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Mar 19, 2018

Top 7 Wine-ing And Fine Dining Spots in San Francisco

by Shannon Meyer

California is the fourth largest wine producer in the world and the local winemaking history goes as far back as the late 20th century. This says a whole lot about what to expect in San Francisco alone where there is no break in terms of wine events. With events like boutique wine selections, blind tastings, benefit dinners and cocktail hours, Mother's Day Brunches, Connoisseurs for the Kids programs, and the USA Wine Challenge, San Francisco is the natural choice to play host to the largest wine tasting event in the world.

During spring, it is time to tease your taste buds with the country’s best Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Carignan, and Cinsault, just to name a few. All this time, the tantalizing aromas will be whifting in from Michelin Star restaurants, traditional diners, and avant-garde eateries. Silicon Valley may be the neck of the woods for nerdy technicians and Internet-savvy startups, SF's farmer’s markets, and vineyards are no back seat passengers either. The following list of 7 wineries and restaurants does the city no justice. Just to the north of San Francisco alone, there are well over 600 wineries boasting of their own brand of wines and spirits. 

Nevertheless, the best I will do. 

roast chicken on lettuce, dinner in San Francisco

1. Treasure Island Wines

995 9th St #201, San Francisco, CA 94130
(415) 394-9463
The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is definitely applicable to what you will find at Treasure Island Wines because on the outside, it's low key. Once, however, you step inside the former US Naval Base in the middle of San Francisco Bay, the well-portioned-out winemaking and intimate tasting areas are definitely as scrappy as they come. Opens only on Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 5om, reservation through Corksharing is required for groups of 8 or more. A hidden gem even for the locals, it charges a $10 fee per visitor for its tasting events (which is refunded with any purchase of their crafty artisan wine bottles) and crackers off of their bar tops. While you sample some rad wines and crispies, mingle around with local wine lovers and the owners if they are around to answer your questions. At the end of the trip, you'll be an expert on California concoctions. 

2. Bluxome Street Winery

53 Bluxome St, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 543-5353
Approximately 35 minutes away from downtown San Francisco’s pulsing heart, this working winery also offers space for special events like family gatherings, weddings, birthdays and corporate dinners. People who know their wines know that when it comes to winemaking in the great SF, it all began threading together in either Napa Valley or Sonoma. Located in what is called the South of the Slot, or nicknamed Soma, locals converge here on weekends to languidly anoint their days with the best wines it has to offer. If you’re a newbie to the wine scene, worry not; grab the attention of the friendly servers and wise winemakers who are always ready to impart with nuggets of knowledge (and suggestions) with you. What makes this unique winery even more special is the fact that it is one of the last few wineries in this nook of SF that survived the devastating 1960s earthquake. Over cheese, board games and delightful live entertainment, you’re sure to have a splendid time digging into all the wine barrels with your buddies. 

3. JAX Vineyards

326 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 446-9505
Tucked into a small corner not too far from downtown San Francisco, JAX is a trendy Napa-style place to party and let your hair down. It offers smoky-flavored and sweet bottles of wine, an outdoor patio, tasty bites and a quaint garden. It prides itself on being a small get-away from the city buzz without patrons having to really leave it. Thanks to its comfy, cosy atmosphere, the back-to-basics venue is popularly-used for private events as it offers live music on scheduled nights. Tailor-made packages can be arranged for groups of 15 people or more, while artisanal cheeses are paired during each of its private tasting events.

4. Fat Grape Winery

1080 Avenue M, San Francisco, CA 94130
(415) 613-8925
Located on Treasure Island and on an old man-made naval island where most of the buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, many are caught a little off-guard by their ‘accidental’ discoveries of this precious little winery. The exemplar of a winery is focused on producing top quality, locally- and handmade sulfite-free distinctive-tasting wines using local Californian grapes. There are small tables to sit around in to have your own private tasting event. As the cooling air from its surrounding bodies of water brush past you, you’ll be making new friends, learning new healthy winemaking techniques while enjoying the soul-soothing sounds of the lapping waves. Some may argue that Treasure Island offers the PERFECT atmosphere for a wine tasting event. 

5. Quince

470 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-8500
Suffice to say, you would expect nothing short of exceptional from a celebrated, widely-known, much-talked-about, three Michelin Star restaurant located along Pacific Avenue in downtown San Francisco! It is, truly, fine dining at its best. Epitomizing what a Michelin Star restaurant has to offer, what is less-talked-about is its organic farm, Fresh Run Farm, which was one of the earliest certified organic farms on the West Coast. The 40 varieties of fruits, vegetable and flowers are exclusively supplied to Quiche which explains the restaurant’s seasonally-changing menu. If farm-to-table is what you’re looking for, this is it. After sinking your teeth into culinary delights like lamb, seafood and caviar, finish off the epicurean affair with mouth-watering desserts. 

6. Tank18

1345 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 799-7161
If fine dining isn’t high on your list of priorities and you’re simply looking around for a good, local stomping ground, Tank18 is definitely worth checking out. An informal winery offering one of the best tasting events around (complete with delicious snacks and small bites like goat cheese, bite-sized chicken, and ginger-cured apples), the atmosphere is footloose and fuss-free. It’s quaint, cozy...and some would call it cute. It has a unique, comfortable way of sneaking its way into your heart as one of the best diners around and because it is also a local haunt, arrive and order early to enjoy the full dining experience. 

7. Indian Paradox

258 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 593-5386
The restaurant is a full embodiment of two great loves - exotic Indian street food and delectable wine. In a very ‘international’ kind of way, Indian Paradox delivers what nobody else thought to do, which was to combine authentic Indian cuisine with equally flavorful local wine. The little gem, located in San Francisco’s Divisadero corridor, plays jazz music on Tuesday nights and offers up a delightful platter of happy hour samplers too. While the size of the diner is nothing to shout about, its intimate setting makes for a fabulous place for gatherings, corporate functions, and family dinners. Its food and drinks embrace old, traditional Indian recipes in a new, modern way, inspired by the owner’s new-found hobby after traversing the great city of San Francisco. 

With A San Francisco Charter Bus, Safe Drinking Is Your Best Bet

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