Best Wine Tasting in San Francisco

San Francisco is a wine city by nature, so don't hesitate to stay and read if you want to know which are the best wine tastings you'll find around the city.

Andressa García

Andressa García

11 min read

Best Wine Tasting in San Francisco

Wine in San Francisco | ©in0_m0x0

Wine tastings in San Francisco are especially aimed at the region's wineries. Some restaurants also offer tastings of this liquor on their menus. But to get even more knowledge about the wines and how they are grown, you have to go to a vineyard.

You are in luck if you still have room on your list of things to see and do in San Francisco, as this is a city whose magical vineyards yield gourmet quality wines. Here are some of the best tastings of **San Francisco'**s star product: wine.

1. Napa Valley Wine Train

Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train| ©Jim G
Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train| ©Jim G

If we have to talk about wine tastings in San Francisco and its surroundings, we have to start talking about the Napa Valley Wine Train. It is a train that was rebuilt, but still retains much of its original structure. The purpose of its restoration is to function as a wine route of the Napa Valley wine region.

It is an experience only suitable for sen iors that you can't miss. On the train you will have the chance to taste exquisite dishes, appetizers, platters of local products and other interesting foods. But above all you will have the opportunity to taste the many varieties of wine produced in the region.

This wine route also takes you to the most important vineyards and wineries with the best production in the region. It is an authentic wine tasting route that is not to be missed. And if you even want to enjoy the scenery while tasting wines, I recommend that you do this route in the spring season.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 146 euros.
  • Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
  • Means of transportation: The train itself, which you take at the Napa train station, located at 1275 McKinstry Street.
  • Advantages of this route: You can eat, walk, taste wines and see the scenery without moving from one place. You'll tour all of **Napa Valley'**s most iconic sites. Assistance pets are allowed. The experience is not cancelled due to weather conditions.
  • Disadvantages of this tour: Not designed for wheelchair users. If you are not there at least 10 minutes before the start of the tour, you may lose your ticket. Drinks are not included, they are separate.

Book your wine tour to Napa and Sonoma

2. Sonoma Wine Country Tour

Sonoma Vineyards| ©Jon Robson
Sonoma Vineyards| ©Jon Robson

The Sonoma region is one of the most important wine regions near San Francisco. It is world renowned for the quality of its vineyards and the importance of its wineries in the industry. So on a tour to this region you will be able to visit important and world-class vineyards and taste the final product completely fresh.

Generally this tour is a full day tour, lasting between nine and ten hours, depending of course on the number of vineyards on the list. Most of the vineyards included in these tours have been making their products for many years, so their experience is represented in the quality of the wines.

B.R Cohn Winery

One of the vineyards you will have the opportunity to visit on this Sonoma tour is the B.R Cohn Winery. This is a wine company that has operated in the area since 1984. It operates in the middle of the Sonoma and Mayacamas mountains, from where they offer their visitors a unique experience of getting to know new wines.

Roche Winery

This is a family-owned company that has won many awards during its more than thirty years in the market. It offers wine tastings both in cellars and outdoors. Both spaces will be pleasant and you will be able to eat some simple snacks while enjoying the diversity of wine flavors offered by this family-owned company.

Peter Cellars

This is a family-owned wine boutique that you will love for its blend of San Francisco' s indigenous flavors with French winemaking techniques. These characteristics help create an exquisite wine on the palate, worthy of tasting again and again.

Mayo Family Winery

In the heart of Sonoma Valley sits this family owned and operated winery since 1994. Inside this place you will feel warm and like family, tasting some of the best wines you can get in the entire Sonoma Valley, taking into account that more than twenty types of wines are produced here according to their ages and winemaking processes.

Homewood Winery

In 1983 three friends came up with the idea of starting winemaking and after they started they couldn't stop. This is the short story of how Homewood Winery became what it is today. The best thing you can enjoy here is the tasting of their best Chardonnay wines.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 137 euros per person.
  • Duration: Between 9 and 10 hours.
  • Means of transport: Air-conditioned bus.
  • Advantages of this route: It is possible to take baby carriages. Assistance animals are accepted.
  • Disadvantages of this route: Unforeseen cancellation may occur if there is bad weather or the minimum amount is not completed, in which case you are offered a change of date or refund. It is not accessible for people in wheelchairs. The wineries to be visited may change depending on the weather.

