Living at Lake Tahoe, it seems that beer rules the alcohol scene. It’s a popular go-to beverage for people still in snow gear decompressing from a day on the slopes, after a long day at the beach or hiking in the wilderness. While Tahoe still encompasses the preindustrial, lost-in-time style, it has embraced modernity in small increments, like co-working spaces, craft coffee and … wine bars.
Those who appreciate fine wine collections have found new sanctuaries at the lake where they can enjoy tastings, a glass or even a bottle for two of high-class vino.
If you are new to the wine scene, or a seasoned wine connoisseur, Tahoe offers wine bars for all.
Terms like “earthiness” and “palate” will become familiar if you’re new to the game.
Wine bars aren’t typically crowded and loud like a common bar, rather they are more sophisticated, romantic, and “Date Night” is a common theme.
THE IDLE HOUR LAKE TAHOE
Looking out frosty windows at Lake Tahoe with a glass of boutique wine in hand and the dark, softly lit, but comforting energy of this place seems to exemplify exactly what a wine bar or lounge should incorporate: dark room, outstanding views and a fireplace.
The Idle Hour resembles a lounge with antique decorations such as green velvet couches, expansive views of the lake and soft music.
While they have some options for wine-based spirits, Idle Hour is all about wine. A majority of their wines are local and derived from California’s wine country.
Idle Hour offers weekly tastings from 5-7 p.m. and live music from local pianist Kris Diehl from 5-8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
They have a selection of gourmet Abdallah Chocolates handcrafted in Washington — the dark chocolate caramel sprinkled with sea salt is especially good.
Idle hour has a quaint menu for small bites that include options like a cheese board and personal-sized pizza.
Beginning in February, Idle Hour will offer Wine Trivia on Mondays, wine education classes on Wednesdays, and wine tastings with the winemaker on Thursdays.
For more information, visit http://www.theidlehourlaketahoe.com.
Idle Hour’s sister company, Welcome Home Shoppe Midtown, also offers boutique wine tasting. Welcome Home, located on Ski Run, has daily tastings of local and family-owned wines from California.
REVIVE COFFEE AND WINE
Founded in 2016, Robin Bender revived the former Picchetti Winery tasting room into Revive Coffee and Wine, a cozy cabin coffee and wine house.
Bender wanted to preserve the history from the original building that was built in the 1940s while also shining a new light.
Tables and a wine bar was made from repurposed historic wood milled in Glenbrook in the 1920s giving a fitting title to the name of this coffee and wine bar.
Revive’s wine is sourced from local wineries in El Dorado County and Sierra Foothills like Lava Cap Winery and Boeger Winery near Apple Hill.
They also have a few wine selections from Italy and Napa. The atmosphere is relaxing as you sip wine by a stone fireplace. The “Revive Garden” is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine and appetizer. Revive will also be expanding the wine bar to “The Barrel Room” which will offer six beers on tap with an extended wine selection.
Revive has an entire coffee bar, so if you’re in need of a lift after having a few glasses of wine, try a specialty coffee drink, like this month’s ButterScotch Latte, it promises to revive you.
For more information, visit http://www.revivecoffeewine.com.
Uncorked imports exclusive wines from around the world to Tahoe in three different destination locations: Squaw Valley, Tahoe City and Truckee.
Taste fine wine and let the knowledgeable staff guide you through each bottle’s unique story.
At each of their locations you can order glasses, bottles or try out different wines with three, 2-ounce pours. Uncorked’s sister wine bar is Petra Restaurant and Wine Bar at Northstar California that serves Mediterranean dishes with their own specialized wine selection.
Uncorked focuses on using products from eco-conscious farmers from Europe and the southern hemisphere that are sustainable, organic or biodynamic.
Uncorked’s wine experts selectively choose wine that best represents the region.
They also offer classes hosted by their own wine connoisseurs.
Classes focus on particular wines along with specialty cheese and charcuterie and include information about traditional practices, growing locations and history.
Uncorked also features “Meet the Winery” days to sample and explore what inspired wineries.
For additional information, visit http://www.uncorkedtahoe.com
GLASSES WINE BAR
Glasses Wine Bar in Incline Village resembles more of a relaxed coffee shop vibe than a strict wine bar. Glasses offer wines brought in from wineries throughout the country.
Break out some cards and listen to some live music while sipping on wine. Uniquely, Glasses Wine Bar allows guests to bring in their own food to enjoy with their wine.
They have a Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. that offers guests 20% of glasses of wine and Ladies Night is every Thursday. For more information, visit http://www.glasseswinebar.com.
BLACK BEAR LODGE
Black Bear Lodge is located off one of South shores most infamous roads, Ski Run. This secret bar transforms from a front desk to a vintage bar.
They serve rotating California wines and craft beer along with small appetizers. Black Bear Lodge has a back patio to sit at while sipping on fine wine and enjoying Tahoe nights. The bar is open from 2-8 p.m., daily.
Tahoe Pourhouse located at the Y in South Lake Tahoe, specializes in locally and sustainably sourced food and wine.
Tahoe Pourhouse is known for their 20-tap wine wall that features red, white and rosé wines. Above each wine tap they have screens that display the stories of each of the wines offered, perfect for the ‘new to wine’ visitors who want a quick explanation.
For the next level wine connoisseurs, the Pourhouse offers “Discovery Wine Bar” which are selected wines derived from independent local vintners and can be bought by the glass or bottle.
Every Wednesday, Tahoe Pourhouse has Wine Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. offering wine tastings from several vineyards.
For more information, visit http://www.tahoepourhouse.com.
THE CORK & MORE
This little market in South Lake Tahoe is more than a wine and cheese shop.
It’s a Napa-styled store that offers specialty wines, champagnes and beers from France, Spain, Italy, Argentina and Germany, including vintage bottles.
They also have 12 local wines from El Dorado and Amador counties. They have a wide array of cheese, gifts and even have a deli bar.
Cork & More’s selected collection carries wines in all price ranges.
At the tasting bar, sample fine wines from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Order a glass and sit at one of their bistro tables.
The Cork & More was even voted Best Wine Selection in Tahoe by readers of the Tribune.
Happy Hour specials run daily from 3-6 p.m. Glasses of wine are $6, and two glasses plus a cheese platter for two is $30.
For more information, visit http://www.thecorkandmore.com.