Explore Napa Valley By Train
It might seem cliché to say that the Napa Valley Wine Train is more than the sum of its parts, but it is. Part distinctive Napa Valley fine dining restaurant. Part museum, its made up of exquisitely and faithfully restored vintage early 20th century Pullman cars. Part journey, to some of Californias most celebrated wineries.
With its Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions, and plush armchairs, the Wine Train also evokes the elegant glory days of luxury train travel of the early 1900s. You get to sit back, relax, and savor every delicious bite, every bit of extraordinary scenery, every taste and tour. There are lots of ways to explore Napa Valley. This one is an experience you will never forget.
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Napa Valley Wine Train, 1275 Mckinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559
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Napa Valley Wine Train With Gourmet Lunch Wine Tasting And Vineyard Tours
Combine refined wine tasting with a stylish rail journey on this 5-hour Napa Valley wine tour. Sit back and relax on board the historic wine train, admiring the passing rural Californian scenery through large viewing windows.
Head to the elegant dining car to soak up panoramic vineyard views alongside a freshly prepared three-course gourmet lunch. Tantalize the taste buds further with guided tours and tasting sessions at one or two Napa wineries along the way.
The Napa Valley Wine Train passes through St. Helena, Oakville, Rutherford, and Yountville on this linear journey, with coach transfers provided for the return trip.
Napa Valley Wine Train With Gourmet Lunch
Climb on board the Napa Valley Wine Train and be transported back to the golden age of travel as you journey through Californias heartland. This 3-hour round-trip trundles past picturesque towns like Rutherford and St. Helena, with unsurpassed views of undulating hills and sprawling vineyards.
Explore the vintage train carriages and enjoy appetizers in the lounge car before tucking into a gourmet meal in the on-board restaurant. You can even poke your head into the kitchen to watch the chefs in action. Private dining is available in the Champagne Vista Dome on dinner excursions during your Napa wine train tour.
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The Train Is Also A Gourmet Restaurant
Though the thrill of the ride is a huge part of the experience, the train is primarily a rolling gourmet restaurant featuring a changing seasonal menu that highlights fresh, local ingredients . From tuna tartar to roasted beef tenderloin, expect to dine on decadent courses of gourmet, Napa-style fare. In the spirit of Wine Country, an extensive onboard wine list is available for lunch and dinner, offering 40 different wines. You can even bring your own wine aboard, but just know youll have to pay a corkage fee.
Wine Tasting Etiquette What To Wear And Where To Spit
Bay Area Answers Fun Fact: Enotourism is the proper name to describe tourism for the purpose of tasting, consuming, or purchasing wine.
When visiting Napa Valley wineries, there are a few basic rules of etiquette that you should follow.
First, visiting Napa Valley is intended to be an elegant experience. You will be visiting some fine establishments, so you want to dress the part. Its frowned upon to show up dressed as a tourist in swim trunks and flip flops. Tour guests should dress up a little. Dresses, slacks, dark washed jeans, and nice shirts or polos are ideal. Be sure also to wear comfortable shoes as you may do a little walking during your tour.
The purpose of wine tasting is to enjoy the scents and taste of the wine. Tasting is not the time to overindulge. Guests who cant control their behavior or consumption may be asked to leave the winery. This disruption not only ruins your experience but also for your fellow tour companions.
How do you taste dozens of wines without getting intoxicated? You spit it out. Most people consider spitting disgusting and rude behavior. When attending a wine tasting, this is not only acceptable but is encouraged. The reason for this is that as you drink, you lose your ability to taste and enjoy the wine properly. Most wineries supply a special bucket or container for spitting wine into. If you dont know where to find it, just ask.
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People Are Also Reading
Due to the pandemic, the exact date was a bit of a moving target, but Joseph Wood of San Antonio kept checking and rechecking the availability of the tour.
I was determined to be on this train, said Wood.
Weve never been on the Wine Train, and now that they are all vaccinated, we wanted to do it, said Dorthea Bridgest, also from San Antonio.
Visitors were quite happy to re-board the Napa Valley Wine Train on Monday May 17. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the excursion had been shut down for 14 months. Take a look inside.
We love wine, she said. The family wanted to try different wines, see the Napa Valley scenery, and just enjoy the day.
To celebrate their mini-reunion, theyd even made matching embroidered navy face masks, Napa Trip, 2021, they read.
Jenny Langhorst of Colorado was celebrating her 40th birthday, which happened to be on the day the train resumed rides.
Im so happy to be here, said Langhorst. She and her small group of guests were staying in the Valley for about five days.
Weve been waiting for six months for the train to reopen, she said. It was the one thing I really wanted to do.
Newlyweds Ashly and Erick Soriano of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said they felt super lucky to have scored tickets for this first 2021 run of the Wine Train. And on their honeymoon, no less.
