By Tanya Henry
It took three months for Blake Jordan and his family to transform the one-time MetroPCS space at 1099 Fourth Street in San Rafael from phone retailer to wine cave. The below-street-level entrance makes it an unlikely tasting room, but then again Incavo Wine Tasting & Collective is much more than just a place to sip wine.
“I wanted to introduce Marin customers to small Napa wine producers—there is nothing like it here,” says Jordan, who was born and raised in Napa Valley and spent the last seven years working in the industry. From stints in wine sales to tasting rooms, including Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley and Mark Herold Wines, the North Bay native decided to partner with his father and bring his own version of a wine collective to San Rafael.
Representing 12 different vintners (winery owners), Incavo offers wines by the glass, flights and the option to buy bottles. Jordan explains that he considers the style of the wine, price, varietal and wine region location when he adds something to the collection. “I try to be really diverse with the offerings,” he says. “I try to ‘palate match’ and like to think I have something for everyone.”
With it’s dimly lit interior and dark color palette, Incavo—which means ‘cave’ in Latin—seems to capture the owner’s desired concept for a room that is part wine cellar and part wine cave. But like I said, Incavo is more than simply a place to enjoy wine.
Along with his interest in all things grape, Jordan is an artist. According to his website, he first started illustrating on glass bottles while working with cult wine brands. What started as a cool idea to have a little fun and generate something unique turned into a business.
“I take large-format bottles of wine and paint them with oils and razor blades,” says Jordan, who is commissioned by wine buyers who want their commemorative bottles emblazoned with the artist’s designs (or their own). A percentage of the sales from these sponsored bottle art projects go to DrawBridge, a nonprofit that brings art to homeless children.
So not only can customers enjoy tastes from small boutique wineries (many of which are not big enough to have tasting rooms of their own), but they can also buy art. In addition, charcuterie boards and chocolate options are on the menu. Tasting prices range from $10-$35 for three two-ounce pours.
Incavo Wine Tasting & Collective, 1099 Fourth St., Suite F, San Rafael; 415/259-4939; incavowine.com.