All aboard the most unique memorable way to experience Napa Valley’s exquisite scenery and best wines—the Napa Valley Wine Train
. The fully-operational antique train is powered by two modified 1950s-era engines that run on an eco-friendly combination of natural gas and diesel fuel. The locomotives pull vintage cars that have been refurbished to their original glory, including lush details like polished brass accents, mahogany paneling, and etched glass partitions.
For newcomers, the Napa Valley Wine Train prides itself on immersing patrons in its old-school atmosphere. While the experience remains unchanged, here are eight things to know before booking a visit.
1. 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 with a changing seasonal menu featuring fresh local ingredients prepared in the train’s three fully operational kitchens.
2. The wine train stops at two of the Valley’s most famous wineries
First-time visitors are encouraged to try the Ambassador Winery Tour
which includes a multiple course gourmet lunch during an hour-and-a-half-long journey to two of Napa Valley’s most famous wineries, Charles Krug Winery and Raymond Vineyards.
The award-winning, historic Charles Krug Winery is the oldest winery in Napa Valley. This is literally where California wine tasting was born, as Charles Krug opened the first tasting room in the state.
Raymond Vineyards is one of the valley’s pioneers in eco-friendly winemaking; the facility is certified organic, Biodynamic®, and completely solar powered. After disembarking at the vineyards, “Napa Valley Wine Train guests are treated to exclusive tours and tastings and a relaxing luxury motor coach during the beautiful ride back to the train station.
3. Children are welcome on the Napa Valley Wine Train
Feel free to include your whole family in your train trip! The Silverado car
is perfect for a kid-friendly lunch since it is the most casual car on the train, so you can relax with your family without interrupting guests who seek a more upscale experience. The car’s open-air windows provide an eye-catching panoramic view of the passing scenery as the train glides through the valley.
4. A trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train is like stepping back in time
Insiders who have ridden the Napa Valley Wine Train recommend the Vista Dome Package
. Though it’s the most expensive package, it features an unforgettable dining experience that delivers a “first-class” feeling, hearkening back to the glory days of luxury rail travel.
5. You can get married on the train
With its upscale dining 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 Valley’s lush sweeping scenery. Or, make reservations for larger groups in a single car or throughout the entire train. Contact the train’s staff for more information about private events
6. The train hosts special events for holidays
Father’s Day is extraordinary aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Book an excursion for Dad on one of the antique Pullman heavyweight rail cars and and create a one-of-a-kind family memory that Dad won’t soon forget. The Wine Train’s 3-hour Father’s Day Journey
includes a multiple course gourmet meal “with BBQ flare,” a welcome taste of wine or beer, and a commemorative pint glass for fathers. Browse their special events
page for more gatherings throughout the year.
7. You can tour wineries at night
Evening travelers can enjoy the Valley’s only “after-hours winery tour” on the Evening Winery Tour
which includes VIP access to Grgich Hills Estate
, whose wines have been served at state dinners by global notables like Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II, and French President François Mitterrand. The estate will be open exclusively at that hour for Wine Train guests, and after the tour guests will enjoy a multiple course gourmet meal aboard the train.
8. You might solve a murder while riding the rails
For a fun and completely unforgettable fine dining and entertainment experience, book a seat on the train’s Murder Mystery dining tour
, which operates on select dinner trains year-round, with 13 events total.
Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, train-lover, or foodie—or all three—the Napa Valley Wine Train is an unforgettable dining, tasting and travel experience that stimulates all the senses.
View the complete list of Napa Valley Wine Train packages
All images courtesy Napa Valley Wine Train