Cindy Pawlcyn and Sean Knight’s New Napa Valley Hotspot Brassica Mediterranean Kitchen & Wine Bar Features Innovative and Multifaceted Restaurant Wine Program

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Groundbreaking restaurant wine program at Cindy Pawlcyn's new restaurant Brassica Mediterranean Kitchen & Wine Bar breaks new ground for Napa Valley. Pawlcyn is recognized as a pioneer for wine country cuisine in the U.S. and has created over a dozen successful restaurants in the SF Bay Area. Partner Sean Knight and Manager Jennifer Ingellis spent over a year developing this program with top Napa vintners.

Cindy Pawlcyn and managing partner Sean Knight have launched Brassica Mediterranean Kitchen & Wine Bar to a tremendous reception and Napa Valley is buzzing about its exceptional wine program. With a wine-friendly and guest-focused style, the new restaurant offers several exciting firsts that are likely to create a new benchmark for wine country dining. Over one year in the making and conceived by Sean Knight and General Manager Jennifer Ingellis, Brassica’s trailblazing wine program offers five key points of difference to diners– the largest by-the-glass selection in Napa Valley, the Brassica 12, Saturday Vintner Splash, a unique tap system, and a retail program.


Brassica features over 75 wines by the glass, more than any other venue in the Napa Valley. Over 75% of the by the glass offerings are from California and more than 50% of them are from Napa Valley. These are intended to pair with the restaurant’s accessible range of small and large plates that can be enjoyed as a bite or a full meal creating a personal “grazing experience.” Brassica’s menu supports the modern trend of value, and health-focused dining.
Staff training is key in helping diners hone in on new and favorite wine regions and understanding food and wine synergies. Knight says abundant wine offerings are “one way of giving customers more wine education, as they don’t have to commit to the bottle.” In addition to the by-the-glass offerings, Brassica also features an extensive bottle list with over 400 wines which are available to purchase with dinner and also at retail to-go. Nearly 70% of the entire wine list is from California.

The program offers guests an interactive pairing experience with a variety of wines. It is also an opportunity, according to Knight, for guests to experience some of the Mediterranean’s seminal flavors. Wine Director Jennifer Ingellis notes that she is “excited to introduce guests to varietals they haven’t seen before and offer flavors that aren’t very often featured in the Valley.”

Brassica 12

“Brassica 12,” features a distinctive dozen Napa Valley wines from some of the best and most sought-after producers, most of whom don’t have tasting rooms. It is set to be one of the country’s most innovative programs to integrate producers into a restaurant’s wine program. These 12 producers will offer multiple wines poured by the glass and rotated on a seasonal and vintage-focused basis with retail sales of the wines at Brassica. The winemakers will also actively participate in tastings and meals at the restaurant and offer barrel samples and library wines. Knight and Ingellis envision the program as a way to support wineries that don’t have tasting rooms, while introducing consumers to new and lesser-known vintners. Ingellis adds that the program will offer a handful of Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnay, but will primarily focus on Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and other red wines that customers expect to enjoy in the Napa Valley. The current wineries included in the Brassica 12 are Bressler Vineyards, Rossi Wallace, El Molino, Jelly Jar, Favia, Hudson Vineyards, Herb Lamb Vineyards, Lang & Reed, Larkin, Dancing Hares, Jaffe Estate, and Arietta.

Saturday Vintner Splash

Another exciting and interactive component of Brassica’s wine program is the Saturday Vintner Splash. This program invites winemakers and vintners to visit the restaurant and offer a small complimentary sample “splash” of their wine to diners. This enables diners to try new wines, while interacting with the winemakers themselves. Featured vintners have included Ric Forman and Cheryl Emmolo of Rossi-Wallace, Fritz and Caren Hatton of Arietta, Sean Larkin of Larkin, and Stacey and Bob Bressler of Bressler Vineyards. A different vintner visits every Saturday night, and this program will likely be extended to Fridays, in the near future.

Wine on Tap

Brassica also features a unique and original tap system, produced in St. Helena by Burgstahler Machine Works. With eight different wines on tap, the tap program will cover new territory by offering exclusive, top quality wines. The tap system has many advantages over bottles as the wine is guaranteed fresh, and the reduced packaging is both good for the environment and offers great value to the consumer. Ingellis notes that many of these – such as the Vine Cliff 2010 Carneros Chardonnay - are exclusive to the taps at Brassica. Other exclusive and high-quality offerings include Napa Valley favorites such as Markham 2009 Merlot, Cliff Lede 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Round 2 2009 Syrah Contra Costa, and the 2010 Stagliano Terzo Napa Chardonnay, which was created for the tap at Brassica.


In terms of the retail program, Ingellis says this feature will help in supplying guests with “the wines that we carry so they don’t have to seek them out on their own.” Every bottle on the wine list is available to go at 25% off.

About Brassica:
Cindy Pawlcyn’s Brassica celebrates the flavors of the Mediterranean. Inspired by the rich and varied flavors of Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, the dishes are enhanced by a great selection of wines on tap, by the glass and bottle. Brassica is Latin for the family of plants known as mustards, grown in both the Napa Valley and the Mediterranean, and links the new restaurant with the original Mustards Grill.

Paul Burditch/Lindsay Katz
Burditch Marketing Communications
(415) 874-9696


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