Book your wine tour to Sausalito & Sonoma

3. Private tour of Napa and Sonoma's top wineries

Napa Valley| ©James Faulkner
Napa Valley| ©James Faulkner

During this private tour you will have the opportunity to visit eight to ten vineyards with wineries in Napa and Sonoma. The most special thing about this tour is that you have 25 different vineyard options so you can plan your personalized route, of course with the help of the tour guides.

Among the wineries you can choose to do your Napa and Sonoma tour itinerary are Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, V. Sattui Winery and Chimney Rock. These are the most common options and above all the most recommended wineries to visit during your private tour.

The possibility of visiting these wineries or others such as Sterling Vineyards, Opus One Winery or Domaine Carneros will depend on the availability of the winery at the time you make your tour reservation.

Your tour guide will be able to tell you which wineries are available for tasting, depending on the grape harvest and wine production period. Visits to the different wineries and vineyards may change unexpectedly if something unforeseen happens.

Although some of the wineries I named are among the most important in Napa Valley and Sonoma, changes may occur in the supply of wineries and vineyards.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 654 euros per person.
  • Duration: 8 hours.
  • Means of transportation: Vehicles according to the size of the group and luxury SUVs.
  • Advantages of this route: You can organize a route with your own group. Pick up from your hotel or agreed meeting point in the city of San Francisco is included. It is accessible for strollers and also for people in wheelchairs.
  • Disadvantages of this tour: Wine tasting fee is not included. Lunch and airport pick-up are not included. No guide is provided, only a driver who will take you and your group to each winery, where you will receive a guided tour provided by each winery.

Book your wine tour in Napa and Sonoma

4. Visit to Calistoga wine village in Napa Valley

Calistoga Depot| ©Sarah Stierch
Calistoga Depot| ©Sarah Stierch

Calistoga is a wine town in the Napa Valley wine country, where many of the most internationally renowned wineries are located. The experiences you will be able to live inside them are unparalleled, because it is not only about tasting the great variety of wines, but also about touring the extensive vineyards that are located in it.

In this town you will be able to eat delicious food, and afterwards you will be able to take leisurely strolls through all its streets and special places. One of the most interesting things you can see in Calistoga is the aerial tramway route that can be seen in some of the vineyards of the region. A visit to this place is definitely not to be missed.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 227 euros.
  • Duration: From 9 to 10 hours.
  • Means of transport: By air-conditioned bus.
  • Advantages of this route: A specialized guide is included. Baby carriages and assistance pets are accepted.
  • Disadvantages of this route: It is not suitable for people in wheelchairs. Entrance fees to the different wineries and wine tasting fees are not included.

Book your wine tour to Sausalito and Sonoma

5. Carneros region winery tour

Carneros, San Francisco| ©Jim G
Carneros, San Francisco| ©Jim G

The Carneros region is definitely a must on a California wine tour. This is where the best wines in the world come from. You will have the opportunity to enjoy wine tasting in the open air while enjoying the views of the grape plantations.

The landscapes that you will see in the vineyards of Carneros are spectacular because they mix the tranquility of the town with the colors of the earth, the fruits and the sky that blend together.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 230 euros.
  • Duration: About 8 hours.
  • Means of transport: Air-conditioned bus.
  • Advantages of this route: Electronic tickets are accepted. Assistance pets are also accepted. You can be picked up at your hotel.
  • Disadvantages of this tour: In many cases it is only available in English. Winery tastings are not included. Tips are not included. Entrance fees to the different wineries are not included. A fuel surcharge is charged.

6. Vintage Tour at Painted Ladies Wine Country

Tour| ©Markus Spiering
Tour| ©Markus Spiering

This is an incredibly authentic sightseeing tour throughout the wonderful Sonoma Valley. The best part of this experience is that you will not only taste the wines, but you will also get to hear all the stories behind each of the wineries and how they became what they are today. On the other hand, you will be able to live this experience in an authentic vintage van from the 70s.

