Throwing a party or an event at a winery can easily flop because many locations can't handle large groups nor have the ability to adjust to your vibe or purpose. So, in the interest of rockin’ wine parties, we’ve provided you with the five best wineries, from San Francisco to Sonoma and Napa, for you to get your party on or bring your party to.
Freemark Abbey in St. Helena has a great outdoor area and a small amphitheatre behind their spacious patio; but there is something else very special that this historic winery offers for parties: wine tastings that include bottles from before 1970. Their decades tasting allows you to pick a bottle of Cabernet from your birth year (or another notable year in your life) and try it alongside bottles from every decade between then and now. The prices are very reasonable and I can’t think of a more thoughtful and fun birthday or anniversary gift for wine lovers.
1313 Main in Downtown Napa is a posh yet relaxed, refined but loose, and hip yet homey wine bar. That may seem paradoxical, but each of the nooks, rooms, and tasting bars has a different look and feel and offers a unique experience. The hospitality of owner Al Jabarin and their welcoming staff will help you pick the perfect wines (impressive and well chosen selection) and area (private tasting room, roped off VIP space with private bar, outside patio) for your party or event,or just stop by to try some great wines, bites and mingling.
Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma was designed by world-renowned architect Howard Backen and it seems he was planning a party himself while he worked on the blueprints. The open-air reception courtyard, grand tasting pavilion, private events kitchen, fireside lounges, tasting suites, and underground dining alcove and barrel cellar present plenty of options for planners. The building is elegant and walls made of glass so you can stare out at the vineyards and expect great photos any time of year.
Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda has fantastic views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco, and is another winery that was clearly built with events in mind. Located in a converted 40,000 square foot airplane hanger, the building includes a classy tasting room, see-through events dome, and an oceanfront lot for food trucks and outdoor parties.
Dogpatch Wine Works in San Francisco is home to many an event as well as a handful of high end wine brands like Qualia. They entertain small groups or crowds of up to 500 people and, soon, they will be able to host you in their tasting room. With the winery as a backdrop, and a location on Third Street, this spot is easy to access and even easier to manipulate into exactly the kind of urban winery party you’ve got in mind.
Don’t forget to check out John Anthony and the rest of our favorite late night party spots in Napa Valley and JAQK if you’re looking for speakeasy-style wine parties in San Francisco.