In the late 1800s, Sacramento’s viticulture commerce was booming. With thousands of acres of grapes and an urban winery producing 500,000 gallons of wine, it already had an oenophile reputation. President Teddy Roosevelt was served Sacramento wine in 1903 and said he would “drink them as long as he lived”! Small wineries flourished in the region until Prohibition and then survived by selling table grapes or producing sacramental or medicinal wines, but eventually urban vineyards and wineries declined. Today, four urban wineries continue Sacramento’s proud wine tradition. The vineyards are gone, but regionally sourced grapes are fermented, blended, and bottled within our urban borders and provide contemporary wine and dine experiences. Wine bars and tasting rooms offer more options to explore vintages both locally and worldwide.
My Sacramento - Kate’s path to Downtown & Vine
Surrounded by wine appellations, Sacramento urbanites have countless offerings to sample a bit of the grape but with busy schedules those scenic drives are often bucket-listed. Sacramento’s urban wine bars and wineries provide a quick escape via bike, Uber, taxi or designated driver to hundreds of wine selections.
Kate Chomko made a circuitous route to Sacramento by way of Europe and Napa. Honing culinary skills at the Cordon Bleu and Culinary Institute of America – her credentials are rock solid. A friend and I dreamed about opening a tasting room. Sacramento made sense – it’s the center of California with millions of visitors, but no one was really telling the story about the regional wines. I moved here from Napa to open Downtown & Vine. This was the tasting room for 12 regional wineries! We do wines from other places, but try to focus on local, small producers and family-owned wineries. Our wine flights are themed – Highway 101 Flight – or winery or region specific – to make it an experience so someone can really learn something and have fun. Visitors who can’t get away to taste wine, can come here or take local home – we ship to 48 states. Our new Harvest Room features live entertainment to pair with local wine, cuisine and desserts.
Wine & Dine Urban Wineries
Frasinetti’s Winery & Restaurant – Sacramento Valley’s oldest family-owned and operated winery has
produced classic Italian wines since 1897. Once surrounded by 480 acres of grapes, the winery and restaurant are secluded in an industrial corner of Old Florin. The restaurant features traditional Italian fare including Grandma’s pot roast and a scrumptious meatball sandwich – mangia, mangia! Traditional wines such as Chianti, Burgundy and a signature Port are available only at the restaurant and tasting room. The restaurant was carved out of old fermentation tanks surrounded by redwood barrels. Old world charm, but Frasinetti is absolutely in vogue!
7385 Frasinetti Road; 916-383-2444
Revolution Wines – From crush to bottle, the first full-production winery to operate in the city of Sacramento
since Prohibition. Take your time with urban wines and seasonal menus. Local ingredients are sourced for small, shared, and large plates. Build your own Burger Thursday and seasonal Friday Night Specials paired with vino just $15. Think green! Award-winning Revolution Wines available on tap and one-liter refillable growlers. Or get educated at a Tasting Sensory Class.
2831 S Street; 916-444-7711
RailBridge Cellars & Company – A dozen varietals are blended and bottled at North 16th urban winery and retailed at eatery and Penthouse Lounge in historic Elk’s Tower. Overlooking the Underground Lounge (aka old swimming pool), the dining room is très cool. A very personal endeavor for owners Michael Gelber and Michael Chandler naming three wines – Sienna, Ella and Nathan Michael –for their children. By the glass prices are extremely reasonable. The Levine – house pastrami sandwich on double-baked rye – is Sacramento’s best – yummy paired with the 2013 ‘3 Strands’ Pinot Noir. Monthly tastings five wines for $10; 1st and 3rd Thursday, 4pm-6pm.
921 – 11th Street; 916-476-5225
Cabana Winery Wine Bar & Kitchen –Robert Smerling, winemaker and owner, traded his wine country roots for this urban winery. On the edge of East Sacramento, this diminutive winery has a huge neighborhood following. Educating customers about Wines of Cabana is the name of the game. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Boston-style Pizza are both “double-gold”. Wine flights and elegant charcuteries are a perfect pair on the dog-friendly patio.
5610 Elvas Avenue; 916-476-5492
A Taste of Urban Wine Bars
Award-winning farm-to-glass ports from America’s oldest port winery at Midtown’s Ficklin-Wilcox.
920-20th Street; 916-341-0240
Underground Tasting Room features Twisted Twig and Rendez-vous wine tastings at their subterranean wine bar in Old Sacramento. 900 – 2nd Street; 916-444-2349
Relish seasonal red and white wine flights at 58 Degrees & Holding Co. wine bar where imported and local wines are artfully curated. 1217 -18th Street; 916-442-5858
French wine spoken at The Grand. Don’t blink, you just might miss this comfy and cozy wine bar near Capitol Park. 1600 L Street; 916-444-0472
WHIRED Wine Sacramento’s newest wine bar scene. Flights and bites plus Golden 1 Center half-court an easy one-block away. 410 L Street, 916-823-5008