Visit everywine’s gorgeous private tasting room, located in a quaint and vibrant house in Historic Heights, and get the royal treatment from owners Arielle and Ryan Cooper.
Image: Courtesy everywine
So much wine, so little time. There are more than 10,000 varieties of wine grapes in the world today; that's a lot of ground to cover if you're trying to taste them all. But what if you could visit Italy, France, and Spain—or even California—without ever leaving the city of Houston? Luckily for us, there's a burgeoning wine scene right here in the city, and with that come wine tasting rooms. While beer fans already know that the city has its fair share of craft breweries, oenophiles may need a guide, much like this one, to find the right vibe.
So how will you start your taste-them-all journey? You could start by exploring a self-pour wine bar at Roots in EaDo, or by reserving a private tasting in a historic home like SERCA Wines or everywine, or by enjoying a flight at Pur Noire or Decant Urban Winery. No matter how you enjoy your wine, there are plenty of wine-focused venues in Houston to meet your needs.
Whether you're a die-hard wine fan and looking to add more bottles to your at-home collection or you want to experience something new, here are 21 spots in Houston for every experience.
Take a trip to Italy without ever leaving Houston through a visit to 13 Celsius in Midtown. This cozy 1920s-era Mediterranean-style building has an unbeatable range of quality wine. For a casual evening, order a wine flight and a beautifully curated charcuterie board (or impressive panini) with friends while sitting out in the open-air courtyard (created by the building's own volition when a portion of the roof fell). For a more intimate evening, 13 Celsius hosts wine tastings and partners with outstanding local chefs to create wine-centric dinners and special events throughout the year. 13 Celsius also has an aggressive beer selection, with more than 30 bottled beers highlighting seasonal and small-production brews. The full wine and beer collection is available for retail at 20 percent off.
If you're looking for a place that's never fully booked and feels low-key, the Camerata wine bar in Montrose will fill your cup. This diamond-in-the-rough has a great selection of fine wine, and their by-the-glass list changes daily, while the bottle list changes about once a month. The name Camerata—which translates to a room or chamber where gatherings occur—was taken from Florentine Camerata, a group of artists, musicians, and intellectuals in Renaissance Florence, which served as the perfect namesake for owner Paul Petronella's desire to create an unpretentious meeting place to sip delicious wine. Camerata's food menu consists of salumi, artisanal cheeses, and other small bites; for a full meal after tasting, try dinner at Paulie's, just a few steps away.
Simply tasting wine is one thing; getting a glass of wine poured by the person who made it is next-level enjoyment. Decant Urban Winery in the Garden Oaks-Oak Forest neighborhood handcrafts wine in small batches on-site using old-world winemaking techniques, from crushing and pressing to fermenting, barreling, and bottling. This women-owned family winery was inspired by pre-Prohibition times, when farmers would bring grapes to urban wineries for production, allowing city folk to have a more intimate connection to fine wine. Stop by to sample their wine by the glass, bottle, or flights of three half glasses; the winemakers will talk you through each wine and explain their winemaking process. No reservations are needed for tasting at Decant.
Why fly to Bordeaux for exquisite French wine when you can get it right here in the city? Eads Family Vineyards has an interesting origin story that traces back to the 1970s, when their head of household became one of the first women to import French wine into Texas. From sourcing hard-to-find wine to giving you a tailored approach to growing your collection at home, EFV, located in the Washington Avenue Coalition/Memorial Park area, offers specialty services including cellar building, private tastings led by a certified sommelier, happy hours in the cellar, and private events. The tasting is a 90-minute experience in which your host will guide you through the Clos Dubreuil current release (a flagship wine of EFV's portfolio) and two other wines while sharing the EFV history and farming practices. Small bites such as cheese, charcuterie boards, and caviar service are also offered to enjoy during the tasting. Reservations are required and can be made on their website.
Feel intimidated by the wine shelves at your local grocery store or the wine list at a restaurant? Put that all behind you by taking a class at everywine, whose mission is to change the wine scene from a sometimes stuffy and alienating atmosphere to a fun and ultra-casual experience. The best part about the class is that you can choose your venue: you can take a course in the comfort of your own home (everywine will come to you) or set up a virtual tasting over Zoom, but the best way to get educated is by heading straight to the source. In everywine's gorgeous private tasting room, located in a quaint and vibrant house in Historic Heights, you'll get the royal treatment from owners Arielle and Ryan Cooper, who have been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. The walls are lined exclusively with the works of Belgian surrealist René Magritte, and much as viewing a Magritte can inspire people to reconsider their preconceptions about reality, the goal of a tasting with everywine is to inspire people to reconsider their preconceptions about wine. Book a reservation online at their website.
