Want to head off on your own wine-country jaunt, minus the Sideways drama and tourist traffic? Downtown Napa has all your needs covered, combining the ambience of a small town with the amenities of a big city, including world-class dining, high-end boutique hotels, and more than 55 tasting rooms within walking distance. Below, four must-visit spots.
Alpha Omega Collective
1245 First Street
This gorgeous western-saloon-style tasting room features highly acclaimed pours from three sister wineries, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Napa Valley’s Alpha Omega; Burgundian-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Tolosa, on the Central Coast; and bold Mediterranean varieties from Spanish winery Perinet. Flights can be paired with cheese and charcuterie or sandwiches and fried chicken from neighboring Dutch Door.
1245 Main Street
Open for 21 years, Vintner’s Collective was the first tasting room in downtown Napa. It’s also the oldest commercial wooden building in all of Napa Valley and has served at various times as a laundry, a brewery, a brothel, and a chick hatchery. Today it offers wines from around 20 boutique producers, including ones made by the likes of Andy Erickson, Julien Fayard, Phillipe Melka, and Helen Keplinger.
New Frontier Wine Co.
1040 Main Street
Choose an album to set the mood, relax on a leather sofa or chair, and be spoiled for choice when it comes to the wines on offer at New Frontier. Start with Waypoint, a single-vineyard, non-Cabernet project that produces select wines made by Philippe Melka and Mayaan Koschitzky. Lithology raises the bar with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from some of Napa’s best vineyards, but the crown jewel is Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, of which only a few barrels are made each year.
Whiskey Bar at Sky & Vine
1230 First Street
Want a break from wine? This reservation-only, speakeasy-style bar-within-a-bar on the rooftop of downtown’s best hotel has more than 170 different bottles of whiskey on hand, including accessible pours, rare bottlings, and a vintage collection. Reward your inner spirits geek or just relax with a cocktail and take in the view along with some delicious baked oysters.