Donapa Itineraries

A Wine - Lover’s Guide to Downtown Napa

Whether you’re a Napa Valley regular or planning a visit for the first time (if that’s the case, be sure to check out our First Timer’s Itinerary, too!), you probably know that Napa is best known for its wine scene. For all the wine connoisseurs hoping to plan the perfect Downtown Napa trip, look no further. From cozy, historic tasting rooms to chic, modern wine bars, this guide ensures you’ll get the full scope of Downtown Napa’s thriving viticultural core on your next visit. Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a wine-tasting quiz to help you determine your palate—take it here and discover what kind of taster you are


No One Does Brunch Better Than Napa

Start your day with some seriously good eats and sips.

A getaway to Downtown Napa should be focused on embracing the simple joys and experiencing the most of what the town has to offer. Before you journey through Napa’s wine landscape, start your day with some seriously good eats and sips. Downtown Napa’s culinary offerings are sure to wow you at all times of the day, and brunch is no exception. Check out Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar (an especially convenient spot if you’re already staying at the Archer Hotel) for their Sunday brunch, which features bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and prawn micheladas. Their beignets are to die for, too, so don’t skip an order of those for the table. Or, head in the direction of the Oxbow District, where C Casa presents a brunch menu infused with Mexican flavors both sweet and savory. Their unique brunch cocktail list and any of their exquisitely prepared culinary options will be sure to start your day off on the right note. 


It’s time to hit the tasting rooms

Once you’ve had a bite to eat, it’s time to hit the tasting rooms

Once you’ve had a bite to eat, it’s time to hit the tasting rooms. If you consider yourselfsomething of an expert in the world of wine, you might feel at home among some of the more sophisticated tasting rooms Downtown Napa has to offer. Plan to make a reservation before visiting Alpha Omega Collective, one of Downtown’s most timeless sipping spots offering terroir-driven wines available as flights, glasses or by the bottle, paired with delectable bites from Pennington Provisions. Those passionate about wine will find their enthusiasm reflected back to them at Quilt & Co. Tasting Room, where vintner Joseph Wagner’s love for wine creates an exciting list of offerings sure to please your palate. Or, head to John Anthony Wines, a fine wine shop and tasting room that now has the option of adding caviar service to your wine tasting experience.  

To learn a little more about Downtown Napa’s history, several tasting rooms serve as both a historical site as well as a place to unwind and savor a glass. Enjoy wines from the Ackerman Family Vineyards as you tour the Ackerman Heritage House, a beautifully preserved relic from the Victorian Era of wine country. Chateau Buena Vista is another stop sure to interest any history buff; the winery was first founded in 1857 and initially spanned from Sonoma to Napa. Now, it resides squarely in the heart of Downtown Napa and offers guests the opportunity to step back in time as they taste aged wines while reclining on velvet couches. For a truly luxurious experience, they also offer chocolate and caviar tastings.   

Whether you’re looking for a more casual experience for a large group or you simply want a tasting experience that comes with good conversation, too, Downtown Napa has a selection of more casual-chic tasting rooms sure to fit your vibe. Pop into Mark Herold Wines in the Oxbow District, a tasting room that features vintner Mark Herold’s private-label wines. Mia Carta, a collective tasting room representing eight of Napa’s small production wineries, also proudly showcases their vintners on Friday nights in the summer. Stop by between 5 and 7 pm to have a chat with some of Downtown Napa’s most talented, passionate winemakers as you sip your way through the flavors of the Valley.  


Some wine is best enjoyed alongside cuisine that matches its quality.

Settle in at one of Downtown Napa’s fine dining spots.

Some wine is best enjoyed alongside cuisine that matches its quality. As your day draws to an end, take a break from all the exploring and settle in at one of Downtown Napa’s fine dining spots.  

Award-winning Compline Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy world-class food as you continue your journey through Napa’s best wine. Their impressive wine list features 37 pages of international and local wines, while their dinner menu, though certainly smaller, is carefully crafted, showcasing international flavors prepared with a foundation of California cuisine. Just 40 steps from the restaurant’s door is the Compline Wine Shop, a boutique wine shop selling hundreds of hand-picked bottles, ranging from rare finds to everyday drinkers. Stop by after your dinner to pick up a souvenir bottle. Or, stop in at La Toque, located in the Westin Verasa hotel. This Downtown eatery is the proud recipient of The Grand Award from Wine Spectator. An award only given to 93 or so establishments worldwide, The Grand Award marks La Toque as having one of the best wine selections in the world. Not only is their wine list extensive, their team of attentive staff and expert sommeliers are unmatched in their ability to guide you towards the best wine for your personal tastes. 

 Before you call it a night, stop by Be Bubbly, Downtown Napa’s only champagne and sparkling wine lounge. On the weekends, they’re open as late as 10 pm, making it a perfect stop on your way back from dinner. They often showcase events such as live music, comedy, drag shows and more, so keep an eye on their events page to see what might be happening during your visit. JaM Cellars, a laid-back, music-driven tasting room, also hosts live music Thursdays through Saturdays and is open until midnight.  

Where to Stay

For wine lovers, Downtown Napa is the bucket list trip. Seasoned sommeliers and beginner bottle enthusiasts alike will be sure to make memories that last a lifetime and leave you already planning your return. There’s so much to discover, you can’t possibly cover it all in one day — consider extending your stay to explore the hidden depths of Downtown Napa’s wine scene. Use this itinerary for inspo, or check out any of our other trip itineraries to customize your experience. We’ll be waiting, ready to raise a glass to your wine country odyssey!