For many Napa Valley visitors, the revelation is not the wine; it’s the food. With scores of restaurants featuring farm-to-table (and sea-to-table) ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong when dining out.
But where do the folks who make Napa’s wines go for special occasions, or just a burger and (gasp) a beer? Where might visitors bump into their favorite winemaker?
We asked eight vintners to cite special-occasion and casual spots — and where they hang with their vinous homies.
The most-touted hangout: Rutherford Grill’s bar for lunch and late afternoon. If you don’t encounter a famous winemaking face while dining, at least you know that the food will be stellar.
Owner/winemaker of Melka Wines, owner of Atelier Melka Wine Consulting Company
Special occasion: “Whenever we go to Press, we know we are in for a treat. Sommeliers Kelli White and Scott Brenner always impress me with their recommendations, (and) Press has one of the most comprehensive wine lists in Napa with a number of rare older vintages/special bottles.”
Must-have menu item: “the truffle mac and cheese and bacon platter.”
Casual: “Goose and Gander is one of my favorite places to hang out and have a cocktail at the end of the day.”
Must-have menu item: “You can’t beat their burger and octopus salad.”