Napa Valley Best Tasting rooms
Finest wines with small production. Driving from winery to winery is not the only way to enjoy highly acclaimed wines. Instead, enjoy the afternoon discovering new wines at one (or a few) of these tasting rooms. From Ultra chic to casual cool, these tastings rooms have a vibe of their own.
We gathered some of our favorite tasting rooms and are giving you all the details about each experience. The number of tasting rooms in Napa is rapidly increasing and offers a way to sample several boutique wines. Most of the wines featured at these tasting rooms are wines that are not commonly found anywhere else. For many winemakers, the collectives and tasting rooms provide the opportunity to showcase their wines.
With the number of tasting rooms increasing you will find that tasting rooms are no longer just for tasting fine wine. The experience and personal connection to the vintners as well as the consumer makes these tasting rooms stand out.
Feast It Forward
Passion for food and wine is combined at Feast It Forward, founded by Katie Hamilton Shaffer. In 2011, she founded Feast it Forward – an online video media company with a powerful focus, “Inspiring Living. Philanthropic Giving.” The Studio by Feast it Forward opened in June 2018, directly across from Oxbow Public Market. This is not your typical tasting room.
Feast it Forward encompasses a variety of content and products focused on food, wine and charitable endeavors. This two story building houses an experiential showroom with a focus on wine, food and music.
When you enter the studio, an interactive screen powered by Microsoft Surface Hub is next to the entrance. Guests can scroll through the entire studio zooming in on specific products for pricing and information.
Feast It Forward’s tasting area is located on the first floor and features 18 vitners at any given time. Each vintner offers two wines, providing an option to please every palate.
Wines can be purchased by the glass, bottle or flight. While no food is served on site, visitors are welcome to bring food upstairs and enjoy along with wine purchased on site. Private tastings can be arranged with some of these vintners on site by advance reservation.
Upstairs is an impressive culinary space that is used for the Feast It Forward lifestyle production network. This kitchen can also be used for guest chefs to offer culinary classes. The second floor also features a sizable deck with swinging bed, games and seating.
While tasting at The Studio, children are welcome at the Kids Zone, an outdoor space featuring a swing, toys and chalkboards. Chocolate tasting is also offered, and a vinyl station is available for playing a variety of old records.
With philanthropy at the heart, 5% of the total sales support Feast it Forward Foundation and Products with a Purpose. Proceeds are donated to various charitable organizations supporting women, children, animals, health and international related causes. This unique experience offers all things food, wine and philanthropy with a splash of music.
CRU @ The Annex
Centered in the Oxbow District of Napa, CRU @ The Annex Tasting another Napa Valley Best Tasting Rooms. Guests enjoy unique tasting experiences with a modern vibe. Enjoy a quiet escape from the busy downtown scene where the wine world meets the tech world.
Choose from a selection of wines as well as a list of light, seasoned snacks for the perfect pairing. You will have the opportunity to taste wines by flight, glass or bottle from CRU and Vineyard 29 Estate portfolios. CRU @ the Annex is the only place to taste CRU Rose & CRU Merlot.
Tasting flights offer three options; The Tasting, Dealer’s Choice, and The Cabernets. The Tasting includes your choice of 4 wines from the Cru portfolio. The Dealer’s Choice offers Vineyard 29’s Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc along with your choice of two Cru wines. The Cabernets flight is your opportunity to experience Vineyard 29’s highly rated Estate Cabernet Sauvignon portfolio.
By The Glass CRU @ The Annex offers Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bottles are available to purchase including CRU Rose, CRU Sauvignon Blanc, CRU Pinot Noir, CRU Merlot, and CRU Cabernet Sauvignon.
Relax and enjoy your tasting experience in their cozy indoor space or enjoy the scenery from the shaded outdoor terrace. Digital video content will complement your wine tasting experience. A digital video wall loops every hour playing video art and guests can download the Audio Everywhere app for audio.
Eat, drink and play at Cru @ The Annex! Walk in tastings are welcome here and by appointment only on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.
The Wine Thief
Vintner owned and operated, The Wine Thief is a tasting room that focuses on small family owned brands. Perfectly located on the corner of 1st Street and McKinstry Street, across from Oxbow Public Market. This boutique collective is the place to sample hard to find wines.
Focusing on the wine and education, The Wine Thief offers an experience curated to your personal preference. The vintners showcased here produce small lot wines with only about 500 to 3,000 cases annually. Wines at The Wine Thief mostly focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, but you will also find Rosé, Pinot Noir and several whites. They proudly showcase G Wine Cellars, AJ Pearce Wines, Correlation Wine Co., Buoncristiani Family Winery, Kale Wines, Delgadillo Cellars, Le Pich and Purlieu, Brace and Bit Wines.
Communal tables make this a great place for groups, and to converse with other visitors. You will also find couches available for a more intimate tasting experience. A wine station tap system allows you to pour tastings and full glasses of wines from more than six vintners throughout the valley.
