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California and wine are practically synonymous, but with so many wonderful wineries and wine tasting spots around how do you select the best? Find top wineries and the wines they produce by trying the ones experts and friends recommend. Read on for five wine tasting bars that friends would applaud and experts recommend, all in the Bay Area.

Bluxome Street Winery
53 Bluxome St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 543-5353

Conveniently located just blocks from AT&T Park and less than a block from the Caltrain station, Bluxome Street Winery is a perfect spot for wine tasting and relaxation after a long day or work week. A great place to stop off and start the weekend with friends too, as the huge space is a comfy spot for groups. Wine flights are a good deal at around $15 for five tastes, plus add something to nibble on from the short list of bar bites, or a cheese plate for $15. Highlight the weekend with a winery tour & tasting at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at $25 per person, or become a 53B Wine Club member for discounts, complimentary tastings, invitations to member-only events and courtesy shipping on case purchases.

Wattle Creek Winery and Tasting Room
Ghirardelli Square
900 N. Point St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 359-1206

Wattle Creek Winery operates with sustainable farming principles in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County, California and produces red, white, rosé and sparkling wines. The Wattle Creek tasting room in San Francisco is conveniently nestled in historic Ghirardelli Square and open every day of the week for a taste, flight, glass or bottle, plus a number of events for wine lovers to enjoy, such as wine release parties. Wattle Creek offers three levels of wine clubs, each with a variety of benefits including discounts on winery tours and member-only parties.

JAX Vineyards
326 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 446-9505

A welcome gem in San Francisco’s SOMA district for its small yet relaxing tasting room, JAX Vineyards began as a family-owned business and now has a few top wine professionals on board as well. The JAX estate vineyard is located in the beautiful Calistoga region of the Napa Valley. JAX focuses on a few whites, reds and a rosé that are simply the tops. Folks who work in the neighborhood agree JAX is a wonderful spot for a flight or a glass, or to share a bottle with friends after a long workweek. Introduce yourself to JAX at happy hour, Wednesday through Friday, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. and enjoy a few specials, along with a cheese plate to keep you going until dinner. Interested in a wine club? Then learn all about the JAX New Release Club and the various packages available when you visit the website.

Rock Wall Wine Company
2301 Monarch St., Suite 300
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 522-5700

Rock Wall Wine Company is a pretty unique winery and tasting room. Located in Alameda, California, the winery sits on what once was a Naval Air Base inside a converted 40,000-square-foot airplane hangar known as Building 24. The name Rock Wall comes from the hangar being placed north of a defensive rock wall that at one time made up the perimeter of the base. But the history side has been pulled into modern times, and the Rock Wall winery building has been totally retrofitted with its current state-of-the-art winemaking equipment. This urban winery is the gem of the East Bay and boasts some pretty fantastic views of the San Francisco skyline, a relaxing deck, a geodesic dome and of course that historic hangar. Wine tasting is welcoming here, with the tasting room open seven days a week. Choose five wines to taste for $15, though the tasting fee is waived with a purchase of a bottle of wine $25 or more. Come for Happy Hour, Monday to Friday, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. and get an introduction to this singular winery experience. Rock Wall is also a popular wedding venue offering one of the most unique spots in the Bay Area for couple to tie the knot. Club Viva at Rock Wall is the wine club here with a generous listing of member benefits and privileges.

Four Fools Winery
13 Pacific Ave.
Rodeo, CA 94572
(510) 799-1326

Rodeo has a terrific little winery and tasting room off the beaten path that deserves some extra attention. Although open on weekends only, there is a lot going on at Four Fools Winery, a small winery begun by four longtime friends. The winery produces six wines, both reds and whites, in Rodeo, California and overlooks the Rodeo Marina, offering stunning views and a relaxing wine-tasting experience. Four Fools Winery also hosts monthly events such as yoga practice, car show or tea party, all with a wine tasting tie-in. Joining the Wine Club entitles members to a roster of benefits including invitations to special events.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes on adult education, art and culture, business, and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a part of the Bay Area independent film making community. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.