Best Oh-So-Shocking Wine Bar Newsletter

Alameda Wine Co.

There are two reasons to frequent Alameda Wine Company: It’s an amazing
new place, with knowledgeable, personable staff, an artsy and
intriguing atmosphere (the bar top, a tribute to Jackson Pollock; the
colorful, lighted back bar, an homage to Piet Mondrian), great food
(cheeses, fresh fruit and dates, nuts, olives, cured meats), and one of
the best wine lineups in the East Bay, featuring a rotating collection
of stellar Old and New World, local and imported wines to sample and
buy. The second reason to visit is owner Karen Ulrich, a newcomer to
Alameda, and one of the most colorful residents to date. You’ll
recognize her as the one with her head shaved in protest over a city
business regulation. (Earlier in her protest, she painted her head and
face blue, too.) In staid Alameda, she’s become notorious for her
newsletters. Sure, they’re full of knowledgeable musings on new wines
and varietal histories, but the really juicy parts come from her
personal essays about personal and professional crises, trysts, sexual
explorations, and a sweet affair turned to vinegar. “I know many female
customers live vicariously through those essays,” says Ulrich. “And
some men were happy to understand at least one woman’s sexuality a
little better.” At first blush, one might think it would ruin her in a
small city like Alameda; instead, it has endeared her to many. To get a
copy, talk to Karen directly. It’s free, but by request only to protect
the parties involved.

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