Napa Valley, USA

Napa Valley, USA

Where to drink in Napa Valley that’s not a tasting room

Here are some of Napa's best places to drink wine beyond a tasting room.

With its endless stretches of sprawling estates and elaborate wineries, Napa Valley is one of the United States’ premier places to sample wine. But tasting rooms shouldn’t be the only places on your itinerary; the region is home to several restaurants and bars that show off not only domestic offerings but unique international finds. Here are some of Napa's best places to drink wine beyond a tasting room.


It bills itself as a beer and wine bar, but Cadet in the town of Napa serves as the unofficial clubhouse for adventurous wine drinkers. A rotating roster of guest winemakers pour their creations for guests, anyone from Martha Stoumen and her low-intervention wines to Diana Snowden (Ashes and Diamonds and Domaine Dujac). Meanwhile, themed nights, such as Champagne, Gruner Veltliner, or even winemakers’ personal side projects, regularly fill the calendar.
  • Cadet
  • 930 Franklin Street, Napa
  • tel: (707) 224 4400

Cadet, Napa, California
© Alexandra Harner / photo provided
Cadet, Napa, California


Ever love a wine served at dinner so much you wish you could buy a bottle for home? That’s part of the concept at Compline, a restaurant and wine shop in downtown Napa. Local selections skew both classic (Cabernet) to offbeat (there’s an entire section on Spanish varieties grown in California), and international bottles follow the same playbook, ranging from the familiar to the esoteric. Pair your bottles with the seasonal menu (think gnocchi with Dungeness crab). And if you’re particularly enamored with what you imbibe, many are available for purchase at the bottle shop in the front.
  • Compline
  • 1300 First Street #312, Napa
  • (707) 492 8150

Bay Grape

After building a reputation as one of Oakland’s premier retail wine destinations, Bay Grape’s owners Stevie Stacionis and Josiah Baldivino headed north to open a branch in Napa. The wine country iteration is just as laid back and fun as its Bay Area sibling: tastings with winemakers and wine classes are always on the calendar. On nice days, order a glass or a bottle and take it to the outdoor patio for a laid-back happy hour with friends.
  • Bay Grape
  • 2999 Solano Avenue, Napa
  • : (707) 699 2135f

Bay Grape, Napa, California
© Emma K Morris / photo provided
Bay Grape, Napa, California


To help contextualize what you’re tasting in the tasting rooms, a trip to PRESS is in order. The restaurant proclaims to “put Napa Valley on a pedestal,” and the list of 2,500 Napa wines does just that. Rare varieties, rising stars, historic estates — it’s all here. Vignettes throughout the book tell brief stories about Napa’s ascension in the wine world. What’s most impressive might be the collection of back vintages from some of Napa’s most storied wineries. You’ll rethink everything you know about Chardonnay when you open a bottle from Stony Hill Vineyard that dates back decades.
  • 587 St. Helena Hwy, St. Helena
  • : (707) 967 0550

PRESS restaurant, Napa, California
@ Eric Wolfinger / photo provided
PRESS restaurant, Napa, California

Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant

Oxbow Market has long been a favorite of tourists and locals alike, with its various specialty purveyors and eateries, such as Oxbow Wine and Cheese. At this wine country counterpart to the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and Mission Bay Wine and Cheese in San Francisco, pair glasses of wine with a cheese board at their wine bar. On a nice day, there’s no better move than grabbing a bottle from their retail shelves and opening it on the spot for a small corkage fee, getting takeout from one of the neighbouring stalls and bringing it to the Market’s outdoor patio for an al fresco picnic. 

Shana Clarke
Shana Clarke
Find out more