Wine & Travel

Snooth User: jamessulis

San Francisco

Posted by jamessulis, Apr 21, 2012.

Taking a 4 day holiday in San Francisco and was interested in having some wine to drink and bring a few bottles back home. Now, I don't really want to drive far as I would rather stay in the city to check out dining, shopping and the likes. Are there any wineries/etc within the city limits that I could tour? I have never been to San Fracisco but plan to hotel there and visit Alkatraz (might be a tourist trap but I've just got to see it because it's on my bucket list). I am interested in the red variety of wines and really not to fond of Pinot Noir's but love Cabs, Merlots, Sangioviese, etc.

Hope to hear from some folks that know San Francisco as I really don't want to go there blind and wind up not seeing anything that is worthwhile or stuff a book tells you to go see.

Thanking anyone in advance, this trip is been long time coming and can't wait to get it on in late July or early August this year.

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest



Reply by dmcker, Apr 21, 2012.

What kind of food do you like to eat, James? 

Rather than wineries, I assume we're talking about winebars and wineshops unless you're willing to drive south to Santa Cruz or North to Sonoma or Napa. Hanging in the City, especially if you've never been there before, sounds like a smart thing to do rather than run yourself ragged driving all over the place in that period of time. Plenty to do in the City. 

I have some suggestions but am running out the door right now. Will revisit later, but assume others will step in before then....

Reply by jamessulis, Apr 22, 2012.


Type of food I like is seafood, red meat and just about anything that rhymes with WINE. I will be traveling with 2 vegans and one vegetarian so they will be more specialized. If there are restaurants that offer food for all palates that would be wonderful but I'm not hopeful of that. So far we plan to stay in the city for a few days then rent a cabin somewhere along the Merced River for a few more. Alkatraz, Yosemite of course then back to San Francisco to fly back to Portland Oregon. Probably more information to come as the planning of this trip unfolds with the help of course the Snooth members here who are familiar with the area.

Reply by Pyrifera, Apr 22, 2012.

Hi jamessulis,

There are a few wineries in SF, although I love going to wine country and would highly recommend Sonoma Valley if you can make it.  It doesn't sound like you have very much time, but you can hit the first winery in Sonoma in about 40 minutes from the City.  I have yet to visit the tasting rooms in SF, probably because wine country is so close.  However, Wattle Creek Winery is in Ghirardelli Square, The Winery SF is located on Treasure Island (accessible by car and bus), and, in Oakland, Dashe Cellars and JC Cellars are next door to each other near Jack London Square and accessible by BART. 

As for restaurants and wine bars, you won't have too much trouble finding both vegetarian/vegan options and meat options in the same restaurant.  I highly recommend Greens Restaurant (at Fort Mason with great views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge), which is vegetarian, and Millennium Restaurant, downtown, which serves without doubt the best vegan food I have ever eaten.  It's a bit pricey, but well worth it.  I would also recommend Absinthe which has very tasty meat and vegetarian options, plus a wonderful wine list.  They also own Arlequin Wine Merchant, which sells wine but also serves glasses and hosts regular tastings.  And Foreign Cinema, in the Mission District, has great food and a decent wine list. 

I hope you enjoy your trip!

Reply by EMark, Apr 22, 2012.

Lefty, I am guessing that you are going to drive from the City over to the Sierras for your cabin stay.  You will be driving right by the Livermore Valley area.  Livermore Valley does not have the cache of Sonoma or Napa, but it is legitimate wine country.  If I'm not mistaken, a few months ago, Napagirl posted reviews of some good winery visits in the Livermore Valley area.  You might want to resurrect that thread and check it out.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 23, 2012.

The Ferry Building in SF is now a food and wine Mecca (can there be a wine Mecca?), with Slanted Door (Vietnamese Fusion and great wine pairings--but prepare to drink some Auslese Riesling!), Hog Island Oyster Farm (I know, you are from the NW, but they have some varieties even you will find astounding), and the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, which we sent Giacomo's friend to.  At FPWM, you can taste many of the wines at the wine bar, prices are pretty good (not quite what you'd pay at WineMine or Paul Marcus, maybe, but those are in Oakland), and they have a really good selection of smaller Cal producers. You don't have to drive or leave the City. 

Wineries: A.P. Vin, a well regarded maker of Pinot, is actually in San Francisco, but I can't find any tasting room hours.  Chances are they are open only for events.  Dashe and JC are about four long blocks for the Lake Merritt BART station in Oakland, and there are a few others nearby, but not really walkable from there.  You would want a car for those, but JC and Dashe would be do-able.  You could also take a ferry to Oakland from SF--much more pleasant--and walk along the waterfront to Dashe/JC, a much nicer option than BART and then walking under the freeway!

SF has some other really good winebars and wine shops. There' sRouge et Blanc in the Embarcadero just for convenience, but many others as well--I can't keep up with all them, but Yelp has up to date listings.  Alas, John Walker Wines and  Spirits closed, but Napa Valley Winery Exchange on Taylor is near hotels.  It's got a decent selection of smaller Cal producers, and all the big names, too.  The other good wine shops--K&L, WineHouseSF, WineClub--are harder to get to on foot, although if you go to a baseball game, K&L is very close to the ballpark (and often gets crowded afterward). 

If you are going to the hinterlands, why not go a little farther north and you can visit Terre Rouge/Easton and Noceto in Plymouth?  Terre Rouge makes some of the best S. Rhone style wines anywhere and Noceto is known for its Sangio. Easton is the side of Terre Rouge (same owner-winemaker) for Zins and very well regarded for those, also.  Unless you want to "change course" and make your river trip a little closer to wine country, say, along the Russian River... then the wine options abound. 

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