How familiar are you with San Francisco’s only urban vineyard? Not at all? You’re in luck! After years of working closely with wines, Christopher Renfro noticed a gap between the people who work the vineyards and those who profit from them. He envisioned a world where everyone in the wine industry worked together to increase equity and diversity within the field—and set out to create it. Founded in 2019, Renfro’s 280 Project, featured by Alta Journal contributor Sydney Love in our latest issue, has provided training and resources for San Franciscans to build careers as winemakers and wine connoisseurs. Renfro and Love join Alta Live to discuss the 280 Project, representation in the wine industry, and more with Alta editor at large Mary Melton.
About the guests:
Christopher Renfro moved to the Bay Area 15 years ago to pursue a design career. Instead, he discovered passions for food, nature, entrepreneurship, and justice. Following stints at Rainbow Grocery and Liholiho Yacht Club, Renfro cofounded the 280 Project with his partner, Jannea Tschirch, in 2019. Located at Alemany Farms, one of the largest community gardens in the city and home to San Francisco’s only urban vineyard, the 280 Project is nestled among the 101 and 280 freeways, Alemany Apartments, the Bayview, and Bernal Heights. Renfro is the vineyard manager at Alemany Farms and manages a paid viticulture apprenticeship program (in partnership with Alemany Farms, UC Davis, and award-winning winemaker Steve Matthiasson) to teach BIPOC individuals about viticulture, connecting local communities to farming as a way to combat food insecurity as well as using viticulture education and field training to close the diversity and equity gap in the wine industry.
Sydney Love is a wine writer based in Los Angeles. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Wine & Spirits, the Wine Zine, and Pipette.•