One might think that it would be easy to taste wine in Napa Valley at almost all hours of the day, but while there are lots of bars and restaurants that offer excellent wines by the glass and bottle, “last call” for tours and wine tastings at most Napa wineries is well before the sun sets over the vineyards.
Still, if you’re not much of a daytime drinker or are looking to keep tasting Napa Valley wines into the late afternoon/early evening, there are a few excellent wineries and tasting rooms where you can snag a reservation (or even walk in) until at least 6 p.m., including a couple that are open until midnight.
If you want to taste most of this small, family-owned winery’s estate-grown wines, including the popular cabernet franc, you have to either join their wine club or visit the winery’s tasting room. The latter sits inside one of the more recognizable buildings in Napa Valley, a copper-roofed, stone-faced building with a 50-foot tower at the end of a Sycamore tree-lined driveway and surrounded by gorgeous gardens with meandering walkways and outdoor sculptures. (Be sure to make time for a self-guided tour.) Reservations are required for all wine tastings, which are seated, with the last one offered at 5 p.m.8466 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 963-3600
Imagine your quintessential Napa Valley tasting room. Now imagine the exact opposite. That’s JaM Cellars, a “wine and music studio” with a living room vibe complete with Persian rugs, tables shaped like guitar picks, cozy seating including a couple of booths, and live music on Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. When there’s not a band on the tiny stage, vinyl plays on the state-of-the-art sound system, making it very easy to sit back and relax with a glass, flight, or bottle of the very approachable JaM Cellars wine. JaM Cellars is open Sunday – Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 10 pm. And Thursday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight.1460 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 265-7577
This historic St. Helena winery is best known for being one of the first wineries to open in Napa Valley after Prohibition and has built a reputation around its world-class cabernet sauvignon. The recently-renovated historic winery has large glass walls that let in tons of natural light from outside, as well as one behind the Crown Bar in the main tasting room that offers wine tasters a view into the expansive oak barrel room. Louis M. Martini offers tours, an underground cellar experience, and cabana tastings, but that aforementioned bar is where guests who want to taste wine in the late afternoon will be. The winery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, and reservations are required with the last one at 5 p.m.254 St. Helena Highway S, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 968-3362
There is nothing quite like sitting on the terrace of the Château at Domaine Carneros while sipping sparkling wine and looking out at the vine-covered vineyard hills of Napa Valley’s Carneros AVA. It is truly an idyllic Napa Valley experience, especially when paired with caviar, crème fraîche, and potato chips. Reservations (available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) are required, and the last pour is at 5:30 p.m. Be sure to give yourself time to tour the beautiful formal gardens as they are truly spectacular.1240 Duhig Road, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 257-0101
This Napa Valley winery is known for adventurous yet approachable wine made with minimal intervention. The tasting room is located in the heart of Yountville and features a large oak table and floors made with wood from the ranch, as well as a glass, temperature-controlled wine fridge that holds over 1,000 bottles. Walk-ins are welcome, and reservations are available until 6 p.m. (although if you want to explore something unique and pair your wines with bacon, the last reservation for that guest experience is 4:30 p.m.).6490 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 944-8200
Rutherford is known as one of Napa Valley’s finest AVAs and produces exquisite cabernet sauvignons. But at Rutherford Hill Winery, merlot is the shining star. See for yourself while enjoying a late afternoon glass of wine and taking in scenic vineyard views at the Oak Grove picnic grounds. The Hillside Vibes experience has a different theme each day, including Motown and Merlot Mondays, and is available for guests from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday – Thursday.200 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 963-1871
A tour of this historic, wooden, gravity flow winery, originally constructed in 1886, is a must when visiting this vineyard. It is included in many of the wine tastings on offer, but for a truly unique Wine Country experience, opt for Twilight at Trefethen, a private tasting at dusk for up to 12 guests that begins with a short tour followed by a tasting of five wines paired with seasonal share plates. It’s offered on Thursday and Friday nights, and there is only one booking, so you’ll truly have the Napa Valley estate to yourself.1160 Oak Knoll Avenue, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 255-7700
It’s somewhat difficult to find a place to taste wine after dinner in Wine Country, but at John Anthony Vineyards’ tasting lounge in the heart of downtown Napa, you can enjoy late night tastings. Sample the popular small-production sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon from the outdoor patio, in the tasting room, and in the private Reserve Room until 10 p.m., Sunday – Wednesday, and midnight on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. You can walk in, but reservations are encouraged.1440 1st Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 265-7711
In the event that there is someone in your group who doesn’t enjoy wine, or if you just want your furry friend to join you, this pet-friendly winery AND brewery is the place to go. Located in the Rail Arts District of Napa proper, St. Clair Brown’s greenhouse tasting room is the only place to get your hands on their hand-crafted wines and beers, which are produced in extremely limited quantities and best enjoyed with garden-inspired shared plates. Tasting reservations are available until 6 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.816 Vallejo Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 255-5591
Explore Napa Valley wines from Poe, Forlorn Hope, and Farella, including varietals ranging from pinot noir to trousseau to riesling, as well as low ABV cocktails at this collective tasting room in downtown Napa. The tiny space is sleek and modern with big windows ideal for people-watching while you taste by the flight, glass, or bottle. Walk-ins and reservations are both welcome and available from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday – Monday.920 Franklin Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 227-1277