Posted by : Amanda Stein Thursday, January 30, 2014

The city of San Francisco boasts one of the most diverse and interesting wine scenes in the world.  That probably shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone given that NapaValley and Sonoma are less than an hour’s drive from the Golden GateBridge and Paso Robles sits merely three hours to the south.  San Francisco, perhaps more so than any city on Earth, has easy access to great wine.

Here’s my list, of my favorite wine bars in San Francisco:

Wine Merchant, FerryBuilding:

When the Ferry Building was remade into the centerpiece of food and locally grown food culture in San Francisco over a decade ago, no one saw the smashing success of the revitalization coming.  At the center of the building is the Wine Merchant, which does an outstanding job at bringing in winemaker dinners and special offers from throughout the world of wine.  They also have a rotating and ever widening selection of by the glass pours and a nice little set up where you can sit, enjoy a glass of wine and watch the world go by as they shop for food within one of the most beautiful Art-Deco structures on the west coast.

Treasure Island, Winery and Tasting:

Treasure Island is home to about six wineries at any one time and it is pretty unique in that they make the wine there as well, as selling it out of a shared tasting room.  That shared tasting room concept is becoming increasingly common, but this one seems to pour the best of what is currently available.  Tasting on TI can be a special treat for those whom live in the city for a couple of reasons.  First, the San Francisco MUNI (the public transportation for the city of SF) comes here directly from the Embarcadero and secondly, Treasure Island is a great place for a bike ride or a walk on a sunny day. As you might expect, the views of San Francisco are incredible.

Inner Fog:

Probably aptly named with a location in the Sunset District (reportedly named the Sunset because the only time you see the sun, is when it is setting) Inner Fog is a favorite stop of ours after a visit to Golden GatePark.  It has a very nice by the glass menu, with a peculiar affinity it seems for local wines from Santa Cruz as well as a rather stronger than advertised look into wines from South America.  Prices, for the city of San Francisco are frankly below reasonable as well, this is one of the most affordable spots for a good glass anywhere in the city.

The Hidden Vine:

As you probably expect, the Financial District has its fair share of watering holes.  The Hidden Vine does something that I absolutely love in a wine bar, they offer comparison tastings of the same varietal from different regions.  As an example, have you ever wondered how Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile compares with California-you can try it out for yourself this weekend! Their selections hit most of the Napa classics which also helps, if you aren't planning a trip into the Valley yourself.

By Mark Aselstine
Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, an online wine club and high end gift baskets business based in San Francisco.  He doesn't view the local wine stores as direct compeition since he ships to over 40 states at any time.

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