Insider Guide: Napa, California
George W. C. Walker III, national brand ambassador for Dwyane Wade’s wine label, lets us in on some local favorites around the brand’s home base.
Sunset’s Insider Guide series highlights seasonal diversions and secret travel tips from local experts. Follow along as we learn where to eat, drink, stay, and shop.
Meet the insider: George W. C. Walker III, national brand ambassador for Wade Cellars
George W. C. Walker III was just looking for an internship when he emailed Wade Cellars, the Napa wine label by former professional basketball player Dwyane Wade. He didn’t expect to receive an offer to become the brand’s first full-time employee, but that’s exactly what happened. So, shortly after Walker launched a series of Graped Out wine tastings in the Midwest to make vino more accessible to people in all walks of life, he moved to Napa.
He’s since helped Wade expand into more than 40 states with a goal of “inclusivity and accessibility, first and foremost,” Walker says, “and creating dope juice.” Here are some local favorites around the brand’s home base.
WHERE TO EAT:
Contimo is “absolutely amazing for sandwiches,” Walker says. Expect a wide range, from pimento cheese biscuits and beef-and-broccoli sandwiches to winter squash tartine. Or you can head to La Taberna for Spanish tapas, conservas, and charcuterie.
WHAT TO DO:
“It’s Napa, so of course I’m going to suggest going to amazing wineries,” Walker says. Start with Heitz Cellar, which embraces and embodies a “new era of winemaking” in Napa, Walker says. Then head to Matthiasson, where you’ll find world-class wines and some pretty stellar vermouth.
WHERE TO STAY:
Smack dab in the middle of town, the Archer Hotel is conveniently located on First Street within walking distance of many local hot spots, or you can grab a glass of vino on the hotel’s rooftop.
WHERE TO DRINK:
Cadet wine and beer bar offers selections not necessarily from Napa. “Sometimes we get tired of drinking Cabs,” Walker jokes. If you’re hoping to try a bottle from Wade Cellars, find it at Bay Grape wine shop, where owners Josiah Baldivino and Stevie Stacionis also host tastings and classes.