When the phrase “wine tour” comes to mind, you probably think of something stationary. A winery in a scenic little California valley or mountain town. A lush vineyard resting under the warm glow of the summer sun. A bus or a private car that ferries you from one wine tasting event to the next through Tuscany or the Napa Valley. You probably don’t think of a train. But that’s exactly what the Napa Valley Wine Train is: a Napa Valley wine tour on rails. With its comfortable seats, killer view, broad selections of wines, and sheer novelty, the Napa Valley Wine Train is a not-to-be-missed California wine attraction.
The Napa Valley Wine Train: A Brief History
The Napa Valley Wine Train has been in existence since 1987, when the Napa Valley Wine Train (a private company founded by several area entrepreneurs) purchased some Pullman rolling stock that had been originally built in 1915. After extensive restoration, the Napa Valley Wine Train began operating in 1989. The fourteen-car passenger train makes excursions into the surrounding countryside of the Napa Valley. The cars include a lounge car, an observation car, and several dining cars.
The train has an exclusive route all to itself (the line was abandoned by commercial interests in 1985). The journey from Napa to St. Helena takes about three hours round-trip. The journey takes in some of the most scenic parts of the Napa Valley, as well as the picturesque towns of Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford. The train is also home to a world-class gourmet restaurant. Four onboard chefs create mouth-watering dishes such as yellowfin tuna tartar, pan-seared halibut, roast beef tenderloin, and multiple-course meals in the best Napa tradition.
All Aboard for Wine Tasting (and More)!
The Napa Valley Wine Train has a broad range of excursions to fit any level of interest in wine. There are simple lunch and dinner excursions lasting three hours, which include a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and a gourmet meal. These excursions can be enhanced by choosing a seat in the wine train’s famous “Vista Dome.” The dome is a two-story observation car with comfortable booths, Honduran mahogany panels, and incredible views.
The wine train also offers half- and full-day winery tours. This includes a gourmet meal aboard the train and a tasting at one of several famous Napa-area wineries. There are also numerous special events: murder mysteries, beer and tequila trains, and numerous other exciting adventures. Gift certificates are available for those who’d like to give a journey aboard the train to friends or loved ones.
The train also offers combined train and hotel packages, and can also be used as a wedding venue. There’s something for everyone aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train!
We hope you enjoyed this post, our very first installment of “Unforgettable Wine Tours.” We’ll be showcasing many more wine tours like this in the future, so stay tuned to our blog and our e-mails. And be sure to stop by Ultra’s website to take in our latest innovative wine racking products.