Chances are good that many of the wines listed on the menu at Thrive City’s Mission Bay Wine Bar are unfamiliar. Even to the most devoted wine aficionado, several of the labels featured at the Chase Center-adjacent gathering spot produce blank stares. And that’s by design. Owners Peter Granoff and Debbie Zachareas scour the world to bring their customers the most under-the-radar labels and varietals, each of which is of the highest quality. And all of which encourage customers to check-in regularly, as the by-the-glass offerings change frequently.
The fourth endeavor of Granoff and Zachareas (the duo also own Mission Bay Wine & Cheese on Channel St., Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant & Wine Bar in San Francisco’s acclaimed Ferry Building Marketplace, and Napa’s Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant) Thrive City’s Mission Bay Wine Bar is THE spot for convivial pre and post-game/concert gatherings. But fans are finding that even outside of event nights, the linear wine bar and its heated outdoor patio are the place to be for fun events including appearances by some of the world’s biggest names in wine. Count Sebastiano Capponi, for instance, the current patriarch of Tuscany’s 1524-founded Villa Calcinaia, recently stopped by for the wine bar’s first Walkaround Wednesday, pouring various vintages of his Villa Calcinaia Chianti Classico, and regaling guests with stories of his winery’s rich history.
The newest of Granoff’s and Zachareas small wine empire, Mission Bay Wine Bar benefits from the pair’s accumulated business experience and stellar reputations, their down to earth perspectives on wine, and their worldwide relationships with esteemed producers. Granoff, one of the world’s rare Master Sommeliers, has long served as a consultant on projects at the intersection of wine, technology and social media. In January of 1995 he and his brother-in-law Robert Olson, a software engineer, launched Virtual Vineyards, an ecommerce pioneer and the first US entity to sell wine on the Internet. He is active as a speaker, panelist, judge, and educator in numerous wine consumer and wine industry settings, and has presented at professional wine and e-commerce conferences in the US, Switzerland, France, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
In addition to her partnership with Granoff, Zachareas is wine consultant to Izzy’s Steak House in the Bay Area, and The Madrona in Healdsburg. She is a renowned International wine judge, lecturer, sommelier, and guest speaker, and has developed innovative wine programs that have shaped San Francisco’s wine culture. She was the founder of one of the city’s most extensive wine programs at Bacar Restaurant, the wine buyer for the Ashbury Market, EOS Restaurant and Wine Bar, the opening sommelier at Rubicon Restaurant, and the opening wine director at Vertigo in the TransAmerica Building. Zachareas won San Francisco Magazine’s inaugural Wine Director of the Year award and was the only sommelier ever to have won the award twice.
Mission Bay Wine Bar’s dynamic wines are available by the taste, glass, carafe and bottle. But sake and beer fans will also find much to love. A menu of small plates accompaniments includes nuts, cheese and charcuterie boards, and savory flatbreads.
Mission Bay Wine Bar at Thrive City is open daily from 5 – 10 p.m., with extended hours on Chase Center event nights.
640 Terry A. Francois Blvd., San Francisco
Photos courtesy of Peter Granoff