For them, the Wine Train is a signature wine country experience. Its a must when youre in Napa Valley.”
You Can Tour Wineries At Night
Evening travelers can enjoy the areas only after-hours winery tour on the Grgich Main Train E-Tour, an evening winery tour which includes VIP access to the family-owned Grgich Hills Estate, dedicated to sustainability. Wine Train guests will enjoy a private tour and tasting, followed by a multiple course gourmet meal aboard the train as the sun goes down.
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How Does Winetasting In Napa Work
The best way to sample a winerys offerings is to pony up for a formal winetasting. As the name implies, this is your chance to taste some of the winerys current releases.
Others incorporate food, chocolate, and other delicious treats into the mix. Across the Valley, many tastings are seatedmeaning you and your traveling companions sit as you would at a restaurant, and a server or host brings the wines to you. Some wineries also still use tasting bars at these, you simply walk up to the bar and stand while you sip. Hosts do their best to facilitate your tasting, providing general tasting notes before you sample, then checking back after you sip to answer questions you might have.
Many wineries require appointmentsespecially when youre aiming to taste rare wines or have a food pairing. To make these, go to the winerys website or call.
Once youve sat for a tasting, dont rush. Basic tastings last about an hour, while more involved tastings can go anywhere from 90 minutes to two or three hours. Hosts are trained to pace the tastings slowly to keep everyone relaxed. Remember that you dont have to drink every drop of each wine tables and bars always are equipped with dump buckets into which you can pour any wine youd rather not drink.
Most wineries are open daily from 10 or 11 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m.
River Rails & Wine Trails
Enjoy winery tours along the beautiful Napa Valley wine trails, including Napas Silverado trail, lined with 36 wineries and breathtaking vineyards.
Day 13:00 Check-in River Terrace Inn
Day 210:00 4:00 Beau Tours winery tour12:30 Picnic lunch
10:30-4:30 Gourmet Lunch experience on the Napa Valley Wine Train2:30 Evening Explore Napa4:30 Depart Napa
*Wine and drinks aboard Wine Train are not included. Tasting fees are not included. A 2 night minimum applies. Package is based on 2 adults. All package attendees must be 21 years of age to participate in wine tasting tours and activities.
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Napa And Sonoma Wine Country Full
Get picked up from your San Francisco hotel and escape to rural California on one of the best Napa Valley wine tours in town. This full-day excursion takes in tours and tastings at a mixture of big-name estates and family-run wineries. Some are perched on hilltops while others overlook the lush Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Stop for lunch in the charming Sonoma Square Plaza, where there are several renowned local restaurants to choose from. Finish the day with photos at Golden Gate Bridge in the late afternoon sun. Transport is by luxury coach which has an onboard restroom.
Use Your Own Two Feet
Napa Valleys five towns are very walkable, and taking a day to explore each town on foot allows you to be truly immersed in the unique sights, sounds, and flavors of the valley. Hike the wetlands in American Canyon, explore more than 50 walkable tasting rooms in Downtown Napa, follow the Art Walk or curate your own culinary crawl in Yountville, get your shopping fix at the many artisan boutiques along Napa Valleys Main Street in St. Helena, and soak up the easygoing vibes and farm-to-table flavors in Calistoga.Insider tip: Take the Vine Trail! The Napa Valley Vine Trail runs parallel to Highway 29 and offers easy walking access to many favorite wineries. The Setting Inn in Napa and Hotel Yountville are two great options for a home base near the Vine Trail.
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Can You Experience Napa Valley Without A Tour
Absolutely! You dont have to go on a tour to visit Napa Valley. However, there are some pros and cons to going it alone. The best thing about creating your itinerary is that you get to see the exact locations you want. You dont have to stick to the 4 or 5 wineries on the tour itinerary. This option is great if you already have a few favorite venues.
While you can create your own wine road trip, there is a risk of impaired driving. Even with spitting out the wine during a tasting, you can still get alcohol in your bloodstream from what is absorbed in your mouth or swallowed over multiple tastings. With a tour, you will have a designated driver.
The other concern is the cost. Wine tasting fees typically range from $20-$40 per person per winery. These tasting fees can add up quickly and easily be equal to the cost of a tour.
You Can Get Married On The Train
With its upscale culinary offerings and gorgeous vintage setting, the train is also a distinctive way for romantic couples to tie the knot. Small, intimate elopements can be conducted on the back of the moving train as it glides along the rails under Napa Valleys lush sweeping scenery. Or, make reservations for larger groups in a single car or throughout the entire train. The train has everything needed to bring the vision of your special event to life.
