I dropped by the

Nothing fancy on the outside: just a sign, a loading dock, an office. But inside, the San Francisco Wine Center is somebody’s dream made real, a testament to the power of capital, and to our changing economy. It’s a friendly, low-key self-storage facility for wine—but with wine pick-up-and-delivery service, so you don’t have to drive down there all the time, and a line of wines for sale, and a schedule of food-and-wine events. This place has been built to encourage community and social life, with a couple of nice lounges you can rent.

The hope, apparently, is that you’ll get yourself a little (or big) locker, to ensure that your collection doesn’t spoil in the warmth of your closet back home, and then you’ll drop by so regularly in pursuit of your bottles that you’ll meet other collectors in the corridors, and perhaps pop a few corks and share memories and discuss vintages and varietals and the like. In other words, you’ll make friends through a shared interest in wine. It’s nicely done, all of it, and if I lived nearby and didn’t have a cool basement, I would very seriously consider joining up; perhaps I’d find someone to share a locker with, to bring down the price.

But it’s also provocative, because of the courage it took to build: two entrepreneurs (Brian McGonigle, Paolo Mancini), with a long background in wine, looking around at the explosion of wine-storage facilities and wine-inventory software, and deciding there’s another way these businesses can work, another need nobody has filled. A trend, you might say, that isn’t yet trendy. And so they bet the farm, and they work hard in the way of young men building a life, and they make it a reality, and then they wait to see what happens. Takes guts.

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