The Best Walking Winery Tasting Tour in Napa Valley
Tasting Calistoga wine surrounded by vineyards is a great way to connect with the place where the grapes came from, but it’s not the only way to have a memorable experience with Up Valley wines. Downtown Calistoga boasts several tasting rooms, offering a chance to soak in local history and sample high quality wines.
“Location, location, location. Isn’t that everything? And we are supremely located,” said Nurit Robitschek of CAMi Vineyards and Art Gallery, which is in the heart of downtown Calistoga on Lincoln Avenue. Tastings at CAMi take place in a modern art gallery surrounded by founder, vintner and artist Laurie Shelton, who showcases her art as well as outside artists. Robitschek said she loves the location because she gets to know so many locals as they stroll by or stop in to say hello, including Mother Tabitha from the nearby monastery.
The charm of Calistoga is as much in the aesthetics of the buildings as the warmth of its people. A man named Joe comes around regularly with his dog named Zoey, Robitschek said.
“They walk by every day, and Zoey has to stop and have her love fest with me,” she said.
Down the block from CAMi, history is showcased in a building some locals still refer to as “the old pharmacy.” The building that houses KB by Knights Bridge tasting room was indeed once a pharmacy, but started out as the National Bank, built in 1923. Chrystal Fairbanks of Knights Bridge said the winery plans on celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the building beginning January 2023.
“Being in the bank, tied to that rich history of Calistoga is pretty special,” Fairbanks said.
Guests who want to immerse themselves in the building’s history can opt for a private tasting in what was once the bank’s vault. She said it’s a great way to “learn about wines and our legacy product.”
While sipping wine and noshing on a charcuterie plate in a bank vault is a one-of-a-kind experience, sitting outside near the Napa River is pretty cool, too. August Briggs Winery and Lawer Estates are located on either side of the waterway that offers shade and an opportunity to engage in nature as birds flit about in the trees lining the river.
Romeo Vineyards & Cellars has al fresco seating among beautiful jasmine and roses, tucked in and around an 1800’s cottage. Giant redwood and cedar trees provide a respite from the sun and a feeling of a nature retreat.
Where Romeo offers an old-world feel, the tasting room at Olabisi Wines is clean and sleek. The only tasting room in downtown not located on Lincoln, it is visible from that main drag, and not to be missed. Located on Washington Street, the tasting room is open, airy, and comfortable.
For more information on the downtown wineries as well as all the wineries in the Calistoga AVA, visit CalistogaWinegrowers.com.
LIST OF CALISTOGA DOWNTOWN WINERIES
Open to the Public
August Briggs Winery
1307 Lincoln Ave.
1333-B Lincoln Ave.
Knights Bridge Winery
1373 Lincoln Ave.
Romeo Vineyards & Cellars
1224 Lincoln Ave.
Open by Appointment Only
1255 Lincoln Avenue
1226 Washington Street