The Definitive Guide to Choo-Choosing Your Wine Train Adventure

  • Travel
  • by JEN SCHMITZ
  • on NOVEMBER 9, 2023
  • 15264
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Travel

The Definitive Guide to Choo-Choosing Your Wine Train Adventure

By Jen Schmitz November 9, 2023

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 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 Napa views

Vista Dome setting, Napa Valley Wine Train
Vista Dome setting, Photo Courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Train

Were you aware that the Napa Valley Wine Train is actually a restaurant on wheels? Beyond serving up a delicious 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.

Gourmet Express Dinner

Refurbished Pullman cars play host for this getaway, and your two-hour vintage train ride includes a multi-course meal for dinner. Explore the train, check out the kitchen, peek at the vintage details and original artwork, and grab a selfie on the caboose’s viewing deck. Elevate your experience with the Master Sommelier tasting, featuring wines from such Napa Valley legends as BV and Opus One.

Vista Dome Lunch or Dinner

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 experience offers a picture-perfect backdrop for any memorable moment. After sipping your welcome glass of sparkling wine, enjoy your multi-course, gourmet meal during lunchtime, or in the evening as the sun sets.

Tasting on the Rails

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Napa Valley during this epic wine-ing and dining experience aboard the Wine Train’s 2022 Pullman lounge car. During this three-hour journey, you’ll savor seven incredible courses expertly paired with seven local Napa Valley wines, as you pass through the very appellations where the grapes for said wines were sourced.

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 Themed Events

Napa Valley Wine Train
The Wine Train comes alive with the spirit of the holidays, Photo Courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Train

Murder Mystery Dinner

Enjoy two hours of murder mystery theatrics during this fun immersive event, which will have you playing a game of cat and mouse with your fellow dinner guests. Of course, a gourmet, three-course dinner rounds out the experience, promising an evening of delicious food and delightful hijinks!

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, let the talented team aboard the Wine Train take care of the food (and the dishes). You’ll embark on an elegant, 3.5-hour journey through Napa’s stunning landscapes as you feast on an incredible Thanksgiving-inspired multi-course meal, all without having to lift a finger in the kitchen.

Santa Train Journeys

A yearly tradition, late November through December, the Wine Train welcomes Santa on board for special holiday journeys. From Santa’s Cookie Car, perfect for the little ones looking to enjoy a cup of warm cider or cocoa and a holiday cookie, to the Gourmet Holiday Express, complete with a kid-friendly, three-course dinner and a photo with Santa, there’s something for every child (and the child in all of us) aboard the Wine Train during the holiday season.

Midnight in Paris: A Legacy NYE Celebration

Make New Year’s Eve a day to remember with the ultimate Legacy train experience. You’ll start the morning with a tasting of sparkling wine before devouring a three-course brunch, followed by a stop at Grgich Hills Winery to enjoy a two-hour party with small bites and wine while counting down to the midnight ball drop in Paris. On the way back, keep the party going strong with dancing in the open-air car.

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.

Napa Valley Wine Train
Photos Courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Train

Wine Tasting Journeys

Napa Valley Wine Train
Photo Courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Train

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 and are an outstanding way to experience a great winery or two with sensational tours.

Grgich Hills Estate Tasting

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 1976 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 Montelena. The creation of Grgich Hills followed up this monumental event, and Mike (now 100!) is still the face of the brand. Experience the wines of this iconic St. Helena locale during your three-hour train journey, complete with lunch and a stop at the winery for a tasting.

The Legacy Experience

This full-day adventure goes beyond your average history lesson, diving deep into over 300 years of combined winemaking experience here in The Valley. With visits to Charles Krug, V. Sattui, and the Napa Valley Welcome Sign (hello, photo opps!), you’ll be able to celebrate the deep-rooted legacy of the region. A four-course meal is served between winery stops on board, and this six hour tour is one that’ll make your history books.

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.

Conclusion:

Napa Valley is one of the top wine growing regions in the world, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more elegant or unique way to explore its landscapes than on board the Napa Valley Wine Train. Whether looking for a delightful half-day tour or a more robust experience that lasts all day, the Napa Valley Wine Train promises a memorable and sensory-filled ride through this beloved region.