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This is not your parent's petite sirah

Shoe Shine wine celebrate and feature LGBT couples on its labels
Shoe Shine wine celebrate and feature LGBT couples on its labels
Julia Hollister

Eric Cohen, winemaker and founder of Shoe Shine Wine, is trying to get some respect for a classic varietal.

“One of the most historic grapes in California is petite sirah,” he said. “I chose it because it is frequently misunderstood and under-appreciated.” Wine drinkers assume that it is big and inky and not for the timid wine lover. However, my approach is elegant, delicate and age worthy.”

Shoe Shine is the first offering from its San Francisco-based, family run micro winery, Justice Grace Vineyards. Cohen sources his grapes from high quality vineyards throughout California and hand crafts each small batch.

“I make wine that is a worthy honor,” he said. “The selections are aged in used oak barrels that have character and are not over oaked. My wines do not contain sugar, acid, enzymes or color agents.”

Shoe Shine is distinctive other than wine making. It is the first in the industry to use fabric to cover corks on every bottle because it is more environmentally friendly than plastic, tin or aluminum. Shoe Shine is among the first to celebrate and feature Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) designs on the front labels. (Buyers can select their label.)

Flavors and aromas run the gamut from red currants, ripe blueberries, smoke, leather and sweet plum. They are priced under $32.

This is a different petite sirah from other experiences. Cohen is making wine that is having a Renaissance it’s not on every restaurant’s wine list. There is a misconception that the varietal is outdated and much of it is mass marketed with chemicals.

Not so, he said.

“Hopefully with consumers getting more power they can spread the word about my wine,” he said. “I just want people to give me a chance and open the door.”