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Urban Winery Joining North Park's Craft Beer Contingent

Prepare to add a wine stop to your craft beer crawl.

Wine lovers will soon have a new place to sip in the craft beer-laden community of North Park as Négociant Urban Winery looks set to open shop in the neighborhood later this month. A joint venture between third generation Italian winemaker John Rinaldi and fellow wine scholar and connoisseur Zane Mumford, the new 65-seat tasting room at 2419 El Cajon Boulevard marks their first foray into commercial production. Négociant, a French term for wine merchants who assemble the produce of smaller growers and sell the result under its own label, is using grapes sourced from Central Coast, Baja and Washington State vineyards to create their collection of boutique, small batch wines.

Initial wines have been produced offsite at custom crush facilities in California and will be transported to the tasting room in barrels, with new wine production slated to move onsite within the next couple of years. This fall, Rinaldi and Mumford expect to press around 20 tons of grapes, with the largest single varietal making up 4-5 tons of that – not bad for a couple of first timers. Oenophiles can look forward to a debut summer pour list that includes reds such as Barberra, Malbec, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Syrah and a Petite Syrah, while a classic Chardonnay and rare Symphony will represent two of the whites on offer. A Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris hybrid, the Symphony is a lighter white varietal and, as of late 2014, only 1,600 acres were being grown in California.

The newly renovated 3,000-square foot space will host regular tasting events and charity driven initiatives in addition to educational programs, including winemaking classes, barreling and bottling workshops. On the design front, modern rustic elements (white Quartz countertops, reclaimed fence boarding) will feature throughout, along with moveable modular tables and counters. For those wishing to drink alfresco, a 1,000-square-foot back patio is also currently being renovated.

Bites will come in the form of a full lunch and dinner menu, available to order at the bar with tableside delivery courtesy of the also soon-to-be-opened Grinds & Binds coffee shop. The partnered business venture will be stationed within an additional 85-square foot-space inside the tasting room and will feature an innovative 'car hop coffee delivery' service app that allows customers to pre-order coffee en route with car-side delivery in the parking lot. Italian Lavazza coffees and blends will be served exclusively while exact menu items and hours of operation are currently still being determined.

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