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San Francisco for Wine Lovers

Discover Six Great Ways to Sample Wines

My San Francisco for Wine Lovers guide will tell you everything you need to enjoy the best wine experiences all around San Francisco. The city is full of wine related activities from tasting rooms to a cruise dedicated to wine lovers.

If you enjoy discovering unique wines, you will find a wide variety at SF's wine bars. It's also fun to hop in a car or on a tour bus for a day of wine tasting in Napa and/or Sonoma. Both are just over an hour away.

Read on to learn more about the best places to enjoy wine in San Francisco.

1. Wine Tasting Rooms

Wines have been produced in San Francisco for decades. However, it wasn't until recently that these wineries started to open their doors for public wine tastings. Most source their grapes from the Northern California wine countries.

winery collective

You will find familiar varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. You will also find varieties such as Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Tempranillo.

You will find tasting rooms in Fisherman's Wharf, the SOMA district, Dogpatch, and on Treasure Island. Click here to check out a list of my ten favorite wine tasting rooms in SF.

If you want to learn more about the history of wine in San Francisco and taste with a local expert, then head out on this fun Urban Wine Tasting Tour. On this 3.5-hour tour, you will taste wine at three urban San Francisco wineries. The tour starts at 2pm at the Bluxome Street Winery. Click here to find more details on

2. Wine Bars

It seems like these days, you can find a new wine bar on almost every corner. However, even though the city has quite a few options, not all of them have high quality wines.

My favorite place to go is the Hidden Vine in the Financial District. It's down an alley at 408 Merchant Street (between Battery and Sansome).

This cozy place offers an amazing selection of wines. You will find local favorites from Napa and Sonoma as well as some hidden gems from places such as Greece, Macedonia, and Virginia.

They go out of their way to please their wine loving locals. Did I mention you can also play a game of Bocce Ball while you are here?

Do you want to find other top wine bars in San Francisco? Click here to discover a list of my 10 favorite wine bars in SF.

3. Weekly Wine Seminars

If you love sampling wines, but also want to learn more about them, then make sure to stop by some of SF's weekly wine tasting seminars. They are low-key events at local wine shops. However, they allow you to learn more about new wineries, wine regions, and popular local wines.

Click here to learn about the Thursday night wine seminars at K&L Wines.

Click here to learn more about the Saturday wine seminars at K&L Wines and Golden Gate Cellars.

4. Annual Wine Events

San Francisco hosts almost a dozen large wine events every year. The most famous is the Chronicle Wine Tasting Competition every February. It's the largest competition of American wines in the world.

After the judges sample and select the winners, they feature a public wine tasting event. During the event, you can check out both the winners and the other wines they competed against.

wine tasting event

You will also find smaller, dedicated wine events that focus on either a specific wine or group of wines. The ZAP Festival in January/February is focused just on Zinfandel wines. The Rhone Rangers pours wines that are famous in the Rhone Valley Region in France.

Click here for a calendar of wine events this year.

5. Wine Cruise

Cruise around the bay as you sample great Northern California wine. On this 90-minute boat ride, you will see the sights around the SF Bay including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, and Alcatraz.

It's a small group cruise with less than 30 people, which creates an intimate relaxing atmosphere to travel around the bay. It includes four wine samples and light snacks.

If your beer loving friends want to join, they can swap out the wine tasting for five samples of beer instead. Both types of tastings are equivalent to one full glass of beer or wine. You can also buy additional drinks during the voyage at their open bar.

This cruise runs mostly on the weekends starting at around 1pm. Check their website directly for more details and to book your cruise today!

6. Napa & Sonoma

The biggest treat for wine lovers in San Francisco is the proximity of both Napa and Sonoma. Both are just over an hour drive away from the city.

You can either venture up on your own or go with a guided tour. Both offer you the chance to visit a variety of wineries and learn more about these gorgeous wine tasting regions.

wine tasting in sonoma

Click here to learn more about what it's like to visit Napa or Sonoma and find a list of the top wine tours available. On the page, you will also find some tips on heading up to these regions and visiting on your own.

Savings Tip: Before you book your Napa or Sonoma tour, make sure to check for current discounts on Goldstar. They offer tickets at up to 50% off popular tours, cruises, and other activities. You will often find a handful of wine tours featured at this discount. Click here to see if you can snag your wine tour tickets at a discount on Goldstar today.

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