A new natural wine bar is coming to Sebastopol

The Redwood will showcase California natural wine producers.|

Sonoma County soon will have more places to sip natural wines with The Redwood, a natural wine bar, anticipated to open later this month.

Natural wines — made with little or no intervention — are gaining in popularity, especially among millennials concerned about the source and environmental impact of what they drink. In the vineyards, natural winemakers practice organic, biodynamic and regenerative farming. In the cellar, they have a hands-off approach.

Natural wines are produced without additives such as sulfur and are fermented with native yeasts. In “zero zero” wines, the most extreme example of natural winemaking, absolutely nothing is added or removed. Natural wines also appeal to millennials who like to sample lesser-known varietals.

Miracle Plum on Davis Street in Santa Rosa, known for showcasing natural wines, has closed, but Idlewild Wines has a tasting room on the Healdsburg Plaza where people can taste its natural wines. Other Sonoma County producers of natural wines include Pax and Horse & Plow in Sebastopol and Ryme Cellars in Forestville. Soon, they’ll be joined by The Redwood.

This restaurant and wine bar initially was slated to open in late 2022. Now a February opening is planned at the former Ginger Thai restaurant, at 234 S. Main St. in Sebastopol.

The Redwood will be open during the day for snacks and late lunches. The owners also expect to host winemaking events and pairings for makers of natural wines. In the evening, there will be a full menu and wine list. The restaurant menu will change with the seasons and include cuisines from around the world, often Middle Eastern- and Mediterranean-style dishes.

The duo behind The Redwood are Geneva Melby and Ryan Miller, who worked at Sebastopol restaurants Khom Loi and Ramen Gaijin. The pair held natural wine pop-ups at Khom Loi for a year and a half.

“The biggest factors that drew us to natural wine are the environmental impact and the transparency in the winemaking,” Miller said. “Natural wine is a loosely defined term and has become a bit of a buzz word over the last decade. We use vineyard and cellar practices to define what we consider natural winemaking.”

Natural wines The Redwood plans to showcase, Miller said, are made with regenerative and organic farming and without chemicals in the vineyards. The couple champions wines made with natural yeasts during fermentation, with nothing added or subtracted from the wine.

The couple plans to focus on wines from California, Oregon and Washington, with local producers including Two Shepherds, Jolie Laide and Pax. The Redwood will sell 10 to 15 wines by the glass and eventually more than 100 wines for purchase.

As for why they chose to open The Redwood in Sebastopol, Miller said, “We live in Sebastopol, so we wanted to open a restaurant and natural wine shop close to home.

“Some of our favorite natural winemakers live and work in the area, as well,” Miller added. “We love the community the natural wine scene here has built, and to be able to be a part of that and support the people who have supported us is huge.”

Most natural wineries are small operations, without tasting rooms, Miller said. Giving these natural winemakers, especially those from California, a voice is their goal, he said.

“Anyone who’s mindful of the ingredients in the food they eat and how it was grown and raised and prepared should also be aware of the additives and chemical processes that can be involved in the production of what they drink,” Miller said. “An important question to raise is why are people so much more conscious of the food they eat than the wine they drink?”

For more information about The Redwood, visit theredwoodwine.com.

You can reach Wine Writer Peg Melnik at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

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