Napa Valley's newest tasting room doesn't take things too seriously, unless, that is, you want them to.
Even if you haven't tasted Bread & Butter Wines, you've probably at least seen the label. Its branding is reminiscent of Chanel's: white, simple, and sleek with bold black lettering. Now one of the fastest-growing wine brands in the U.S., Bread & Butter has set down roots in Napa Valley with a new tasting room that pours limited-release, small production Napa Valley wines.
Bread & Butter lets its guests determine what kind of tasting experience they'd like, whether that's leisurely sipping wine and catching up with friends, geeking out and learning the ins and outs of the winemaking process, or waxing poetic about notes of white peach or strawberry rhubarb in the glass. It's a place where you can learn about wine in plain English (not just terms like "tannin" or "malolactic fermentation") and where there are truly no stupid questions.
(Courtesy of Bread & Butter)
The team at Bread & Butter believes wine shouldn't be complicated. They know chateau just means "house." When you walk through the doors, it feels more like a modern home than a traditional tasting room. Like the bottles' labels, there's a chic black and white theme throughout and one of the first things you'll notice is a giant, whimsical map of Napa Valley and its many wine producing regions (AVAs) painted on a wall by a local artist. It toes the line between educational and playful, the first sign that wine is approached a little differently here. This no-fuss, you-do-you vibe carries all the way to the restrooms, where the brand's ethos, "Don't overthink it," is reflected back at you in the mirror.
Whereas some tasting rooms may feel like museums where you're afraid to touch anything, Bread & Butter encourages its guests to leave their mark. What's at first glance a display wall of bottles adjacent to the bar is actually a wishing wall where you can write your hopes and dreams on a blank label and then put it on display. Snap a black and white polaroid in front of a life-size ampersand (the one from the label) and pin it up alongside those who came and sipped before you. Write a message on a cork and drop it in a display case with hundreds of others.
Bread & Butter has several settings for tastings, enabling you to choose your own adventure. For something indoors and casual, settle into the cozy front lounge or snag a seat at the bar and enjoy a Wine Country pastime that has largely been replaced by formal, sit-down tastings at private tables. Yet if a private table is what you're looking for, there's a room for that, and another private room for groups whether it's a bachelorette party or a business meeting that happens to end in a wine tasting. The best seat in the house is arguably the breezy back patio, set just a few feet from the vines, and you may notice wine caves on property, reserved for private and wine club events.
(Courtesy of Bread & Butter)
Winemaker Linda Trotta has 30 years of winemaking experience across four continents and focuses on crafting approachable, balanced wines that are true expressions of the grapes from which they're made. The small production wines featured at the Bread & Butter tasting room are sourced from all corners of Napa Valley, from the southern point of Carneros to Calistoga in the northern end, and there are tasting options for all kinds of palettes. Choices of flights include a mix of whites and reds, just reds, and one that's all single-vineyard cabernet. For the cabernet tasting, you'll get to explore Napa Valley's signature grape and the nuances of the microclimates where it's grown. If you want to take any of the wines home, you may be surprised to find that the prices start as low as $30 and don't exceed $100—a true rarity in modern-day Napa.
In tribute to its name, Bread & Butter has partnered with a chef to utilize local ingredients and create a line of gourmet butters that can pair with the wines, like Meyer lemon for the sauvignon blanc or red cherry for the pinot noir. This unique tasting experience isn't available in the tasting room yet (hopefully soon), but it is available for private events and wine club members. Located at the south end of Napa Valley's Silverado Trail, Bread & Butter is an ideal place to either start or end a day in wine country.
Visit the tasting room Monday - Thursday now through October 31st and receive two tastings for the price of one when you mention 7x7. —Jess Lander
// Reservations are recommended but walk-ins are welcome. Visit breadandbutterwines.com for more information; 3105 Silverado Trail (Napa).