You will also have the opportunity to have lunch with the tour group at an Italian winery that has been specially chosen for your visit. You will be able to taste the different types of artisanal cheeses that are made in San Francisco. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you will also have the option to order vegan or vegetarian food specially prepared for you.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 153 euros per person.
  • Duration: About 8 full hours.
  • Means of transport: Authentic vintage van from the 70's.
  • Advantages of this tour: Small groups for the tour. Professional guides included for a better experience. Assistance animals and strollers are accepted.
  • Disadvantages of this tour: Not suitable for wheelchair users. It can be cancelled if the minimum number of people is not reached, which is 4.

Reserve your Painted Ladies Wine Country

What are the must-see wine country towns?

Yountville.| ©Craig Howell
Yountville.| ©Craig Howell

Wine country is a magical place very close to San Francisco. It is famous for its variety of wines, its grape cultivation and of course for the international fame of its wineries. That is why when you go on a tour of this area, you cannot miss some of the most picturesque towns in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

  • Napa: In the Valley you will not only be able to see everything related to wine tasting and production, but you can also attend concerts and other wine-related activities. If you want to know more about this region I recommend you to embark on one of the many excursions to Napa from San Francisco.
  • Calistoga: This town is worth visiting and staying for a few hours touring its most interesting places, including some of the best wineries in Napa.
  • St. Helena: It is another small town belonging to Napa with wineries ranked as the best in the world, with wines that definitely make a difference in quality and taste.
  • Yountville: It is a picturesque town with a country look and structures worth seeing and photographing, besides offering multiple options to enjoy the gastronomic options.
  • Sonoma: It is one of the most important cities in terms of wine production. It has a great variety of restaurants and other interesting places.

Tips for a wine tasting in San Francisco

Wines in San Francisco| ©Matthew Dillon
Wines in San Francisco| ©Matthew Dillon

One of the first tips you have to take into account when you go to one of these tastings is the weather. Regardless of the time or season, the weather in San Francisco is very changeable. From one moment to the next it can go from being very hot to raining heavily. With this in mind, I recommend dressing in layers.

Knowing that you will be going to the vineyards and you will be walking long roads seeing the grape plantations and tasting their flavor, I recommend that you wear light, closed and comfortable shoes. At the same time, I would recommend high-cut shoes such as ankle boots, to ensure that you stay protected during the whole tour.

As for the liquor tasting, I recommend you to measure very well the amount of wine you are going to consume at each stop. It is advisable not to overdo it with the glasses, so that you can maintain your sobriety while visiting one winery after another. Fortunately, most of these tours offer snacks to accompany the glasses.

Book your wine tour in Napa and Sonoma

Why is it advisable to take a tour of the best wine tastings in San Francisco?

Winery tours| ©Jim G
Winery tours| ©Jim G

If you are a true wine lover, if you like to taste each of its intense or sublime flavors, and you also want to know in depth its elaboration process, then you can't hesitate to take a tour of San Francisco and its wine region.

I recommend this tour because in addition to tasting more and more exquisite flavors from winery to winery, you will be able to see spectacular scenery and take beautiful pictures far away from the popular Golden Gate. It also takes a walk to meet with nature so you can see that not everything in San Francisco is a city.

What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting the wine country on my own?

San Francisco Wine Tour| ©Jim G
San Francisco Wine Tour| ©Jim G

I don't think I need to tell you many reasons why it's definitely better for you to take a guided tour of wine country rather than doing it on your own. Some of the vineyards that you will be able to see if you hire a tour are probably not open to the common public.

Another reason why I recommend a tour is because you will be able to visit the most vineyards and wineries in a single day. Just think of it this way. If you have never been or don't know wine country, San Francisco and the Napa and Sonoma valleys very well, how do you think you can make a successful itinerary?

Also, when you take a guided tour in the company of people with knowledge of wine and wineries, rather than going on your own, you have the chance to learn much more about the processes involved in working the land in the vineyards and wineries. By going on a guided tour it is impossible to miss out on the best experiences the area has to offer.

Book your wine tour in Napa and Sonoma