Downtown Napa’s Bustling Wine Scene
It’s a relatively new phenomenon, but downtown Napa has become a prime location to taste wines. The compact area contains approximately 40 tasting venues, including single-winery tasting rooms, multiple winery collectives, stores that pour wine, wine bars, restaurants- and it’s growing.
Though established mostly to provide visibility for wineries in remote locations or smaller vintners without their own tasting rooms, the area has developed to become an oasis of wine experiences that are easily accessible on foot.
Here’s a sampling of some of downtown Napa’s wine tasting venues, each with its own unique charm, and invariably something for everyone.
Depending on the time and date of visit, hours, reservation requirements, seating options, and safety guidelines may vary. Please call ahead to check current status.
Ackerman Family Vineyards
10am-5pm by appointment only
608 Randolph St.
855-238-9463 // www.ackermanfamilyvineyards.com
Ackerman Family Vineyards pours its wine at the 1889 Ackerman Heritage House. Guests get an architectural tour of the impeccably restored Queen Anne Victorian home, followed by a seated tasting of Ackerman wines which feature Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon from its Certified Organic Stonehaven vineyard in Napa Valley’s Coombsville appellation, plus red blends. They also offer seasonally curated food pairings and events.
Compline Wine Bar and Restaurant
11:30am-4pm for lunch; 5pm-8:30pm for dinner. Open daily but Tuesday. Reservations highly recommended. 1300 First St. #312
707-492-8150 // www.complinewine.com
Compline (pronounced COMP- len) is a tasting room, wine store and restaurant with over 500 selections. The shop focuses on great wines under $40. The food and service are casual, but the ingredients are local and pristine. The patio is dog friendly.
Feast it Forward Studio
11am-6pm Thursday-Tuesday, except Sunday, which opens at noon.
1031 McKinstry St.
707-819-2403 // www.feastitforward.com
Feast It Forward is a unique venue. In addition to pouring rare wines from about 16 fam- ily-owned small wineries, it has a full demonstration kitchen and studio to produce cooking videos and often hosts music as well. Combine that with a store and showcase for cooking and lifestyle items and patios for enjoying wine and elevated views of Oxbow Commons.
Gabrielle Collection taste +
11am-9pm Friday and Saturday; 11am-7pm Sunday-Thursday
707-815-0364 // www.oconnellfamilywines.com
Gabrielle Collection taste + is a wine tasting salon and market for family-based O’Connell Family Wines and an expansive collection of culinary products from their farm in Napa Valley, including infused organic sea salts, rubs, infused honey, olive oils, herbs, and herb blends, and infused organic sugars. Other specialty products include aromatherapy cleaning spray, lavender sachets, gardeners hand soap, personal care products sourced from organic estate-grown lavender, and other pure botanicals. They even have treats for the pooch. Their tasting patio overlooks the Napa River and Creek, and they offer food pairings and snacks as well as wines, which include Gabrielle Collection Cabernets, Pietro Family Cellars, CE Cellars, and O’Connell Family Vineyards.
John Anthony Vineyards
10am-10pm Sunday-Wednesday; 10am-midnight Thursday-Saturday.
1440 First St.
707-265-7711 // www.javwine.com
John Anthony Vineyards’ Tasting Lounge is conveniently located next door to the Andaz Hotel. It features their hand-crafted, terroir-driven classic styles of wine from around Napa Valley by the taste, glass, or bottle in an elegant setting. Their big, bold Syrah is a local favorite. Open late on weekends. Outdoor seating is limited, so call ahead.
Housley Napa Valley
1038 Clinton St.
707-690-9192 // www.housleynapavalley.com
Sixth generation local natives pour their affordable and approachable wines in a family- friendly setting open to all, including an expanded outdoor seating plan. They offer 11 different wines from Housley Napa Valley and Century Oak Winery.
For food, try chocolate pairings with the wines as well as olive and cheese, local chips, and popcorn that pairs amazingly with wine.
1256 Main St.
707-294-1433 // www.mayacamas.com
Mayacamas Downtown offers age- worthy, classically styled Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot wines from current or library vintages by the glass or by the bottle along with a selection of locally sourced cheeses for an elevated pairing experience. The tasting room show- cases collectible Taschen and Assouline coffee table books, Italian leather goods, and exclusive Mayacamas merchandise such as hats and pull-tabs.
1-7pm Thursday-Sunday; Monday- Wednesday by appointment.
1201 First St.
707-637-4855 // www.RebelVintners.com
Rebel Vintners is a collective tasting room featuring wines from three boutique produc- ers: Leaf and Vine, Uncharted, and Cadle Family Wines. All are owner and winemaker operated, offering small pro- duction wines from the best growing regions of Northern California. A daily six-wine flight includes two from each boutique producer for $30. They also offer a menu of small bites hand-delivered from nearby Middle Eastern Small World Restaurant.