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So I Can Get Free Wine At Every Napa Winery
No, not every winery accepts the Priority WIne Pass but enough do to make it worth your while. If there are wineries you really want to visit but who offer no discounts then just go – youll save enough money at the other wineries to justify paying full price. And be wary of other websites claiming to have deals at Mondavi, Mumm, Domaine Chandon, or Castello di Amorosa. There are plenty of fake coupon sites out there that advertise these deals just to get you to click – some even make you pay first, only to find out later that the deal expired. Not cool.
What Other Napa Deals Can I Get With The Wine Pass
Two for one cave tours, discounted VIP tours, extra pours – all part of the Wine Pass.
Napa Wine Train deals, including the Castello di Amorosa excursion and the one that stops at four different wineries. And yes, lunch and dinner excursion are also part of the discount on the Wine Pass.
Barrel tasting and private tours, two for one.
Hidden gems – when you grow tired of the crowds at the ultra popular wineries dive deep and hit the boutiques where youll get private tastings or small group experiences, all on the Wine Pass.
Group Discounts: Groups of 8 or more are often turned away at wineries and sometimes charged more, but I know the wineries that not only welcome big groups but honor the discounts as well. Need help? Just ask!
Hotel Deals: Get additional discounts on some of my favorite hotels in Napa, including River Terrace Inn, the Westin Verasa, and Meritage Resort.
Bike rentals, hot air balloon rides, mud baths, all on the Wine Pass.
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Private Hiking And Wine Tasting Tour In Napa Valley
Breathe in the fresh countryside air as you spend the morning hiking through lush redwood forests on this private Napa Valley walking tour. The trail winds past vineyards and wooded slopes for 3-4 miles and is suitable for anyone of moderate fitness.
Keep your camera handy for dramatic mountain shots and listen to stories about this stunning landscape from your local guide. Reward your efforts with stops at two boutique wineries for premium tastings on this 6-hour Napa Valley wine tour. You might also like to treat yourself to a food and wine pairing experience for lunch at an additional cost.
Is The Priority Wine Pass Worth It
You decide. If you get the pass with my discount link you pay $39.99 for the two of you. Most people go to 4 to 5 wineries in a day. Here are some standard fees:
Sterling and the Tram Ride: $35 per person
Charles Krug: $45 per person
Beringer: $25 per person
Grgich Hills: $40 per person
V. Sattui : $20 per person
That means a couple will spend $330 in tasting fees! But if you have the wine pass you pay half – actually less than half because Grgigh Hills, an essential stop, lets wine pass members taste 2 for $25 . That drops your total winery fee down to $150. Add in the cost of the pass and youre still $140 ahead. Thats not chump change, thats dinner!
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What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Napa Valley
California is known for having a mild, Mediterranean climate all year long. No matter what season you schedule your trip, you are sure to have a great time. That being said, there are some times of the year when visiting Napa Valley is more popular.
Harvest season is the peak time for tourists. The vineyard harvests run from August to October. This period is a great time to see the vineyard staff hard at work. These are some of the warmest months and have the longest periods of daylight. But dont forget that August is the wettest month for Napa Valley, so be sure to check the weather and pack an umbrella.
In addition to the vineyards, Napa Valley is known for its beautiful views and landscape. Springtime is the second-best time to visit when the hills are bursting with lush green and flowers. The weather will be a bit chillier, with daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Visitors should dress in layers and pack a jacket.
If you are looking to visit Napa Valley on a budget, you should visit during the winter months . This time is a great way to experience Napa Valley without the crowds of tourists. During this time, wineries, tours, and hotels are the cheapest.
Best Vineyards In Napa Valley
Napa Valley is dotted with vineyards but some stand out over the rest. The Chateau Montelena Winery is revered for its beautiful grounds, including ivy-covered facades, while Pine Ridge is beloved for its peace and quiet. Round Pond Estate, meanwhile, has a gorgeous terrace, perfect for long, wine-filled lunches.
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An Early Start In Napa Valley
The Napa Valley Wine Train allows guests to choose from multiple experiences. Some may choose a special romantic dinner or a mystery dinner theater. The company also has special events on days like the Fourth of July and Valentine’s day. Most experiences on the train last between two and three hours and include a meal. Some tours come with a winery tour. According to Winetrain.com, the Legacy Tour surpasses all of the other options. It lasts a full day, begins with sparkling wine, four courses, and two winery tours.
The tour starts early, but not too early. Vacationers still get the chance to sleep in since the train boards at 10:00 AM. They’ll enjoy views of vineyards from the train’s windows as they indulge in breakfast. The menu could include succulent offerings like maple bacon, lemon mascarpone crepes, and other such delicacies.
Just as servers clear away guests’ breakfast plates, the train slows to a halt beside the iconic Napa Valley sign near Oakville. For the next hour, visitors explore the area, take photos with the history-making sign and enjoy a three-wine tasting in the open-air car.