Wine Tasting in San Francisco: 12 Places You Have to Try
California is wine country. The history of the wine industry on the West Coast goes back to before California was even part of the United States. It was the Spanish who first brought wine to this region. And thanks to California's Mediterranean climate, the grapes they brought quickly flourished.
Now, California is one of the world's top wine regions. And as the closest city to the Northern California wine country and the Napa Valley, San Francisco is one of the best places on earth to immerse yourself in the incredible variety of Californian wine. The coastal city, famous for the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, is an exceptional place to discover new wines and enjoy old favorites. You'll find plenty of wine bars, boutique wineries, and tours that will take you from the San Francisco Bay to discover the very best of California wine country.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in San Francisco, and you'll be ready to enjoy both local wines and international offerings. San Francisco is a wine city that can compete with just about any on earth, and you'll be glad you made the trip to discover the home of California wine. And with lots of other great things to do in San Francisco at night, you need never be bored in the City by the Bay.
This is one of the best places to start your wine adventure. This intimate wine bar features a rotating selection of wines from some of California's top small production wineries. The knowledgeable staff is always on hand to help you find the perfect bottle, and there are often special events featuring winemakers pouring their latest releases.
Located in a charming brick building in the heart of San Francisco, right by the Hyde Street cable car turnaround, this multi-winery tasting room offers the perfect introduction to local wine. Step through the doors into these sophisticated surroundings, and it's easy to forget that you're right on Fisherman's Wharf, one of San Francisco's top tourist attractions.
A regular tasting at Winery Collective lets you choose from four different flights of wine, each consisting of five glasses. A wine expert will be on hand to guide your selections and explain more about what you're tasting. Once your flight is complete, you can order wine by the glass or by the bottle and enjoy more locally produced wines in what's sure to be a memorable evening in this well-appointed wine tasting room.
485 Jefferson St, San Francisco
Château Montelena Francisco Tasting Room
This historic winery in the Napa Valley was founded in 1882 and is best known for its 1973 Chardonnay, which beat out some of the finest white Burgundies in a celebrated tasting event in Paris in 1976.
But you don't need to go all the way to the Napa Valley to enjoy one of the oldest vineyards in the New World. Château Montelena also operates a tasting room in the Westin St Francis hotel in San Francisco's Union Square, making this an easy way to sample the best of California wine without going to all the trouble of a wine tour outside the city.
If you're interested in trying the 1973 Chardonnay that put Montelena on the map, you can do so here for a very reasonable $45. But there are plenty of other great wines on offer, including reds, whites, and sparkling wines. The knowledgeable staff will help you find the perfect bottle to take home with you or enjoy in the attractive tasting room.
335 Powell St, San Francisco
Maritime Wine Tasting Studio
This unique wine bar is located in an old maritime warehouse on San Francisco's Embarcadero waterfront. As well as offering a great selection of wines by the glass and bottle, Maritime also has a range of cheese and charcuterie plates to accompany your wine.
If you're looking for somewhere atmospheric to enjoy a glass or two of Californian wine, Maritime is definitely worth seeking out. The historic building has been sensitively restored, and there are some lovely views of the Bay Bridge from the outdoor patio.
With around 20 wines available by the glass and over 50 by the bottle, there's plenty of choice at Maritime. The knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you make a selection, and you can also take advantage of the regular wine education events if you're keen to learn more about what you're drinking.
222 Columbus Ave, San Francisco
JAX Tasting Room
This small but perfectly formed wine tasting room is located in the South Beach area of San Francisco. JAX is part of the local Vineyard 29 estate, which has been producing award-winning wines since 1984.
If you're looking for a relaxed and informal introduction to Napa Valley wine, JAX is definitely worth a visit. The small tasting room is located within the historic stone winery building, and there's no need to make a reservation – just drop in and enjoy.
There are around eight wines available by the glass at JAX, all produced by Vineyard 29. The friendly staff will be happy to help you choose the perfect bottle to take home with you from the comprehensive selection on offer.
326 Brannan St, San Francisco
Treasure Island Wines
This family-run winery is located on Treasure Island, a man-made island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Treasure Island Wines produces a small but perfectly formed range of wines, all of which are available to taste and purchase at the on-site tasting room.
The intimate tasting room is located within the historic Winery Building on Treasure Island, and there's no need to make a reservation – drop by any time within their opening hours. If you find a favorite, you can purchase a bottle or two to take home with you.
If you're looking for somewhere a little different to enjoy a glass or two of Californian wine, Treasure Island Wines is definitely worth a visit. The unique setting and intimate tasting room make this a great place to relax and enjoy some of the best wines that California has to offer.
