Winery tasting spaces might used to have meant a dingy vineyard side-room – but no longer. Here are the Napa spots visibly upping their supping game
For the Rebel Without a Cause
If James Dean were planning a day of wine tasting, he’d definitely stop in at Tank Garage Winery (pictured above), which is housed in a repurposed 1930s gas station just off Calistoga’s main drag. In the tasting room, you’ll find a 1947 Indian Chief motorcycle, images of Keith Richards, and a constantly rotating list of one-of-a-kind blends. Don’t feel like you’re getting away with enough? Join the Made Wine Club to get access to the speakeasy-style back room, which is hung with photos of Prohibition-era bootleggers.
For the Art Connoisseur
The Prisoner Wine Company’s St. Helena tasting room is new—it opened in late 2018—but it’s inspired by something very old: Francisco de Goya’s 1810 etching The Little Prisoner, a reproduction of which adorns the winery’s signature label. The facility, which is decked out with beautifully reclaimed metal and wood and skylit throughout, is also home to The Makery, an expansive tasting area that doubles as a showcase for a rotating cast of contemporary local artists, such as potter Amanda Wright.
For the Instagrammer
Ashes & Diamonds, which former Capitol Records creative director Kashy Khaledi opened just north of downtown Napa in late 2017, is a throwback both in terms of its aesthetics—the bright Mid-Century Modern architecture and interior design are a clear shoutout to the Mad Men era—and the wines it makes. The signature cabernet sauvignons are lower in alcohol than much of what is produced in Napa now, recalling the style of the ’60s vintages that first put the region on the map.
For the Urbanite
Downtown Napa has long been an afterthought for tourists, but with the town center undergoing a renaissance, an urban tasting scene is blooming. Perhaps the most notable of these spots is Mayacamas, an outpost of one of the valley’s most storied wineries. The downtown tasting room, which opened in February, features sleek decor with arty touches both classic (historic photos of the original Mount Veeder property, which was damaged in the 2017 fires) and hip (Taschen coffee-table books about Bob Dylan and Elvis).