A charming wine shop with its specialty in the name, French Country Wines provides wine specifically from small, family-owned and artisanal wineries. While they supply wine to many local restaurants, they keep a small shop stocked for Houston locals so that you can shop handpicked French wines. French Country Wines has tastings every Saturday from noon until 6 p.m. (no reservations required) designed to help you experience the joy of French wine—and all tastings are complimentary!
While this isn't necessarily a wine bar, Houston Wine Merchant is a staple in the city, and it would be downright foolish not to mention this nearly 40-year-old establishment. While wine tastings and events here remain on hold due to the pandemic, it's still the place to stop into to find the perfect wine gift. Visit the shop (masks are required), and you'll see a vast selection of assiduously curated wine from all over the world, including wine from Texas-grown vineyards. Join their Wine of the Month Club with five different case options, including a white-only sampler, a red-wine sampler, the premier sampler, and the taster's case.
Some places make you feel right at home, like going to a friend's house party, only they serve loads of wine, and you bring your own food. Light Years Natural Wine Shop + Bar, located in Montrose, is just that place. Head over for a natural wine tasting hosted weekly, or for more upbeat energy go on a weekend, where you're sure to meet some new friends and bond over your love for vino. The bar specializes in natural wines, which means they're usually produced without pesticides or herbicides and with few or no additives. The interior is cozy, with different nooks to relax in under a disco ball, and the owner, Steven, is known for being very helpful, allowing you to taste the wines before purchasing a bottle. Light Years is approachable for those newly interested in wine while also being perfect for those who already have some knowledge.
Memorial Wine Cellar is a family-owned wine bar, wine shop, and party venue located on the south side of I-10, right outside the loop, in an eclectic retail center with boutique shops and a tapas bar. Owners Dwayne and Mary Harrison created the cellar for those who simply enjoy wine. Go for an afternoon with friends, or take a coworker and sample some wine with appetizers. Memorial Wine also offers custom wine flights where you pick three 2 oz. pours, priced according to the wines you choose. Get 10 percent off on food and wine during happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., or decide to go any day of the week for their weekly specials. Parties of eight or more must call for a reservation.
Great wine and cheese, as the name implies. There's something for everyone at Montrose Cheese & Wine: the wine noobs, the bottle shopper, the old-world traditionalist, and the natural wine geek. This place never gets old with its rotating selection of 12 to 15 cheeses and 125 wines. Enjoy a glass of wine at the bar or on the patio, or stop by for a sandwich at lunch. Not wine o'clock yet? Grab a pastry and a coffee to go in the morning. Feel like drinking anyway? Order a flight of any four wines from their by-the-glass menu, 2 oz. each for $25. You can also pick up a bottle or two for the house or a meat and cheese tray for a party, or browse a great selection of gifts, home goods, and wine and cheese accessories either in the wine bar or at their sister concept, Biscuit Home, located next door. Join their monthly communal wine and cheese tasting on the patio, which starts at 6:30 p.m. and has only 10 seats available.
For an upscale Napa Valley experience right here in the loop, visit Mutiny Wine Room in the Heights to taste exclusive, limited-production wine. At its dedicated tasting room with a full wine selection, you can order a bottle for the house at 20-30 percent off the listed price, or enjoy your wine on-site with food pairings in the "Farmhouse," which has more of a restaurant flair. One unique thing about this wine-tasting spot is their Coravin wine list, an exclusive list of wines by the glass using the Coravin Wine Preservation System, which allows you to pour wine from a bottle without removing the cork. Reservations are recommended.
Head out of town to the Shadow Oaks neighborhood for a guided tasting experience at Nice Winery, a perfect place to expand your wine knowledge. Hosted in a cozy and intimate living-room-like setting, their wine tastings include a sit-down with one of their educated winery team members to learn about their wines and winemaking process, all while you enjoy lovely food pairings. Wine tastings are by appointment only.