995 9th St #201, San Francisco
JCB Tasting Salon
This chic wine-tasting salon is located in San Francisco's Financial District at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. JCB is part of the prestigious JCB Collection of wines, which includes some of the finest estates in Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Napa Valley.
If you're looking for a luxurious wine tasting experience, JCB is definitely the place to go. The beautiful tasting salon is located within a historic bank building, and even though the surroundings are lavish, you don't need to make a reservation.
There are around eight wines available by the glass at JCB, all from top estates in Burgundy and Bordeaux.
600 Stockton St, San Francisco
This popular wine bar is located in San Francisco's Mission District. Taste SF offers a great selection of wines by the glass and bottle, as well as a range of cheese and charcuterie plates to accompany your wine.
If you're looking for somewhere relaxed and informal to enjoy a glass or two of Californian wine, Taste SF is definitely worth a visit. There are around eight wines available by the glass at Taste SF, all produced by local wineries.
2625 Clement St, San Francisco
Napa Valley Wine Train
The Napa Valley Wine Train is a great way to see the beautiful Napa Valley while enjoying some of California's finest wines. The train runs for 36 miles through the heart of the valley, stopping at various wineries along the way.
You can choose from a number of different tour options, all of which include round-trip transportation on the wine train, tastings at three different wineries, and a gourmet lunch or dinner onboard the train.
If you're looking for a truly unique wine tasting experience, the Napa Valley Wine Train is definitely worth considering. The beautiful setting and luxurious onboard service make this a great way to relax and enjoy some of the best wines in the region.
1275 McKinstry St, Napa
Small Group Tour of Sonoma Valley Wineries
The Sonoma Valley is located right next to Napa and shares the same sunny Mediterranean climate, making it ideal for wine production. As a result, this Valley, just like Napa, is absolutely packed with wineries. This is the heart of California wine country, and the vineyards here stretch as far as the eye can see.
This small group tour takes you to three different wineries in the Sonoma Valley, as well as gives you the opportunity to enjoy a gourmet lunch at one of the estates. You'll also have plenty of time to explore the picturesque town of Sonoma.
If you're looking for a comprehensive wine tasting experience in California's renowned wine country, this small group tour is definitely worth considering. You'll get to visit some of the best wineries in the region and learn all about the production process from start to finish.
San Francisco Bay Wine Cruise
This two-hour wine cruise takes you on a tour of the San Francisco Bay while enjoying some of the finest wines that California has to offer. The cruise includes tastings at three different wineries, as well as a gourmet lunch or dinner onboard the ship.
If you're looking for a unique wine tasting experience, the San Francisco Bay Wine Cruise should definitely be high on the list. When you're not at a scenic winery, you can enjoy amazing views of the bay and its picturesque surroundings. There's really no better way to relax for wine lovers!
39 Pier Concourse Dock I, San Francisco
Uncorked San Francisco
Held in late January, Uncorked is one of the top wine festivals in San Francisco — and that's saying quite a lot. This single-day event celebrates everything vino, from Napa Valley cabernets to Sonoma Valley chardonnays. More than 100 different wineries participate, and attendees can enjoy unlimited tastings throughout the weekend.
In addition to all of the wine tasting, there are also plenty of food options available, as well as live music and entertainment. Uncorked is the perfect event for any wine lover looking to sample as many of the region's wines as possible in a single place.
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture - 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco
San Francisco Wine School
The San Francisco Wine School offers various classes and events for those interested in learning more about wine. Whether you're a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, there's something here for everyone.
Classes include everything from introductions to wine tasting to in-depth looks at specific wine regions. There are also regular wine dinners and events where you can enjoy a selection of different wines paired with gourmet food.
If you're serious about learning more about wine, the San Francisco Wine School is definitely worth considering. The classes and events here are led by some of the most knowledgeable experts in the industry, and you'll come away with a new appreciation for all that California's wine country has to offer.
415 Grand Ave #301, South San Francisco
California is internationally known as one of the world's top wine regions. Even the snooty French have had to admit that the countryside around San Francisco produces some exceptional wine. And in recent decades, the California wine industry has gone from strength to strength.
San Francisco makes the ideal base to explore the world of California wine. It's a short journey from here to Napa and Sonoma, where the wine is made, and you'll find excellent wine bars and tasting rooms throughout San Francisco. Plus, there's so much to do in the city that you won't have to struggle to keep yourself busy. Check out our guide on how to spend three days in San Francisco for some inspiration on how to enjoy this incredible US city.