Raft Syrah

There are more great restaurants in the Bay Area than there are nights to enjoy them. Whether you want Italian food, Mexican, or sushi, old favorites and new discoveries line the blocks of every neighborhood.

But every now and then, what I’m really craving is the perfect night in with my husband. I don’t care if you have a Michelin star or you made it onto Eater’s “must-try” list, some nights you simply can’t beat cooking together with the person you love and turning an ordinary night into something special just because you both are there.

When Karl the fog finally begins to let up and we get those magical warm days and nights in the fall, it’s the perfect opportunity to buy a luxurious cut of steak, open a beautiful bottle of red, and settle in for the perfect evening.

While Cabernet Sauvignon and steak seem to be the classic California pairing, I prefer to reach for a peppery Syrah with just-ripe enough black fruit, Mediterranean dried herbs, and hints of violet and lavender on the finish. This Syrah from Raft is classic and refreshing in its expression, yet simultaneously undeniably Californian in its generosity and warmth.

Pair with:

~ Filet mignon with thyme, rosemary, and garlic
~ Balsamic and rosemary marinated florentine steak
~ Portobello steaks with avocado chimichurri

Curious to learn more?


What do you picture when you think of a winemaker? And not just any winemaker, but an entrepreneurial, independent and scrappy winemaker that does everything from gathering the grapes to managing the cellar, as well as bottling and selling each and every case? If you’ve pictured a young guy in dirty jeans and work boots, it turns out you’re not alone in that first assumption… not alone, but definitely not correct. That’s especially true in the case of Raft’s rising star winemaker, Jennifer Reichardt.



Jennifer has lost track of the number of times people have asked her, “Who really makes your wines? Does your boyfriend help you? Your dad?” It’s frustrating and tiring for her, but it adds fire to her endless spirit and enchanting smile - she’s out there day after day to change the perspective of what it means - or looks like - to be a winemaker. Sure, both men and women have told her to try and “dress the part” if she wants to fit into the old boys club, but she’s stubbornly held true to her own values and insisted on being herself - high heels, dresses, lipstick, and all!

That’s not to say she works in a vacuum, without support from anyone. She’s the first to acknowledge that it takes a village to make your passion project come to life. In fact, it takes a Raft.

Born and raised in Petaluma, Jennifer grew up surrounded by her father’s successful duck farm. With ducks frequently on her mind (and in sight) Jennifer took the name for a group of ducks that link together into a “raft” to paddle together for her wine label. The name reflects her family’s historic business as well as the undeniable support she has received from family and friends in making her own dream come true.



Perhaps one of the things I love most about Jennifer’s approach to winemaking is the humanity she brings to the craft. She’s unafraid to dress as herself, to proudly claim the accolades that she deserves, and more uniquely, to allow her personality to filter into each and every bottle. She’s not making wines to impress the critics or match a particular style, she’s simply making wines she’d want to drink and share with her friends.

“I like wines that are lighter, more delicate, lower alcohol, and higher in acidity. Sometimes I like wines that are big and powerful because they are thought provoking, but I don’t want to drink them every day. My goal is to make and drink everyday elevated wines - on Tuesday nights with pizza or for a special occasion. Sure, that can be described as more delicate and feminine than the bigger wines in the market, but that’s what feels right for me.”