The Definitive Guide to Choo-Choosing Your Wine Train Adventure

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Our top pairings in Napa Valley often include delectable food, dynamic wines, and breathtaking views. While Wine Country is legit ripe with all three, when their powers combine and you add in a 36-mile, round trip journey on board the famed Napa Valley Wine Train, you’ve got a combination that packs a whole lot of punch.

The Wine Train has been a staple since the 1980s, and if you’ve had the opportunity to check out the region, you’ve probably seen their historic rail cars chugging alongside Highway 29. Perhaps, you’ve been curious on how it all works — and we’re here to help.

That’s right, we’ve tackled your biggest question: what ticket is right for me? We did a deep-dive to create the definitive guide, complete with essential infographics, to help you on your way. Between food-filled rides, behind-the-scenes wine tours, and seasonal splendor, you’re going to want to climb on board, and our extra information may be just the ticket to make it happen ASAP.

MEALS WITH A SIDE OF KILLER VIEWS

Were you aware that the Wine Train is actually a restaurant on wheels? Beyond serving up a deliciously Napa Valley meal, the train is also keeping train travel tradition alive with their dining journey offerings. This meal is one you’re going to remember, and it comes served piping hot with world-class, bucolic sights rolling by right outside your window.

Peruse our handy infographic of non-stop Wine Train options below to find your perfect ticket.
WineTrain No Stops Decision Tree

THE DETAILS

Gourmet Express

Refurbished Pullman cars play host for this getaway, and your three-hour vintage train ride includes a multi-course meal for either lunch or dinner. Explore the train, check out the kitchen, peek the vintage details and original artwork, and it’s a must to grab a selfie on the caboose’s viewing deck. Table seating is shared, so you may even make a new friend or two.

Vista Dome

If an intimate dining adventure is more for you, book your lunch or dinner ride in the Vista Dome. The second story of their 1952 Pullman is domed with curved windows that run the length of the car, giving the ultimate in views of The Valley. Elegant and exclusive, this area is off limits to passengers not booked on this journey and is a picture-perfect backdrop for any memorable moment. Enjoy your multi-course, gourmet meal soaking in the midday sun or an early sunset — your choice — this seating option is available on both the lunch and dinner trains.

Romance On The Rails

Date night just got an upgrade with the Wine Train’s monthly Romance on the Rails. Leaving the station with the dinner train, this epic, gourmet meal is held in the beautiful Vista Dome and boasts more than a typical tour in this car. Chef Donald Young cooks up romance with a specially crafted meal that pairs perfectly with multiple glasses of their private label wine. Enjoy dinner under the stars peppered with amore.

Pro Tip: Dietary restrictions? No problem! With advance notice, the Wine Train’s talented culinary team will cook up something delicious within your health requirements.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Santa Train

A yearly tradition, mid-November through December the Wine Train welcomes Santa on board for a special journey for the little ones (and the child in all of us.) Climb on for a 1.5 hour sleigh ride towards the North Pole packed with interactive entertainment, sweet treats, and the vineyards of Napa Valley right outside the train. No mittens needed.

Additional Events

With a dizzying array of special events ranging from seasonal celebrations to murder mysteries, it’s best to check in to the Wine Train’s Special Events section early and often. Find out the latest in pop-up tours and one-of-a-kind adventures available on board.

Pro Tip: Many of the Wine Train’s dining rides are all ages, but a few tours are 21+. Be sure to confirm prior to finalizing your itinerary.

WHEN WINERIES ARE THE CO-STAR

It wouldn’t be Napa Valley without ample sips involved, and the Wine Train has made it as easy as clicking a button to experience exclusive peeks at what makes wine country tick. These rides are packed with flavor — food and wine filled — and are an outstanding way to experience one, two, or three great wineries with sensational tours.

Consult our gorgeous infographic of Wine Train Winery Tours below to find your match.
WineTrain Stops at Wineries Decision Tree

THE DEEP-DIVE

Daytripper Tours

Castle Winery Tour

This ride is for more than just architecture enthusiasts or serious Game of Thrones fans. A visit to Castello di Amorosa is a step into history, and it’s anything but boring. This Wine Train journey takes you to a 13th century Tuscan-inspired castle, torture chamber and all. But, most importantly, there’s wine, and the adventure on board includes a multi-course lunch en route to an exclusive tour and tasting at the castle.

