Wine Buzz: Rail Bridge Cellars' tasting room is up there

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

In terms of the local wine scene, the view from Rail Bridge Cellars' tasting room is tough to beat. It's situated 13 floors above J street in the Elks Tower penthouse, which overlooks the entire city and beyond.

The space was used for private events and wine tasting during the better part of 2011, and has now been licensed to operate as the official tasting room for Rail Bridge Cellars.

The space, now called Rail Bridge Cellars Penthouse Lounge at Elks Tower, has plenty of history behind it. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, it was known as Top of the Town, a private nightclub that was favored by local politicians and media folks.

These 13th and 14th floors of the Elks Tower at 11th and J streets were also once home to KZAP radio and the original offices of Sactown magazine.

"There's a lot of history to this building," said Michael Gelber, managing partner for Rail Bridge Cellars. "It's a well-used spot. The mayor and the Kings have done events here, and we already have 20 events booked for the next three months."

Tastings are by appointment only and cost $10 per person, or $15 with cheese and crackers. New offerings to sample from Rail Bridge include a 2010 pinot noir with grapes from San Luis Obispo.

For more information: (916) 492-2530,

Feeling lucky?

Last week, "Wine Buzz" mentioned the upcoming El Dorado Wines Passport weekends, which will be held Saturday and Sunday and April 21-22. It's a chance to sample from 32 El Dorado County wineries, a region that continues to grow in recognition with recent press coverage in Wine Enthusiast and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Passes for each weekend cost $70 a pop, and it may be your lucky day because we've got two sets of tickets to give away: One pair of passes for this weekend and another pair for April 21-22.

Are you feeling lucky? Send an email to by 5 p.m. Thursday. Please list your name, the best number to reach you during the day, and also list three of your favorite Sacramento-area restaurants. Deal?

For more information on El Dorado Wines Passport weekends: (800) 306-3956,

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Read more articles by Chris Macias

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