The Punchdown, the popular Oakland natural wine bar, is broadening. Owners D.C. Looney and Lisa Costa are working on opening a 2nd location in Sebastopol’s Barlow complex in March.The brand-new Punchdown will be one of the only spots in Sonoma County devoted to natural red wines particularly, though Sebastopol is slated to get another one soon, called the Redwood. Natural red wine shop Wonder Plum, in Santa Rosa, recently closed. Looney and Costa transferred to Sebastopol from Oakland in early 2022 after having a child.
“It was inescapable that we were going to start a spot somewhere up here,”Looney said. When they learnt more about an opening at the Barlow, in what was previously a Tibetan furnishings shop, they jumped. The Barlow is home to a variety of other red wine companies, including Kosta Browne Winery, Pax White Wines and Region, a tasting room representing multiple white wine manufacturers. The white wine selection will be similar to what clients can discover at the Punchdown in Oakland, which was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award in 2022. The bar has a diverse selection of low-intervention wines from all over the world, specifically Europe, and is known for having approachable service that invites natural-wine beginners. (Many of the bottles the Punchdown stocks are “zero-zero, “the most severe kind of natural winemaking in which absolutely nothing at all is included or gotten rid of, but its selection is not specifically zero-zero.) The Sebastopol place, nevertheless, will have more racks for retail wine sales. The couple want to sell bottles from all of Sonoma County’s natural winemakers, but they believe there’s also a demand for imported wines that aren’t as quickly readily available in Wine Country. This isn’t Looney and Costa’s first time residing in Sonoma County. In 2007, they satisfied while working harvest tasks in Healdsburg. Both already had an interest in natural wine, however”we
totally felt that at the time there wasn’t really our kind of white wine here– the stuff that we wished to drink, “Looney stated. But they sensed that “it was just a matter of time, “he said, prior to somebody would fill that space by opening a natural wine bar in Sonoma County. They figured it might also be them.
As in Oakland, there will be a small food menu with products like cheese, charcuterie and conservas. The Barlow space won’t have a complete kitchen area, so a few of the housemade products– like dips and pate– may be
prepped in the initial Punchdown cooking area. Today, they’re building out the area, converting recovered redwood slabs into tables and waiting on kitchen equipment to show up. Meanwhile, Looney is still splitting his time in between Sebastopol and the bar in Oakland.
“There’s a great community in Sebastopol, “Looney said. He and Costa have long appreciated the number of the Barlow’s other companies, like Acre Pizza, are kid-friendly, and they will welcome families with kids at the new red wine bar.
Since moving to Wine Country, Looney has also started making some red wine of his own in his garage. Does he prepare to start his own red wine brand?”I do wish to ramp up my production, “he said,” however I just plan to provide it away to buddies.” The Punchdown.
Opening March. Found in the Barlow, 6770 McKinley St., Sebastopol. punchdownwine.com Esther Mobley is The San Francisco Chronicle’s senior red wine critic. Email: [email protected]!.?.!