Napa Valley is home to numerous boutique vintners as well as renowned wineries such as Robert Mondavi, Domaine Chandon, Rubicon Estate, Beaulieu Vineyards and Beringer Wines. There are so many wineries and so much to see and do. Apart from all this are the Napa culture, wine education and theatre. The best way to take it all is by taking the Napa Valley Wine Train tour.
Probably the nation’s only active, historic passenger railroad, the Napa Valley Wine Train has been voted the “Best Place to Take Visitors” in a recent survey. The Napa Valley Wine Train takes visitors on a relaxing three hour journey along the thirty six mile round-trip between the historic town of Napa through one of the world’s most famous wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena and back.
Guests can relax on any of the lavishly restored, vintage 1915-1917 Pullman Dining, Lounge or the 1952 Vista Dome rail cars as they watch miles of beautiful vineyards and wineries roll by. It is impressive that both 1910’s cars were lavishly (and extensively) restored and furnished with Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions, and velveteen fabric armchairs. Much thought and effort was exerted into its restoration process to ensure the spirit of luxury rail travel at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The train tracks were originally built in 1864 by San Francisco’s first millionaire, Samuel Brannan, to draw visitors and tourists to the hot springs of Calistoga. Though the tracks to Calistoga no longer exist, the original route through Napa Valley still remain the same. Be prepared to feast your eyes on the Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena while sipping a glass of wine or enjoying a freshly prepared lunch or dinner.
The Napa Valley Wine Train offers a number of wine tasting and dining options:
- Gourmet ExpressThis lounge car offers the best view and deal. Enjoy a ride on the train in the most luxurious of all carts (white linen, anyone?), a pre-fix gourmet meal prepared by Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald. After your meal, explore the train, the wine tasting bar, or head to the observation deck to enjoy an unobstructed view of the valley. Lunch only.
- Vista DomeAn unusually shaped car, the Vista Dome is a step above the normal car. Enjoy a four-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald, as well as a complimentary glass of California Chardonnay. This is perfect for an intimate and private experience, or even a private party! After your meal, explore the train, the wine tasting bar, or head to the observation deck to enjoy an unobstructed view of the valley. Daily lunch, special event wine-tasting or dinner packages available.
- Silverado CarThis option is the most affordable of all. Though there is no prix-fix option, you can order food from the a la carte menu. You simply pay the train fare and everything else is ordered separately. Also note, this car has open window airing and no air conditioning! Train fare only. Option to order food from the a-la carte menu.
Apart from enjoying fine gourmet meals, guests can also partake of the 40-50 boutique Napa Valley Wines stocked in the onboard Wine Bar. Guests get four tastes of wine for $10, while a staff of knowledgeable Wine Educators provides them with the wine’s history. Located in a historic Pullman rail car that is almost 100 years old, the Wine Train’s wine bar reflects a time of decadent luxurious passenger travel that smacks of a century past.
The Napa Valley Wine Train maintains and uses historic rail cars that no longer exist on the American landscape. This means that an important transportation corridor that would have been abandoned decades ago is being enjoyed by countless people each day. Layer that with a unique and award-wining restaurant, and a chance to explore the wine country in a unique manner and you have the perfect wine tour packaged with history, an unbeatable chance to revisit American history.
There’s more that the train offers the visitor. Specials and Vacation Packages such as the Stress and Blues Buster are the best way to score a great deal on a fabulous Napa Valley getaway. The Napa Valley Wine Train has worked together with several great hotels to bring home this exciting opportunity for time away; a night or two to stay at the famous Hilton, gourmet lunch on the Wine Train and a winery tour plus free tastings of 6 select wineries with the “Taste of the Valley” pass. The Rail and Relaxation package is an n overnight accommodation for two and gourmet dinner on the Wine Train, including a 50-minute couples Swedish massage at the Amadeus Spa.
Additionally, there are a few daily Winery Tours at the following wineries:
- Grgich Hills Winery Tour
- Domaine Chandon Winery Tour
- Raymond and ZD Winery Tour (The Ambassador Tour)
Or, special events:
- Regional wine tasting and celebrity winemaker dinners
- Wine paired lunch with a local Napa vintner
- Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
- On-Board Wine Tasting at our Wine Bar
To top it all, the Napa Valley Wine Train also performs its duty toward the environment by recycling. This is what makes the train unique; the recycling, serving safe, beautiful, and appetizing gourmet meals accompanied by excellent local wines and knowledgeable commentary and incredible winery tours!