Eno Wines: Urban Pinot
There are some Pinot Noir producers who have forsaken the wine country for a more practical winery
setup in the city. Lost Canyon Winery has been profiled in these pages several times. Their state-ofthe-
art winery and modern tasting room are located in an old warehouse on the Oakland urban waterfront.
The three partner-owners live close by and can easily go to the winery on a daily basis. Eno
Wines and Harrington Wines both craft tiny lots of Pinot Noir in an ivy-covered warehouse in Berkeley
which has been a winery since the 1970s. These three wineries are part of an urban winery movement
in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are at least 14 wineries, including those such as Dain at Crushpad
across the Bay in San Francisco. There is now an East Bay Vintners Alliance as well.
Eno Wines is a boutique winery owned by Sasha Verhage who is also the winemaker. He is a multitalented
wine lover who has been crafting wine since 1999. He learned under Tom Leaf, formerly of
Grapeleaf Cellars in Berkeley, and has traveled extensively to many wine-producing areas of the
world for experience. His inspiration, like many winemakers, is the combination of love for fine wine
and the fine arts. He is a also a graphic designer of great repute and his uniquely designed labels (see
below) have won design awards.
Verhage sources his Pinot Noir from Fairview Road Ranch in the Santa Lucia Highlands and has made
Fairview Pinot Noir since its first harvest in 2003. This young vineyard continues to get better with
each vintage. The 2003 Eno Pinot Noir was named “The Great Promise” because after tasting the 2004
vintage, Verhage tasted a big leap in quality. The vineyard is farmed by Kirk Williams. (To see the
exact location of the vineyard, go to the Santa Lucia Highlands Appellation website to view the 3-D
map of all of the Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards).
2004 Eno Wines “The Gifted One” Fairview Road Ranch Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
15.5% alc., 80
cases, $35 (sold out).
This Pinot Noir will appeal to those who prefer
a dark, big, and bold style with noticeable oak. There is copious
hi-tone sweet Pinot fruit on the nose and palate. The high alcohol is
nicely integrated. Like a number of Santa Lucia Highland Pinot
Noirs, the wine is Syrah-like. It is not a classic Pinot Noir in the traditional
sense - much more KB than DRC - but I liked it for what it
was and that was an enjoyable drink. I also really admired the original
packaging and the back label which read, “From birth, he
spoke his mind. His talents showed great promise. Not the bully or the Bell Curve. He pulled brilliance
and bounty from the earth. He is simply the Gifted One.”
Eno Wines is located at 805 Camelia St, Berkeley. Wines may be
ordered by phone (425-515-7227) or on the website
(www.enowines.com). There is limited retail distribution. The
website is very informative, with a number of helpful links, and not surprisingly, well designed.