Geneva Melby and Ryan Miller, both alums of Sebastopol restaurants Khom Loi and Ramen Gaijin, will open The Redwood, an all-day wine bar and kitchen at the former Ginger Thai space in Sebastopol.
The Redwood will focus on natural wines, with small bites and wine tasting during the day and a full restaurant menu and wine at night, according to Melby. The announcement of a brick-and-mortar location comes after the pair held dining pop-ups for more than 18 months at Khom Loi.
“When we moved (to Sonoma County), we started meeting all of these natural winemakers, joining this community but realizing that we had to go to SF or Oakland to buy or even have a glass of these natural wines in person,” Melby said. Though natural wines have become more common at places like Miracle Plum, Scribe and Pax, Melby said there’s still plenty of room for growth.
“We just saw that niche and wanted to fill it,” she said.
The field of natural wines, sometimes called low-intervention wines, is expanding. These wines are typically made from grapes grown in small vineyards, processed without additives such as sulfur and fermented with native yeasts. Without chemical manipulation or filtering, the wines take on particular flavors and variations from their growing environment.
The Redwood primarily will sell natural wines from California, Oregon and Washington. A few local natural wine producers they’ll include are Two Shepherds, Jolie Laide and Pax.
“It hearkens back to how wine was made for millennia. People think these wines are going to be funky or flawed, but we want to put these wines in front of people,” said Miller, who will head the wine program at The Redwood.
Most small-production natural wineries are labors of love run by vineyard owners or winemakers, and they don’t have tasting rooms, according to Melby. The Redwood will stock 10 to 15 wines to sell by the glass and eventually include more than 100 wines for purchase.
The restaurant menu will change with the seasons, with plenty of shared plates and Mediterranean flavor, but Melby also leans heavily on cuisines from around the world.
“We make what we like to eat,” she said. That includes cheeses, charcuterie and seafood.
“It has to be food we feel pairs well with the wine,” she said. “We’re defined by the seasonal bounty and whatever we’re most excited about at the time.”
More details about The Redwood and upcoming pop-up events are at theredwoodwine.com.