The folks at Yo Tambien Cantina, home of the lavender latte and a stunning wood parklet in the Inner Sunset, are also winemakers. Kenzie Benesh and Isabella Bertorelli are the wife-and-wife owners who run the cafe and will release their first public-facing, for-sale wine — dubbed Agnes — on October 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the cafe at 205 Hugo Street. Alongside two friends, they call their wine outfit Wimpleton, and Benesh says making the pinot noir and pinot gris co-ferment has been a terrific experience, from gleaning the grapes to stomping them in a Potrero Hill cellar. “We’re all making wine and learning about it together,” Benesh says. “So many of our friends do it as their life. It’s a side project for us, something we’re interested in and learn more about each year.”
Agnes comes in a few different sizes, which is why the wine is for sale as marked.
Benesh says this is the third year making wine. The first two times the team got grapes from a friend working on a weed farm. “We didn’t even know what grapes they were,” Benesh says. Thankfully, the first year turned out well — they stomped at a friend’s place near Ocean Beach. The second year turned into vinegar and vermouth, but this year’s release is the best yet. They worked on the vintage with friends Kevin Stark, who works at KQED, and Anna Wolfe-Pauly, an artist who works at Baggu and runs pop-up Dabo; they’re the two with the Potrero Hill house and a cellar big enough to store and stomp the wine.
They bottled this year’s batch in February and have about six cases to sell. The inspiration, and name for the limited run, comes from Agnes Varda’s documentary “The Gleaners and I” wherein Varda asks people to engage in gleaning, or “the trade of living a fruitful life.” Gleaners, whether it be for grapes or potatoes, are those who come and grab the remains of big harvests — not first pick on crops, but whatever excess might otherwise have rotted or gone back into the soil. Bringing their wine to life is a hyper-collaborative project. The grapes came from Annie Courtens of Filigreen Farms in Anderson Valley, and the equipment comes from Charlie Miller and Emma Rosenbush of Dewey’s Wines. “Filigreen is the best sustainable work I’ve ever seen on a farm,” Benesh says. “They let us pick whatever was left last year, all in the spirit of gleaning.”
The cafe’s release party will feature the East Bay’s Cream Co. hot dogs, music inside the cafe, and age-appropriate alternatives to wine for the kiddos. Bottles are priced as marked, though a glass of Agnes will go for $13. The wine will be for sale even after the party if there’s any left. “We’re just doing it for fun,” Benesh says.
Agnes was a labor of friendship, perseverance, and gleaning.
Yo Tambien Cantina