Your comfy, local wine tasting experience starts here
If you’re planning a winter vacation in Napa Valley (you’re not? why not? you should!), you probably already know about Cabernet Season, Restaurant Week and the overall benefits of visiting wine country in the “off season.” And naturally, you’ll be putting several tasting rooms on your must-do calendar. But which cozy tasting spots will make the cut?
Some of the wine-loving staff at Archer Hotel Napa put their heads together to come up with this discriminating list of cozy tasting spots in Napa Valley. All are sure to please — during Napa’s winter season and all year long.
Downtown Napa Tasting Rooms
Staying at Archer Hotel on First Street? You're within easy walking distance of several tasting rooms. Here's a sampling:
Mayacamas — Sample wines that embody the winery's continued commitment to employ classical techniques.
Vineyard 29 — Celebrate wine, food and friendship in this modern-glam lounge space.
Housley — Come to the Living Room in downtown Napa for a five-star rated tasting experience.
Quilt & Co. — Enjoy wine by the glass, well-paired or in a flight in a relaxed yet sophisticated environment.
Roots Run Deep — Make an appointment for an experience at this tasting salon nestled in a historic Craftsman home.
With several tour and tasting options that showcase the historic property, guests can take in stunning views of the Calistoga terroir while tasting flights of Davis Estate’s flagship wines paired with seasonal delicacies. Relax in comfortable couches near the boiler-turned-fireplace or enjoy the view from the welcoming, well-padded porch swings.
Extra tip: The sky-high reviews don’t lie; book your visit to this Napa Valley gem well ahead of time.
Offering two distinct tasting experiences in Angwin, the “organically farmed and environmentally responsible” CADE Estate claims the first LEED Gold Certified Estate Winery; this modern space offers gorgeous valley views from comfortable seating groups. Its Library Tasting Experience is about a half mile from the winery and features a stone winery dating back to 1886.
Extra tip: CADE took its moniker from Shakespeare, who called wine casks shipped from Bordeaux to England “cades.”
“Time’s fun when you’re having flies.” Or something to that very good nature when you’re sipping at Frog’s Leap. The Signature Seated Tasting carries guests through a flight of five current release and library wines, while the guided tour and tasting give an inside look at the way the magic’s made. Interested in flagship wines? Book the Rooted in Rutherford tasting and explore the cab sav and merlot.
Extra tip: Pick up The Farm Box (an organic farm goods collection) for a fun birthday or holiday gift; it includes estate grown olive oil, spiced apple butter, nectarine jam, peach jam and plum jam, all in a Frog’s Leap gift box.
Oakville’s Far Niente pairs memorable wines with light bites and scrumptious cheeses at its winery. Tour the historic three-level winery built on a hilltop, its wine caves and a classic car museum, or enjoy a private tasting surrounded by the estate’s beautiful gardens.
Extra tip: The large, open lounge and dining area overlook the property’s landscape, presenting an iconic view of a top-rated Napa Valley winery.
For tastings that take place in a quaint little cottage, visit Failla Winery’s tasting room in St. Helena. An accommodating, professional staff serves cool-weather wines in the 1930s farmhouse, explaining the winery’s history and philosophy of winemaking.
Extra tip: Sign up for the Cave Tour and Tasting to experience — though not in the cozy-comfy surroundings of the farmhouse — a seated tasting among the barrels in the coolness of the cave.
Whether you’d like to stop in for a daytime vineyard experience or a late-night wine tasting, you’ll be greeted by a friendly, knowledgeable staff and have your choice of seating, either at the bar or in a cozy booth. John Anthony is known for its selection of big Napa cabernets, with its sav blanc, chardonnay and rose sparkler options bringing high praise, as well.
Extra tip: Purchase wine to ship home, but be forewarned — if you purchase a bottle or two, you very may well wish later that you would’ve bought an entire crate.
For a rustic yet modern take on wine tasting, look to Acumen. Showcasing organic cabernets and cab blends from the famed Atlas Peak AVA, Acumen not only makes a statement with LED-lit acrylic wine racks and a well-experienced staff, it also has a gorgeous art gallery to peruse. Choose from three tasting experiences and take home memories of a sublime tasting experience, along with age-worthy wines. Or visit the downtown wine gallery for warm, intimate hospitality and plenty of art.
Extra tip: Enjoy barrel samples on tap while sitting at the bar that’s been repurposed from a fallen vineyard oak tree.
Brown Downtown Napa
Manifesting the vague feeling of a speakeasy, the second-floor Brown Downtown showcases red brick and windows amid dark blue walls, with natural light streaming from above. Built in 1905, the building oozes almost as much character as the staff, who serves up unpretentious, knowledgeable service, superb cheese pairings and wines you’ll want to take home with you.
Extra tip: Try the homemade orange marmalade.
Round Pond’s second-story tasting lounge and covered terrace make for relaxed experiences at this acclaimed Rutherford winery. The spaces are designed with nature in mind and are relaxed and comforting.
Extra tip: Go for the fabulous wines, then cross the street to the Round Pond Olive Mill for an olive oil tasting and tour — it takes about 90 minutes and provides a traditional tasting of Round Pond’s handcrafted olive oils and estate red wine vinegar.
These cozy tasting spots are terrific places to start your Napa wine journey — but where else can you go after most of the local tasting rooms have closed? Peruse this curated list of Downtown Napa Tasting Rooms Open Late, which highlights the downtown Napa wine experience after 7 PM. As your vacation (or staycation) comes to an end, use this list of What to Take Home: Napa Souvenirs as your definitive guide to apropos souvenir shopping in downtown Napa.
Another option for those who like a more intimate setting for their cozy tasting spots? The luxe rooms and balcony-clad suites of downtown Napa’s Archer Hotel are ideal for cozying up with a bottle and someone to share it with. Those who choose the Archer King Suite With Balcony and Fireplace can cozy up under Napa’s star-lit skies on a private balcony with a gas-burning fireplace and a signature balcony blanket, while noshing on in-room dining from Charlie Palmer Steak. What a way to end a perfect day.
Cheers to staying cozy in Napa!