Before all this, Corrick’s was already a friendly, welcoming place to do the right thing, and “shop locally.”
Founded some 97 years ago, the old-school stationer is a local institution, selling office supplies, wedding invitations, silver and china to generations of Santa Rosans. It’s more than nostalgia, and it’s no do-gooder hardship to shop here – it’s also just darned convenient to pop in, pick up a birthday card and my favorite brand of Pilot pen, and I’m off to the post office.
Yes, I send real greeting cards made from wood pulp, and send them with a stamp; I kind of miss the stamps that had to be licked. But let’s get to the point: I thought I’d never see the day that you could stand around in the middle of Corrick’s, amid the crystal and china, drinking wine!
It’s not so weird, co-owner Kevin Brown says cheerfully, in so many words. Brown had been thinking about doing something with wine even before he connected with Ancient Oak’s Ken and Melissa Moholt-Siebert. He had always thought that Corrick’s had wine-related gifts to match the better tasting rooms in the area. “We just didn’t have the wine!”
At the same time, the city’s visitor center discovered that not only were a majority of their visitors there to visit wine country, but many were hoping to find wine tasting right here in Santa Rosa. A zoning code modification or two later, Brown moved the flatware across the store, and in came the barrels and oak wine bar.
Ken and Melissa are local folks, too, who left careers in Portland, Ore., to come back and farm the Pinot Noir vineyard that Ken’s grandfather planted. Named for a grand tree in the middle of the property, Ancient Oak is an 8,000 case brand – no boutique.
Some of the pottery and art that Brown features, from local ARTrails artists, have a surprisingly national reach, as well. No wine-sipping strolls between the store’s glassware displays are allowed, but there’s plenty of room to lollygag in the attractive, cork-floored tasting area, and take the edge off of shopping with an herb-scented, caramel-flavored 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($20).
Ancient Oak’s mainstay is their estate 2009 Siebert Ranch Pinot Noir ($35), but the 2010 Russian River Valley, Pagnano Vineyard Zinfandel ($32) is a luscious, boysenberry-flavored treat, as well. Holidays in downtown Santa Rosa just got a little more cheerful—and they validate parking!
Ancient Oak Cellars, 637 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. $10 tasting fee. 707-536-1546.