Raymond Winery Tour

Jean-Charles Boisset has created a fantasyland for adults at Raymond Winery. Whimsy and wonder combine on this interactive tour that tickles all the senses. After a short shuttle ride from the Wine Train’s station to the winery, guests experience a guided exploration of the biodynamic winery’s facilities, their Theater of Nature, famed Red Room and Crystal Cellar, and sensational sips of their stand-out wines. The fantasy doesn’t come to a close when the tour is complete. Passengers will climb on board the Wine Train to finish out a magical journey with a multi-course, gourmet lunch.

Grgich Hills Winery Tour

Wine history buffs might get all a-flutter with this Daytripper destination. Napa Valley was put on the map when it comes to wine with the famed 1972 Judgement of Paris. Unsure of this key event in wine country history? We have you covered. Miljenko “Mike” Grgich made his mark by crafting a chardonnay that beat out the French at a blind tasting as a very young winemaker at Chateau Montelana. The creation of Grgich Hills followed up this monumental event, and Mike is still actively part of the winery’s daily workings. Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the beautiful St. Helena locale on board the lunch train.

Ambassador Winery Tour

Two for one — we’ll take it! From iconic to wonderous, this adventure explores a wide spectrum of wine country delights. This lunch train tour includes a visit to both Charles Krug and Raymond Vineyards. Both distinguished in their own right, guests have the chance to take in over 200 years of Napa Valley history while tasting along the way. Check out Krug’s stunning barrel room with Big Red, one of the winery’s original barrels, and find magic at Raymond Vineyards’ Theater of Nature — the largest exhibition on biodynamic farming and winemaking in the Napa Valley. This tour includes a short shuttle service between the wineries and a lunchtime meal in the Wine Train’s refurbished dining cars.

Quattro Vino

The latest in offerings from the Wine Train, Quattro Vino is a day-long exploration of wine country. Categorized in collections, each of the three tours is dedicated to an element that makes Napa Valley remarkable. The journeys include a decadent four-course, Napa-style meal on board the Wine Train’s newly remodeled, chic Quattro Vino cars.

Legacy Tour

Not your average history lesson, The Legacy Tour is a deep dive into over 300 years of combined winemaking experience here in The Valley. With visits to Robert Mondavi, Charles Krug, and V. Sattui, the deep-rooted legacy of the region is celebrated. A four-course meal is served between winery stops on board, and this six hour tour is one that’ll make your history books.

Collective Tour

Luxury is at the forefront of most wine country experiences, but the Collective Tour definitely takes the cake (and you can eat it too) with its three part winery destinations and decadent food-filled ride on board the Quattro Vino train. Stopping at St. Supery, Beringer Vineyards, and Raymond Vineyards, prepare to be held spellbound by their lavish properties and elegant tasting experiences.

Estate Tour

If you’re a fan of architecture, this is the Quattro Vino for you. The Estate Tour is a one-of-a-kind collection of unique winery properties from a historic chateau to LEED-certified splendor. The intimate tour begins with bubbles and breakfast on board and continues with three stops and three more courses along the way. Guests visit Domaine Chandon, Hall Wines, and Inglenook, soaking in each picturesque structure and property while gaining an intimate understanding of the winery’s history and inner workings.

Pro Tip: Beyond planning out sensational train tours of Napa Valley, the Wine Train has also rounded up special offers when it comes to vacation packages and overnight stays to make it easy to plan out your wine country excursion from start to finish.


Touring Quattro Vino with the Napa Valley Wine Train
8 Things to Know About the Napa Valley Wine Train


Author

Jen Schmitz

Jen Schmitz has been writing and producing creative content since 2014. She has written for VSCO, Lonny, and contributed to countless other outlets in and out of wine country. She is a lover of all things art, culture, and wine, and prefers to “summer” in Napa Valley to taste all it has to offer and to escape foggy San Francisco any time she can. Follow her on Instagram at @jeneschmitz.

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