Alternatives to Napa Wine Tasting – Murphy's Law
A coworker of mine who recently moved to Sacramento from New York recently asked me for ideas of what to do with some friends visiting next week. She mentioned that they were wine enthusiasts and she was going to be taking them wine tasting in Napa for part of their trip. Obviously when people are coming from out of town they want to go to Napa, but there are a number of wineries that are cheaper, closer, and more fun than those you find in Napa. First, let me be clear, I love Napa. But to be honest, I don’t always have the time (or the money for that matter) to go there for wine tasting. It always feels like more of a chore, and takes much more planning than hitting up some of my other favorite spots which are closer and less of a hassle. So if you’re like me and feel like tasting wine on a random Friday afternoon or want to take a quick day trip one Sunday, I’ve outlined a few of my favorite alternative wine tasting spots here.
Murphys, California Murphys, also known as “Queen of the Sierra” is a small town Calaveras County and home to a rapidly growing number of wineries. Located off Highway 4, Murphys is approximately a 1.5 hour drive from Sacramento and offers 15 local wine tasting rooms on Main Street. While they are all great, the ones that I am most fond of are listed below. If you get there and want to have lunch or dinner, I highly recommend Grounds, an amazing eatery also located on Main Street that never disappoints. Make a weekend of it and stay the night at one of the many quaint lodging choices available in this great town.
Allegorie Wine and Art Allegorie is open 12-5 pm daily is currently pouring vintages from 2010-2012. Their tasting room also doubles as an art gallery, which features art by local Sacramento artist Maren Conrad. Definitely worth checking out for both the wine and the art!
Newsome-Harlow Their tasting room is open 12-5 pm (Mon-Thur) and 11 am-5:30 pm (Fri-Sun). One of my favorite spots to visit in Murphys because both the wine and the people are great! I always recommend this place to friends and their wine makes a great gift. I especially love their reds – specifically their non-zins, but I’ve never had a bad Newsome-Harlow wine.
Twisted Oak This winery has two tasting rooms – one downtown on main street open 11:30 am -5:30 pm (Mon-Fri) and 10:30 am -5:30 pm on weekends and one off HWY 4 (directions here) with the same hours. Probably one of best tasting rooms I’ve ever been to – fun people, cool stuff and a plethora of rubber chickens. What more could anyone want? Oh wine … Right! They make amazing reds that are great for just about any dinner party, no matter what’s on the table. Also, if you are a wine club member there are some amazing parties to partake in. A must try for sure!
Ironstone Vineyards Probably one of the better known Murphys wineries, Ironstone has breathtaking grounds and scheduled concerts throughout the summer. While not one of my favorite producers of wine, the ambience and experience make it worth the trip. A went to a concert there a couple of years back and the venue is great. While it’s not in downtown Murpheys there is a shuttle that will take you out to the vineyard for events that picks up outside of the Murphys Hotel and takes you to the event and back for a nominal fee.