the tables are made of old wine barrels and the garage is decked out with Indian motorcycle memorabilia, a custom-made surfboard, and an Evil Knievel pinball machine. Feel free to wander the garage, play a few rounds of pinball, check out our specially curated merch room, or just hang with our staff.
At the best tasting room in Calistoga, you get top-notch wines paired with god-tier service. Our goal is to create a memorable experience you won’t forget so we found the finest in the business. When you walk through the front door, it is like walking into a friend’s house. We have the raddest crew around with Heath rockin' the stereo, Jacey singin’ a tune, Conary flexing his camo, and Aaron dropping some hot somm knowledge. From club member, Steph H: “Every experience I've had with a team member there has been fun, educational, and genuine. Almost like hanging out with friends!”
At the coolest winery in Napa Valley, our wines revolve around the art of the blend, a testament to the way wine used to be made during the days of Prohibition. As far south as Central Valley, north as Mendocino, and scattered across Napa Valley, we source our fruit from all over California. We tend to favor small, family-owned wineries and people we’ve met along the way. Teroldego, Cinsault, Picpoul, and Valdiguie are just a few of the obscure grape varietals we’ve used recently that you probably haven’t heard of. We push the boundaries of winemaking with unfined, unfiltered wines, sparkling pet nats, orange wines, carbonic wines, and so much more. Even the most experienced wine taster might learn a little something.
Most wineries don’t emphasize how important sick merch is. We decided to create merch that we want ourselves. From harmonicas to flasks to clothes to beach blankets, if you need a gift off the beaten path, we’re your spot. Our tees are screen printed on the softest 100% cotton shirts of your dreams (we know we caught your eye with the “Who the fuck is Tank Garage Winery?” one).
Every day, we celebrate this crazy dream turned into a movement where we get to do cool shit and you get to come along for the ride. We celebrate the adventurers, the dreamers, the weirdos, the free spirits, and the misfits. So next time you’re in town, you won’t want to miss out. Come by our little garage and celebrate with us.
The Russian River flows steadily along the highway road into the small town of Ukiah, darting around mountains and moss-covered oak trees. Fall has sauntered on into December this year as the brittle leaves are still crisping into orange and yellow hues. The berries that remain on the vines are shriveled and withered. While marching through one of the rows, we discovered a little sparrow’s nest situated in-between two shoots, long-abandoned like the grape leaves beneath it. The vines are dormant and ready for pruning to invigorate next year’s growth. It seems that the transition from Fall to Winter is a quiet time of tranquility in the vineyards, lacking the hustle and bustle of the pruners and viticulturists arriving in the Spring and harvesting through the year.
Winemaking has a lengthy history in Mendocino with 108 local wineries still producing. Specifically, Ukiah houses many small vineyards which are typically five or fewer acres, but the area is home to quite possibly the deepest grape-growing roots in the country. During Prohibition, nearly all wineries were eradicated and replaced with fruit and tree nut orchards, but some remains of those deserted wineries still exist. Today, Mendocino is well-known for dominating the green wine movement, with ¼ of grapes in the region grown and farmed organically.
We took a trip to the Enlightenment vineyard in Mendocino County where we previously sourced fruit from 85-year-old vines for Bohdi, our newly released Chenin Blanc, farmed naturally and organically. We picked and whole-cluster-pressed our Chenin Blanc using native yeast fermentation in a barrel with a partial natural malolactic fermentation to create a wine that’s both fresh and creamy. The Enlightenment Vineyard sits just a few miles east of downtown Ukiah and about a mile away from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, one of the largest Buddhist communities in the Western hemisphere. There’s something so peaceful about soundlessly trudging through the vineyards that source the grapes to make our wine while it’s unattended. If you were to capture the moment in a snow globe, it’s like being enclosed within a mini-ecosystem, ever-changing and evolving.
Winter is well on its way and we've been yearning for soul-satisfying recipes to warm our bellies. Beef Bourguignonne Pot Pie is the ultimate comfort food and hot damn does it make a luscious pairing for our tempestuous Bordeaux-style blend, Wild Eyes.
This recipe takes a bit of time, but we promise it'll be worth it in the end. Do yourself a favor and whip up the Beef Bourguignonne a day ahead of time – the flavor is incredible if you let it sit overnight before assembling the pot pie.
Beef Bourguignonne Pot Pie
1 lb beef chuck, cubed into 1" pieces
olive oil, as needed
1 med onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 med carrot, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 qt beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
Yukon gold potatoes, diced
2.66 oz butter, cold, cubed
4 oz all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1.25 fl oz cold water
Heat oven to 325º F
Pat cubed beef dry with paper towels and generously season with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of olive oil until you begin to see the oil begin to slightly ripple. Working in batches, sear the beef until browned on all sides, draining the pan between batches, and adding a fresh tablespoon of olive oil per batch. Once browned, remove meat from pan and set aside for future use.
