The Spill: Corner 103 wines are ‘approachable’

The Spill: Corner 103 wines are ‘approachable,’ tasting room is stylish, elegant and a place for conversations.|

Lloyd Davis is a quiet and unassuming man, so it’s no surprise that those characteristics are how he runs his tasting room, Corner 103.

Aptly named, Corner 103 is, as one might guess, at a corner – West Napa Street and West First Street – and, yes, the address numbers are 103. It’s an elegant room with warm, medium toned wood walls, floor to ceiling glass cabinets, and artwork that came from Davis’s home.

For those who want to be able to carry on a conversation while enjoying wine tasting, Corner 103 is the place to go. There’s enough seating for more than 10 guests at a time, but Davis limits the number to 10 to keep the noise level to a comfortable point where no one feels the need to shout to be heard.

Davis comes from the hedge-fund world where he traveled constantly and had a team of 65 reporting to him, and he is a former owner of Viansa Winery. He said he reached a point in his life where he knew he needed a change.

“I was too busy. I had no time to relax,” Davis said.

Living in New York and working a frenetic pace, he came to realize that though he never thought he would leave the city and state, he said his mother was shocked when he announced he was moving to California.

Now fully immersed in the wine world and Sonoma County, he said he feels at home here and wants his customers to feel that way, too, in the tasting room and about his wine.

His philosophy is his wine is made to be “approachable” and the tasting room is where those who are just learning about wine can learn more. Tasting glasses sit atop a coaster that says the varietal, vintage and points given or awards won, and on the back is technical data such as varietals used if a blend, price, case production, alcohol percentage, how the wine was aged, the proper serving temperature, a map of the region with the vineyards highlighted of where Davis sources his grape, harvest date, and type of wine glass to use.

Some people are intimidated by wine and Davis hopes to strip away pretenses about what a person should like and not like in wine.

“There’s nothing wrong because you’re always right,” he said.

Winemaking is done as a team with Davis guiding the way with his own palate. Other winemakers in town have helped him learn the winemaking and business side of the industry.

“People sought me out,” he said. “They took me under their wings.”

The wine is made at a facility on Eighth Street East and he sources his grapes from all over Sonoma County. Corner 103, which opened in 2014, makes a sparkling rose wine, rose of pinot noir, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, viognier, granache, zinfandel, vinot rosso, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and a red blend. The tasting is called the Sonoma Cheese Experience and includes a flight of seven wines paired with six locally made cheeses for $45 per person.

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