Wines are available simply by walking in and choosing from two flights at the tasting counter. These can be ordered by a tasting, half glass, or by the glass. The flights include four or six wines that are based on the variety of wine available at that time.
Seated private tastings offer flights paired with cheese and local Fatted Calf charcuterie. Appointments can also be made to try the current release of any of the wines from the represented vintners in one of the two private rooms on site.
Cadet Wine & Beer Bar
Hotspot for locals, Cadet Wine & Beer Bar brings an upbeat vibe to downtown Napa. Inside is bursting with energy from locals and in-the-know visitors. Owned and operated by Colleen Fleming and Aubrey Bailey, Cadet Wine & Beer Bar offers more than 100 wines. These wines include many varietals you probably have not heard of. Plus, they have a large lineup of beers.
Floor to ceiling windows welcome you to a casual cool tasting experience. An all vinyl soundtrack creates a unique atmosphere and is a fun way to connect with other visitors. Buy a bottle and you get to pick the record!
On most days you will find they have between 400 and 500 bottles of both local and international wines. A selection of 20 wines by the glass are also available. The international selection attracts winemakers and sommeliers that you will often see at the bar.
Their list also includes domestic and international beers and ciders with rotating drafts written on the bar mirror. Beers are separated into categories based on their flavor profile and embrace both small local brewers and international.
Pair your tasting experience with a selection of small provisions including olives, pistachios, grilled cheese, and cheese and charcuterie plates. They do not have a full menu, but some of these “snacks” could pass for a meal.
While downtown Napa is typically quiet late at night, Cadet is lively and open until 1am-2am, depending on the night. Enjoy a late night taste and culinary pairing at this energetic yet casual neighborhood tasting room.
Located in the Oxbow District, WALT Wines is a hip tasting room that is overflowing with coolness. The location is ideal with the Napa Riverwalk and a collective of tasting rooms within walking distance. WALT Wines is a leading luxury Pinot Noir producer owned by Craig and Kathryn Walt Hall.
Choose from four tasting experiences offered, each providing education as you taste the terroir. From sampling their famous 1,000 miles of Pinot to Michelin-rated culinary delights, an experience at WALT Wines is unforgettable.
WALT Wines’ Current Release Tasting will introduce you to WALT’s latest selection of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. To taste a variety of wines from HALL Family Wines’ three brands you can enjoy their Portfolio Tasting. This will include Pinot Noir from WALT, Cabernet Sauvignon from HALL, and Zinfandel from BACA.
For a more luxurious experience try their Root 101 Experience. This is your opportunity to explore the diversity in terroir of 1,000 miles of Pinot. This tasting experience will feature 5-6 of their single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and food pairing from Michelin-rated restaurant La Toque.
Craving something sweet with your Pinot? WALT Wines teamed up with chocolatier Chris Kollar who locally sources artisan chocolates to pair with their Wine & Chocolate Experience. Taste Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from six different appellations that are perfectly matched with artisanal chocolate confections.
Reservations are recommended for all tasting experiences, so make sure you call in advance.
Operated by famous winemaker Gustavo Brambila, Gustavo Wine is a boutique tasting room in the Oxbow District. Gustavo is known by most from being portrayed in the movie Bottle Shock. However, in Napa Valley he is known for his winemaking techniques and his dedication to small vineyards. Gustavo wines stay true to the varietal and are made with a style inspired by old-world techniques.
Gustavo Wine produces small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Wines can be sampled by the glass or in flights. Flights offered include Clasico Flight of 4, Signature Flight of 4, Gustavo Flight of 5, or Select Flight of 7. Bottles are also available to purchase, so make sure to grab your favorite bottle to go!
Want an opportunity to meet the legendary winemaker? Private tastings are available with Gustavo Brambila and include a complimentary cheese pairing. The laid back atmosphere and the attentive staff will make you feel like you are part of the Gustavo family. Reservations are recommended for tastings and are required for private tasting experiences.
Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant
Napa’s famous Oxbow Public Market is home to numerous small vendors including Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant. The Oxbow Market is a community gathering place to enjoy great food and wine. Oxbow Cheese & Wine Market is one of the oldest merchants here and offers an assortment of wines and small bite pairings.
Popular among locals, this tasting room is relaxed yet energized with surrounding merchants. The tasting bar features four sides with several bar stools. Table seating is also available, but the patio above the Napa River is a favorite on sunny days. During Summer months several outdoor events are hosted just outside on the Oxbow River Stage, making the patio prime seating.
Take a seat at the bar and indulge in an artisanal cheese board with a flight of selected wines. Here you can enjoy delicious cheese selected by their expert cheesemongers. Oxbow Wine & Cheese Merchant also offers fine draft beer, charcuterie assortments and other items on their bar menu. You can also request pairing recommendations based on the specific wines you want to taste.
Special events are also hosted throughout the year offering wine and beer tastings with the artisanal producers who make them. Oxbow Public Market tends to be busy most of the time, but if you go during the week you should have no problem getting a seat. After your tasting, explore the market to see all the merchants offerings. Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant is a unique and special place, and one you should not miss on your visit to Napa Valley.