Tip: Don't overcrowd the pan and get a deep brown crust on all sides of the beef. This will further enhance the flavor of your stew.
Add onions, celery and carrots to pan over medium heat and cook, gently scraping the fond (seared brown bits from the beef) from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables begin to soften (about five minutes), add garlic and tomato paste cook for an additional three to five minutes. The tomato paste should begin to turn a dark rust color.
Add wine, beef broth, bay leaf, thyme and seared beef to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, place lid on the pot, and place in the pre-heated oven for two hours.
Tip: Use low or no-sodium beef broth to have full control of your seasoning level.
Tip #2: Use inexpensive (but drinkable) red wine. No need to waste the Wild Eyes!
Remove pot from oven and add diced potatoes. Place back into the oven and cook for an additional hour, or until all the vegetables are cooked, beef is tender and the broth has thickened. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow stew to cool to room temperature before assembling pot pie.
Tip: Prepare Beef Bourguignonne the day before making pot pie – the flavor will improve if you give them a chance to meld together overnight.
Place flour and salt in a bowl and whisk combine. Add cold butter and rub into the flour using your hands. Once the pieces of butter resemble the size of small peas, add cold water a little bit at a time, mixing the dough with your hands until it just beings to come together. Tip: Dough may look a bit crumbly at this point, but will hold together if you pinch it between your fingers.
Empty dough mixture onto a clean, flat surface and gently knead to form a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375º
Transfer Beef Bourguignonne to a 9" cast iron skillet and fill to a little less than an inch from the top. Do not overfill – the filling will bubble over the crust while cooking in the oven.
Remove pie crust from the refrigerator and allow to rest for five to ten minutes on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to approximately 1/8" thickness, creating about an 11" circle. Be sure to check the bottom of your crust is not sticking to the surface when rolling out dough. Add a small amount of flour to the surface as needed to prevent sticking.
Tip: No rolling pin? No problem! Grab a wine bottle – it'll do the job.
Place pie crust over cast iron skillet and pinch with fingers to form a fluted edge. Cut four small slits in the center of the crust. Brush the top and edges of the crust with an egg wash (egg mixed with a bit of milk or water) and place in the oven for forty-five minutes to one hour, or until the crust is golden brown.
Serve and savor your hard work!
Recipe by Grace Coyne
If you’re a fan of Green Day, Linkin Park, Deftones, or Gary Clark Jr., you’ve probably seen Frank Maddocks’ work. A 20-year vet with Warner Music Group, Frank is the man behind some of the most iconic album covers of our time. And as an artist, he’s only getting started.
Born and bred in Los Angeles, Frank grew up within Venice’s burgeoning culture of surf, skate, and music and attributes his viscerally textured aesthetics to the DIY street art found throughout Southern California. After graduating from the ArtCenter College of Design and a few freelance surf gigs, Frank found a way to break into the world of music and his first album project was a big one.
“My first cover was White Pony for Deftones in 2000. I was such a fan of the band and had gone to their concerts and shown them my work. When I learned they had a new album in the works, I reached out to Maverick Records and they decided to hire me to work on the art.”
Creating a visual identity for music can be a challenging responsibility. “You have to be fair to the musicians,” Maddocks says. “I’ll talk to them about their mindset when they wrote the album, pour through the lyrics, and do 5-10 comps with a range of ideas, themes, and approaches. An album cover informs the listener as a viewer and should be a good representation of the music and emotions within it.”
His process is lo-fi and old school. Frank starts most designs with hand-drawings and compositions before introducing digital tools to amplify the analog feel. He loves to do shit practically. For the cover of Green Day’s Revolution Radio, he rented a studio, hired a special effects crew, and lit the boombox on fire for real.
Frank’s ability to capture unique moments is deeply inspired by his love of street photography. “I take a lot of pictures. I feel like something's missing when I'm not taking new photos.” The image used for WEST comes from a scene Frank spotted on the streets of Los Angeles. A simple word, behind a cagey chain-link fence, communicated the right balance of beauty and danger. That juxtaposition, Frank describes as a “west coast perspective.”
Of all of his work, the pieces he feels most connected to come from these caught moments. In particular, the cover for Linkin Park’s One More Light. “That last album released just before Chester passed and had a photo I captured of my kids in the ocean. All the members of the band were getting older and becoming parents and having that human element was really cool. It’s just one of those caught moments you can’t recreate.”
Recently, Frank’s been creating more for himself. Collages, paintings, sketches, a potential punk rock-inspired clothing line. He’s still got plenty of creative dreams to chase. And luckily, he always has new inspirations. “I’m really loving artists these days uploading their own songs and making their own artwork for them. That lo-fi, wild west approach, it’s cool because it’s not overthought or corporate.”
To check out Frank Maddocks' latest work, including artwork for the new Deftones album Ohms, visit his official website frankmaddocks.com and Instagram @frankmaddocks.