Sausalito Wine Tasting
There are three different wine tasting rooms to enjoy in Sausalito, all within three or four blocks of the Ferry pier. Each has its own style and personality, and we recommend you visit more than one before deciding where to try a flight since they’re all so close together.
Each features a selection of different flight of wine, snacks to accompany your choices, and knowledgeable people to answer your questions. We have never felt “pushed” to buy something, and the environments are comfortable. The first two tasting rooms on this list also include an art gallery in the experience.
Guide to Sausalito Wine Tasting Rooms
None of your OurSausalito.com editors would qualify as a wine connoisseur, expert or even “that person at the party you ask to pick something from the wine list.” I do have a friend who´s a sommelier whom I can turn to once in a while if we’re having a special dinner, but 99.9% of the time I’m standing alone in the wine aisle trying to figure out what to buy.
Even if I can’t taste a wine and debate the relative flavors of peach, cranberry, chocolate and Victory, I still think that going wine tasting is a really fun way to spend an afternoon.
If you have the time I also recommend taking a side trip from Sausalito up to the Wine Country of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino, an area you enter after driving about an hour to the north. Although I enjoy joking about how Sausalito is so great that you don’t want to visit anywhere else, there is an incredible, diverse array of wineries with tasting rooms in the Wine Country. A wide variety of guided tours to that area are available, using everything from antique cars to limos to luxurious buses.
That said, if it’s 2:30 in the afternoon and you decide wine tasting will be fun, it’s late to go up to visit the wineries themselves, where the tasting rooms close relatively early. You can have a great time exploring wines here, and for many people it’s preferable to the long drive north. It may also inspire you to visit the home base of a great wine you discover at a Sausalito tasting room.
Sausalito´s wine tasting shops include one that is an outpost of a long-established Napa winery. Another includes space that’s an art gallery and offers the perfect treat boxes “to go”. A third has a magnificent view out its front window and represents a Wine Country vintner.
And all of them offer lot more fun and a more interesting experience than sampling the specials at BevMo!
What Do You Do at a Wine Tasting?
If you´re new to the experience, here are some general guidelines on how it works to go to a wine tasting at a shop, including some hints from my sommelier friend (with thanks to Elizabeth Olson):
On any given day these tasting rooms and wine bars will typically offer two kinds of experiences:
1. Two or more different ¨tasting flights¨of small servings of three or four different wines that allow you to:
- Take a particular style, varietal or blend and compare the subtle differences between the wines from different regions or labels, or…
- Sample several different kinds of wine from a single winery.
The choices can run from everyday table wines to expensive cuvees of rare labels. Prices can vary widely, but expect to pay $10 to $40 per flight depending on the price per bottle of the wines you´re being served.
You can always drink the entire portion, but if you don’t care that much for a wine they have a bucket where you can dump the remaining contents of your glass (or allow the host or hostess to do so). This is considered normal, not rude, since you can only enjoy a certain amount of wine and it’s wasteful to use that quota up when you don’t care for the taste.
Do be sure to munch on the snacks they give you as you taste. This cleanses your palate and clears your taste buds, gives you ideas on how to do pairings with food, and eating will help your body to better absorb the alcohol in the wine.
At festivals and special events they could have 20 wines or more being offered up as part of a flight, but that’s outside the everyday experience in a wine shop.
2. Tastings from individual bottles that are currently being offered for sale. These small servings will often be free. Some of the top restaurants in town, including Farley Bar and Poggio, also on occasion offer special flights of wine for tasting.
3. Strong perfume or after-shave will interfere with anyone enjoying the taste of wine, since the bouquet contributes so much to the perceived flavor. The same is true for any other strong odors.
4. Stay hydrated by drinking water between tasting different wines, especially if you’ve been walking all over Sausalito on a hot day. Not only will you get a more accurate taste of each wine by separating them with water, but sipping wine may disguise the fact that you’re dehydrated from being in a warm setting. No one likes to end up with that dull, pounding dehydration headache.
5. Don’t worry about how much you know about wine. The idea is to have fun, not engage in am enology conference round table. The people who work in tasting rooms like teaching people about different kinds of wines, and they don’t expect visitors to be experts when they walk in. If you ask questions you’ll learn more, have more fun, and also make it more fun for the staff in the tasting rooms.
All right then, what are you waiting for? Go out and have a good time!