Passengers on Napa's Wine Train dine in a first-rate restaurant, see the characteristic landscape, and tour vineyards in one afternoon. Nostalgic visitors to wine country will love how the company has refinished 1951 Pullman train cars. It's a chance to travel back in time for a day and imagine Napa as it was before becoming a world-famous wine producer. Both wine and train enthusiasts will get a huge kick out of the experience. A day on the wine train is a way to kick back, relax, and get to know Napa at its best.
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.
Lunch Onboard The Napa Valley Wine Train
Once guests are safely seated in the dining car again, it's lunchtime. Diners can choose from two options on a fixed menu. Whatever they pick, the food is delicious.
This is how Ginni Anne reviewed the Napa Valley Wine Train on Google: "Did the legacy tour, a full day excursion with 3 wine stops and 4 'courses' of food. All the food was wonderfully done; perfectly portioned and delicious."
Ginni Anne loved the meals onboard and her experience is just what has made the Wine Train famous. Currently Executive Chef Donald Young is in charge of the kitchen car. He purchases fresh, local produce to use in his creations and every meal is prepared in the train's kitchen. Curious guests can even visit the kitchen car to watch as their food is cooked.
The next stop comes as guests fold their napkins and let out satisfied sighs after their midday meal. They've arrived at the Charles Krug Winery. Here, they'll have their second tasting of the day in California's oldest tasting room. The Charles Krug Winery is the oldest in Napa County, so visitors are treated to a tour rich in wine country history.
Of course, travelers should keep in mind that the winery tours included in the Legacy experience may be truncated. Those who visit wineries on their own can purchase more complex tastings. On Google Reviews, Jonathan Goetz explained: "We were rushed a bit to stay on schedule, which wasn't a problem--just frustrating if you have others on your tour who don't care as much. Also, keep in mind these were tours, not long-format tastings. Generally about 3 small tastes at each winery."
Next comes brie cheese and olives on the train after visitors have stretched their legs at Charles Krug Winery. After just a few minutes they arrive at the V. Sattui Winery. Here guests enjoy a tour of the site where the Salutti family produces award-winning small-batch wines.
At about 4:15, guests board the train for the last time of the day. As the engine pushes them back to the station, they can indulge in the pastry chef's creation of the day. After six hours on board, passengers on the Napa Valley Wine Train will have seen fantastic landscapes, tasted delicious wines, eaten fantastic food, and learned about the valley's history.
Bob Rodgers loved the experience: "Amazing experience! We did the full-day Collective tour, and everything surpassed our expectations. The wineries and tours were great, the food on the train was delicious with nice portion sizes, and all the staff was really friendly and helpful. The train itself is very cool, especially the ability to watch the landscape go by from the open-air car. And of course, we were able to sample many delicious wines of different varieties. I highly recommend everyone to take a trip."
The experience may not be for everyone, though. Wine experts and sommeliers may prefer to visit each winery at their leisure. That way they can purchase longer-format tastings. Another down point is that the Napa Valley Wine Train is quite pricey, so budget travelers may not get the chance to ride it.
Fa Fa wrote this review on Google: "Ambassador Tour with lunch. I feel it was overpriced at over $600 USD for 2 people (wine & tips extra) with less than 2 hours on the train and the remaining 2 hours mostly in a shuttle or doing quick walking tours. Fun experience but too rushed to eat nicely and the views were good but not as good as expected. The train runs along the roadside and not thru the hills or fields at all. Wine served on the train is extra cost above your ticket, meal, and tour fees."
For many travelers, though, riding the Napa Valley Wine Train is a fun way to see the valley and learn about the area's history while enjoying delicious food. They just need to make their reservations well ahead of time since the Wine Train gets busy.