Spending the day wine tasting without spending the day in your car is a good thing. And the concept seems to be catching on. You can sip and stroll through many popular destinations like Carmel-by-the-Sea, nearby Carmel Valley, and even Northern California Gold Country. Now, with more than 20 wine tasting rooms, you can add Downtown Napa to the list. From well- known labels to boutique batches, there’s a little bit of everything, all within walking distance.
The oldest stone building in Napa is also home to the first tasting room to open its doors in Downtown Napa. Both the building and the wine Vintner’s Collective pours makes it unique. Specializing in small-production, terroir-driven wines, chances are Vintner's Collective will introduce you to more than one wine you’d never heard of before walking into their festive tasting room. 1245 Main Street
Contemporary and comfortable, 1313 Main is different from most tasting rooms because it’s open late. Doors don’t close until 1 am Thursday through Saturday. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, closing time is 10 pm. Regular events include Winemaker Wednesdays, when you can meet and taste the work of local winemakers, and Friday’s Bubbles and Beats that focuses on Champagne and Sparkling Wines. 1313 Main, just like the name.
John Anthony Tasting Room and Lounge
This sleek tasting room is located on First Street next to the Andaz hotel. Open Sunday through Wednesday from 10 am to 10 pm and Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to midnight, John Anthony is also scoring points with the late night crowd. If you’re the organized type, check out the lounge floor map and reserve a table ahead of time. 1440 First Street
Napa General Store
If you need to do a little shopping along with tasting, be sure to stop at Napa General Store. Located on the Riverfront in the Napa Mill, this big open space offers a tasting area featuring a rotating selection of small, artisan wineries, along with a store stocked with a little bit of everything and a café with outdoor seating overlooking the river. 540 Main Street
Vintage Sweet Shoppe
If you got a sweet tooth, nearby Vintage Sweet Shoppe might intrigue you. The space is small, but the tasting area shares space with a candy store that has perfected the art of covering wine bottles in chocolate. 530 Main Street
Mason Cellars Oxbow Tasting Room
Just steps away from Oxbow Public Market, bright, airy, and almost country-feeling Mason Cellars offers complimentary tastings. Art is valued here. The wine labels are colorful and bright and the tasting room features local artists’ painting and other goods. 714 First Street
Taste at Oxbow
Take a few more steps toward Oxbow Public Market and you’ll walk right into Taste at Oxbow. Featuring wines of Waterstone Winery, the tasting room was created with a green spin, using sustainable elements, including energy efficient light fixtures and chemical-free paints. The result is a modern and spacious place to sip. 708 First Street
If you’re planning on sampling at more than a few tasting rooms, it’s worth checking out the Downtown Napa Wine Tasting Card. It covers tastings at a dozen tasting rooms (some mentioned above) for $25. As an added benefit, you don’t have to hit every tasting room in one day. The card is good through the end of the year and it's transferrable.
Dana can be found on Twitter @drebmann
Dana’s visit was organized by Downtown Napa, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.