For 20 years, Erin Coburn worked to make art more accessible. Now she’s shifting her focus to something more potable — wine. Sustainably produced, small-batch, delicious wine.
Coburn, a former museum administrator, has been quietly building a new wine store in Oakland’s Jack London Square. Called Oakland Crush, the store will showcase wines from small-production, independent wineries, many of which (of course) are local to Northern California. As is typical with many newer wine shops, Oakland Crush will also include a tasting area. There, Coburn hopes to host wine tastings a couple days a week.
But she’s quick to note that Oakland Crush will not be a bar. It will focus on bottle sales and events. She wants to highlight the producers themselves: winemakers will be a consistent presence at the tastings. And she wants to keep things low key. “I want to bring people together to learn about wine in an accessible way,” she said.
Oakland Crush will be at 420 3rd St., in an historic 1920s building sandwiched between Broadway and the West Coast Produce wholesale market. Oakland-based architecture firm Medium Plenty is behind the clean, modern design. (It also recently designed Uptown ice cream shop Little Giant.)
Coburn says that Jack London is particularly well-suited to her mission, as her neighbors are community- and small business-focused. Plus, “This was the first space that just felt right,” she said. “There’s a wonderful spirit in Jack London.”
While this will be Coburn’s first venture into wine sales, her family history is steeped in viticulture. She was raised in an “agricultural family” in California, and her mother’s side of the family is Italian.
“I grew up with an Italian culture where wine is always present,” she said. “It was part of my upbringing.”
It was through her family’s connections that Coburn came to the understanding that “one of the biggest factors in making good wine is about where it comes from and the agricultural practices” of its production.
“It’s really hard for farmers to follow these good agricultural practices, so I want to support them,” she said.
As such, Oakland Crush will focus on promoting wineries “that follow sustainable practices in their farming, sourcing, winemaking and workforce” and will celebrate “wines that exhibit a true expression of their origins, and winemakers who believe in minimal intervention practices.”
Oakland Crush is currently under construction, but Coburn is optimistic that the shop will open up in the fall. She is aiming for mid- to late-October, pending permits and inspections.