Pur Noire Urban Wineries is changing the way people view wine in hopes of spreading knowledge to those who may be unfamiliar but are very interested in learning more about the scene. Owners Carissa and Kenneth Stephens noticed that there were not many other minority-owned and Black-owned wineries. So they started their winery, whose name translates to "pure black," as a nod to Carissa's creole roots and their identity as minority business owners in the wine industry. Gather your friends and colleagues for a wine tasting and game night, hosted every Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. No reservations are required.
This is not your ordinary wine bar. Not only does Roots believe in promoting sustainably made wines, lesser-known labels, female winemakers, and wineries that give back to charities, but they also have a "try before you buy" system unlike anywhere else. Using fully automated wine dispensing machines, you can try 56 different wines in 1 oz., 3 oz., or 5 oz. pours (don't worry, it's measured out for you), and there's never a dull moment, as their wine selection rotates almost weekly. Once you've found the perfect wine to take home, the retail shop grabs it for you, and you're good to go. To complement the wine selection, Roots has locally sourced and seasonal eats, which are ever-changing. No reservations are required; however, head to their website for parties of eight or more.
Sable Gate Winery is a family-owned business in the heart of Midtown that crafts wines from grapes sourced from all over the world. Customers have the opportunity to blend their own vintage, bottle it, and custom label it, all within the winery's walls, and enjoy some simple dishes that pair perfectly with wine. If you're not crafting your own, have a tasting or a glass before you decide and purchase a bottle of wine from among more than 30 varietals. Owners Szilvia and Bob (and now their twin daughters) come by their passion for wine honestly: Szilvia was raised on a vineyard in Hungary, and Bob has traveled the world tasting local wines in over 50 countries. Together, they offer bottle delivery, a loyalty club, and bistro eats in addition to tastings, which are available every day from opening until 7 p.m., after which they are available by appointment only.
As a wine person, I consider this place a gem. Period. Slightly hidden in the Heights, SERCA was born as a result of a longtime dream that owners Sergio and Carolina Weitzman had of creating an ultra-high-quality Argentinian wine that fully expresses the spirit and essence of the malbec grape. Enjoy a tasting with a group or as a perfect date-night activity, but be warned: after tasting the wine here, you're almost certain to go home with a wine club membership or, at the very least, a bottle or three.
Recently relocated from the Heights, Sonoma in Upper Kirby (with another location in Katy) is a great go-to for after-work drinks or large weekend parties. Enjoy one of their rotating and reasonably priced wine flights, like the Cali Trip, featuring a sauvignon blanc, a chardonnay, and a cabernet sauvignon, or Beautifully Bubbly, featuring three sparkling wines. In addition to their happy hour every day until 6 p.m., Sonoma has weekly specials like Half-priced Pizza Thursdays and Somm's Pick Wine Flight Fridays.
The Tasting Room was founded in 2003 as a small wine bar and retail shop. Since then, this City Centre wine bar has offered everything from fine wines and chef-inspired cuisine to beers, cocktails, and even a selection of cigars. The Tasting Room is open daily, offering distinct, rotating menus of more than 150 wine labels. A significant perk that distinguishes this tasting spot from others is their live music on the patio every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening.
Aside from the extensive wine list featuring grapes from all corners of the world, Trez Bistro & Wine Bar has a unique focus on providing local artists with a platform to display their art. This bistro is also a chill and comfortable environment to enjoy live music in the city. There's excellent food, craft cocktails, and, of course, wine! Reservations are not required but are recommended.
Specializing in imported Italian wines, TuttiLili Wines and Specialty Foods has just the right pairing for pasta night. They believe that wine and food go hand-in-hand, and offer specialty meats, olive oils, chocolates, truffles, and cheeses as convincing evidence to back that up. Enjoy a wine tasting from boutique and family Italian vineyards every Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., no reservations needed.
Are you looking to deepen your wine knowledge? Vinology is equal parts wine shop, wine bar, and education center. The owners of Vinology, who also own Montrose Italian trattoria Divino, set out to bring a comfortable, educational experience to their wine shop and bar, where guests can explore new wines in various ways. Enjoy weekly wine flights and by-the-glass pours, wine seminars and tastings led by winemakers and industry professionals, private events, and appointment consultations. Favoring primarily small, family-owned wineries crafting limited production wines, Vinology carries more than 300 wines from around the world. Appointments are required for consultations and private bookings.