The Bounty Hunter

This article is another in Power Tasting’s series on great wine bars of the world.  The most recent additions to this list were Vinauberge in Languedoc and Petits Creux et Grand Crus in Québec City.

 We have written about the Bounty Hunter before, in the context of things to do in the town of Napa while you are on a wine tasting trip.  It deserves to be taken on its own merits, as a place to sample some pretty good wine in a, shall we say, distinctive setting. Located on the corner of 1st and Main Streets, the Bounty Hunter ( attempts to bring the ambiance of Western movie set saloon to the modern-day tourist mecca that is Napa Valley.  And, to our point of view, it succeeds.

Photo courtesy of

In the old Western films, a bounty hunter was not a nice person, but rather reminiscent of Inspector Javert in Les Miserables.  Fear not; we can attest that the people at the Bounty Hunter are all very pleasant and helpful in selecting wines to drink.  And help is often needed, as you have a choice of 40 wines to order by the glass and 400 by the bottle.

You may already know about the Bounty Hunter even if you’ve never been there.  If you’re a wine lover (and why would you be reading Power Tasting if you’re not?) you’re probably on a buyers’ list so you may have received their catalog in the mail.  It’s notable in the way that they highlight individual producers, mostly but not exclusively from California, and it makes good reading even if you’re not buying.  The wines in the catalog, for the most part, are the same wines you can order at the saloon.

The layout of the Bounty Hunter places the bar at the rear (unless you enter from the parking lot, in which case it’s the front) and restaurant tables at the street entrance.  The restaurant specializes in what the proprietors aptly describe as “Smokin’ BBQ”.  Although some of their wines do go with barbecue – Zinfandel always works for us – they have many high quality, rather delicate wines to choose from.  We think their idea is for you to drink a rough, tough wine with dinner and then take a bottle of Burgundy home with you.

The interior of the Bounty Hunter.  Photo courtesy of

We must note the décor, which is notable for old Wild West posters, the heads of dead animals and a florid nude over the bar.  All that’s missing is a piano player.  You can easily imagine Black Bart walking through the front door to have it out with the sheriff.

It would all be very kitsch, except for that wine list.  The by-the-glass offerings change frequently.  You can look up the choices on their web site, but why bother.  As of this writing, they offer quite a few wines we know well (e.g., Veuve Cliquot, Frog’s Leap, Renwood, Chappelet) and then many more with which we are unacquainted such as Poetic Justice, Jigar or Ken Wright.  A sign of a good wine bar is that if you are comfortable with the wines you do know, you can have the confidence to experiment with the ones you don’t.  The Bounty Hunter also offers eleven flights of wines to help guide your experiments (including one to go with barbecue).

We don’t go to Napa Town without stopping for a glass or a meal at the Bounty Hunter.  We recommend that you do the same.





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