Sharing the space with Rebel Vintners is Shadowbox Cellars with its own entrance around the corner. www.shadowboxcellars.com
RiverHouse – Blackbird Vineyards
604 Main St.
707-252-4440 // www.blackbirdvineyards.com
RiverHouse offers a unique setting for seated wine tasting on a patio overlooking the Napa River. Guests can enjoy wines from Blackbird Vineyards and Ærena Wines and the opportunity to buy Recuerdo Wines. Inside is a curated selection of fine art, antiquities, and objets d’art by Ærena Galleries & Gardens.
The Wine Thief
708 1st St.
707-666-2650 // www.twtnapa.com
Conveniently located in the popular Oxbow corridor, The Wine Thief is a vintner owned and operated tasting lounge focused on the little guy. The wines they serve are small production, hand-crafted, family- owned labels, each with its own story and scarcely available anywhere else in the world. The vibe is local and a great place to meet the vintners who are often on-site. The wineries include AJ Pearce Wines, Brace and Bit, Buoncristiani Family Winery, Correlation Wine Co., Delgadillo Cellars, Kale Wines, Le Piche, Purlieu, and Solamente. Call ahead for appointment.
1245 Main St.
707-255-7150 // www.vintnerscollective.com
Vintner’s Collective was one of the pioneer tasting venues in downtown Napa and remains exceptional with its exten- sive roster of wine from small producer wineries. The two- story space occupies a historic stone building that was once a bordello and private tastings are hosted on the patio rooftop. Vintners include Ancien Wines, Azur Wines, Buoncristiani Family Winery, Carte Blanche Wine, Clark-Claudon Vineyards, D Cubed Cellars, Flanagan Wines, Hailstone Vineyards, Hertelendy Wines, KrisTodd Vineyards, Las Bonitas Wines, Longfellow Wines, Nellcôte On Q Wines, Patel Napa Valley, R.A. Harrison Family Cellars, Richard Perry Vineyards, Roy Estate, Tournesol Wine Estate, Treasure Wines and Vinoce Vineyards.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
9am–11pm Friday– Saturday; 9am–8pm Sunday-Thursday
1407 2nd St.
707-637-4532 // www.BeBubblyNapa.com
Be Bubbly is the first and only dedicated Champagne and sparkling wine lounge in Napa Valley. It offers sparkling wines from home and abroad by the glass or by the bottle to enjoy in the lounge plus a selection of still and sparkling wines to go. Not just a tasting room, it’s a haven where locals and visitors alike can unwind and indulge in the perfect beverage.
In addition to a wide range of Champagne, Be Bubbly also offers eclectic options like a sparkling Chenin Blanc or rosé from France, a bubbly Lambrusco from Italy, an exclusive Prosecco on tap or California favorites such a Schramsberg and Iron Horse.
It serves small plates of charcuterie, cheese, caviar and salty chips, veggies, and hummus plus food from local restaurants on special occasions.
First and Franklin Marketplace
11am-5pm Monday- Saturday
1331 First St.
707-252-1000 // www.firstandfranklinmarketplace.com
First and Franklin Marketplace is a deli, market and wine tasting venue pouring a variety of local wines all in one place. Every week different wineries showcase their specialties. Happy hour is hosted daily from 3-5 p.m. and features special snacks and winery representatives educating guests on their wines.
Wineries represented include Black Stallion, Buena Vista, Ceja, Goosecross Cellars, Grgich Hills, Charles Krug, Laird, Luna, Peju, Raymond Estates/JCB, Storybook Mountain, Trefethen, and Whitehall Lane.
Roots Run Deep Winery
12-7pm Friday-Monday. Appointments required.
1607 First St.
707-945-1045 // www.rootsrundeep.com
Roots Run Deep Winery’s new downtown Napa tasting salon provides four private tasting rooms (to accommodate social distancing.) They currently offer tastings of Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Napa County Merlot from Oak Knoll and Yountville, Educated Guess Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Bound and Determined Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
other downtown spots worth noting….
Alpha Omega Collective – Alpha Omega, Tolosa, Perinet wines
1245 First St.
1030 Main St. // 707-251-9300
960 Clinton St.
Cadet Wine Bar
930 Franklin St
Gamling & McDuck
1420 Second St.
Robert Craig Winery
625 Imperial Way Ste 1
605 First St.
For a complete listing of Downtown Napa wine tasting rooms, please visit: donapa.com
Article By: Paul Franson