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Sausalito Wine Tasting Rooms
There are two different wine tasting rooms to enjoy in Sausalito, both within a few blocks of the Ferry pier. Each has its own style and personality, and each features a selection of different wines and snacks along with knowledgeable people to answer your questions.
We have never felt pushed to buy something here beyond a tasting flight, and the environments are comfortable. The Sausalito wine tasting rooms are:
Bacchus and Venus — Wine tasting, shop and art gallery. (Downtown Sausalito & Ferry Pier)
Real Napa — Wine tasting and wine shop. (Bridgeway Promenade)
What About Spirits Tasting?
The Hanson of Sonoma Tasting Room and Art Gallery, which you’ll walk by if you elect to tour the Sausalito wine tasting rooms by foot, offers fine locally distilled vodkas and whiskey.
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:
On any given day these tasting rooms will typically offer two kinds of experiences:
1. A choice of different ¨tasting flights¨of small servings of three or four different wines at different price points 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.
Here are some additional points to remember:
Strong perfume or after-shave will interfere with anyone enjoying the taste of wine, since the wines’ bouquet contributes so much to the perceived flavor. The same is true for any other strong odors.
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, 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.
Don’t worry about how much you know about wine. The idea is to have fun, not engage in am enology conference discussion. 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!