Urban Legend Cellars

621 4th St
Oakland, CA 94607
United States
Tasting Charge: 
Refunded with purchase

Winery Features

Steve Shaffer
Marilee Shaffer
Marilee Shaffer
Steve Shaffer
This is disruptive wine innovation.” We make wines that are perfect complements to our local food—diverse flavors, honest ingredients, a sophisticated yet approachable style. Visit us in our downtown Oakland winery, a few blocks from Jack London Square.

Urban legends are remarkable but often apocryphal stories that spread like wildfire. Urban Legend is a winery in a city—almost an apocryphal story in itself—that makes remarkable wines.

“This is disruptive wine innovation.”
Matthew Reagan PhD, Chemical Engineering & Wine Connoisseur

Matt got it right when he said that about Urban Legend. They have never been shy about disruption. Throughout their careers, they have introduced technologies that no one ever thought would work—and changed the world. When they wanted to drink wines that were perfect complements to their local food—diverse flavors, honest ingredients, a sophisticated yet approachable style—they said: “We'll have to make them ourselves; we'll make them where the food is created—in the city; and we’ll do it together!” It’s not a traditional strategy—just a very American one.

Today, they hand craft more than a dozen Urban Legend wines that each, uniquely, salutes the varied flavors of California and their home: Oakland, America’s most diverse city.

Critics and consumers alike are impressed with their fidelity to variety, their expression of place, thier food-friendly style, and their absolute consistency of quality—from their very first release and forward.

For us, disruption is all about breaking down myths—urban legends, if you will—to make wines of uncompromising balance and elegance.

In specific:

Winemakers must focus on a single grape variety to make credible wines with it. They have found that while situations change, the rules don’t; a great grasp of method—adapting knowledge found to new conditions—allows them to craft a great wine with grapes from Albarino to Zin. They focus on flavor.

Wines must be made next to vines to be good—anywhere else is a gimmick. Being outside “wine country” liberates them to source grapes where a particular variety grows the best—not just what grows in our back yard. They can celebrate the best of California terroir. It also liberates them to do what they do best: find the best fruit, seek great but unusual varieties, and—more than anything—take meticulous care with winemaking to craft the finest in flavor.

Wines that represent a uniquely American style aren’t very interesting. There’s directness—a forthrightness, maybe even audacity—in America’s approach to innovation. In choosing to make wine in a city, embracing their skills from other vocations, and crafting wines that don’t derive entirely from the Old World or the New but from a foundation in flavor, they are celebrating the best of America.

Ultimately, they believe that wine should be seriously enjoyable and made to complement good food, good times, and living well.