After surviving a pandemic, St. Helena’s Erosion Wine Company goes into brewing | News

Erosion Wine Company opened its downtown Saint Helena tasting room in February 2020, which turned out to be one of the worst times in human history to start a business. One would have been forgiven for expecting it not to last.

On the contrary, the erosion is not just always there. It thrives in brewing.

“When the pandemic hit, we were in the process of opening, and there was no way we were giving up,” owner Patrick Rue said Monday. “We would spend too many resources on it. We were very motivated to make it work.

Next Tuesday, April 6 On Tuesday, April 6, the St. Helena Planning Commission approved Erosion Brewery, a warehouse located at 995 Vintage Ave. Rue plans to brew about 56 batches per year, at 108.5 gallons per batch.

He has already secured a temporary use permit to serve beer at a new bar in the space next to Erosion formerly occupied by Cricket, likely from July or August.

Patrick, Rachel and Charlotte Rue in the Erosion Wine Company tasting room.

Jesse Duarte, star

The two spaces would be connected at the back, but each would have a unique feel. While the wine tasting room, which reopened in early March, is dominated by shiny mirrors and lots of pastels, the new tasting room will have a more gritty, industrial feel.

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“It’s going to have more of a masculine beer vibe,” Rue said, pointing to the new space, which is still under construction. “If you’re more beer-oriented, you’ll probably be more comfortable here, and if you’re more wine-oriented, you’ll probably be more comfortable there. But you can always have wine on one side or beer on the other.

The bar will have a small kitchen preparing mainly savory and sweet dips to accompany beers and wines.

Rue’s interest in beer dates back to his years in law school, when his wife, Rachel, encouraged him to take up home brewing as a hobby. It turned out that his fate was in the beer, not the law. In 2008, he opened The Bruery in his native Orange County. He described it as a craft brewery specializing in “great barrel-aged beers, 15-20% alcohol.”

Sam Dearden and Patrick Rue

Sam Dearden, Tasting Room Manager, and Patrick Rue, Owner of the Erosion Wine Company, in the downtown Erosion Wine Tasting Room on St. Helena, which will soon be complemented by a beer room to the side.

Jesse Duarte, star

Le Bruery was a success, but Rue eventually sold the majority of the business, moved to Saint Helena, and founded Erosion Wine Company.

His approaches to beer and wine were complementary.

“In the past, I specialized in making really esoteric beers and tried to elevate beer to wine status,” he said. “Then when I got into wine, I tried to take wine to beer status.”

This approach is evident in the Erosion Tasting Room, where the Instagram-friendly decor, playful vibe, and wines with whimsical names like Unicorn Eyes and Afraid of Clowns make it more of a millennial-friendly craft brewery than a tasting room. typical of Napa Valley.

Erosion wine business

Some of the loot for sale in the Erosion Wine Company tasting room.

Jesse Duarte, star

Unlike The Bruery’s heavy offerings, Erosion’s beer will be “the kind of beer you’d want to taste after drinking cabs all day,” Rue said. “You’re going to want a crisp 4% lager.”

Looking back on Erosion’s difficult first year, Rue said it was always difficult to start a business, “but we could never have foreseen something like this.”

“But hey,” he said. “Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. »


Napa County will not explore whether commercial cannabis cultivation can come to wine country.


You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or [email protected]

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