Luxury in
Your Inbox

Explore Napa Valley by Time-Honored Wine Train

Napa Valley Luxury wine tour

Napa Valley Wine Train

Why does traveling by train through Napa Valley evoke a sense of romanticism?

Train travel conjures images of a bygone elegant age. Sitting in a grandiose dining car, watching spellbound out your window as places go by at a slower pace, the opportunity to explore Napa Valley by train is a time-skipping experience. The mere motion of a train becomes the sole purpose of your adventure. If you’re visiting America’s most prestigious wine region, the Napa Valley, you’d be well advised to ditch your car and opt for a most enchanting sojourn through stellar fields of grapes, while chugging along the rails from Napa to St. Helena on the opulent Napa Valley Wine Train.

You’d be well advised to ditch your car and opt for a most enchanting sojourn through stellar fields of grapes, while chugging along the rails from Napa to St. Helena on the opulent Napa Valley Wine Train.

Napa Valley Wine train tour

Napa Valley Wine Train

The historic 36-mile round-trip railroad dates back to 1864. Current tours where you can explore Napa Valley by train began in 1989. The lavish extravaganza features a fleet of 16 vintage Pullman rail cars built in 1915, when they were used as first-class coaches for the Northern Pacific Railway. The faithfully restored railcars feature Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions and plush armchairs that kindle the spirit of luxury train travel at the beginning of the 20th Century. There are more than 500 wineries in the Napa Valley. The 30-mile stretch of wine terroir consumes nearly 46,000 acres exclusively planted with fields of grapes. The region, lauded first for its deep reds, produces award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon. Almost 4 million visitors set foot in the Napa Valley each year. Even on an ambitious journey, the number of wineries that you visit frequently is less than ten.

Dome view car on Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

“First a dining journey and second a winery tour,” said Vincent DeDomenico, wine train founder also known for creating Rice-A-Roni and Ghirardelli Chocolate. Thirty years after its launch, remarkable dining encounters remain at the epicenter of the three- to six-hour culinary adventure, taking the guest experience to another level. There are enough various themed outings and events through the wine country to please almost any interest. There’s a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, “Romance on the Rails” in vintage glass-top Vista Dome cars, a Castle Winery Tour to rhapsodized Castello di Amorosa. All tours come with multiple courses of farm-to-table, palate-pleasing meals. The possibilities do seem endless. You can “Rock the Rails” with live music at V. Sattui Winery’s concert stage, or for craft-beer aficionados, hop a hop-laden pub on rails from downtown Napa’s Pacific Palisades brewery. On Cinco de Mayo, the Napa Valley Wine Train becomes a “tequila train” for one day only. And what could be more romantic than taking your sweetheart on the wine train for Valentine’s Day?

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: NAPA VALLEY’S CULINARY TOUR

Charles Krug Winery in Napa Valley

Charles Krug Winery

Trains depart from the Mckinstry Street Station, next to Napa’s version of New York’s Eataly, Oxbow Public Market. The train passes by Napa’s revitalized art scene, with its painted murals on sides of buildings promoted by Rail Arts District Napa, before nestling beside Highway 29. It then crosses spectacular landscape en route to its final stop in St. Helena. Charles Krug Winery is one of the epic wine train stopovers for tastings. With more than 150 years of history, the winery is a must-see destination for visitors traveling to the Napa Valley. Some say Charles Krug created the Napa Valley itself.

Mondavi Winery on Napa Valley Wine tour

Robert Mondavi Winery

No trip to the Napa Valley would be complete without exploring the fabled Robert Mondavi Winery. Established in 1966 on the grounds of the Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, the Mondavi estate produces some of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Mondavi also crafted his signature Fume Blanc from the Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Other legendary vintners on the vaunted choo choo include filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook, globally acclaimed winemaker Mike Grgich’s Grgich Hills Estate, epic sparkling wine producerDomaine Chandon, and the grounds of one of the valley’s most inviting family-owned and run wineries, V. Sattui.

dining car on the Napa Valley Wine train

Napa Valley Wine Train

Delectable four-course meals are made from scratch in the time-honored tradition of travel and dining before fast cars and planes took over. Wine Train executive chef Donald Young and his staff of culinary artists utilize four onboard kitchens. Their feasts are equal to the lofty standard set by Napa Valley’s gourmand capital of Yountville. The excursion begins with a light first course of a Greek yogurt smoothie, steel-cut oatmeal brulee and smoked salmon on ciabatta. Subsequent courses include miso-glazed fillet of salmon, pan-fried ling cod and grilled locally sourced duck sausage. Not to be missed is the asparagus bisque with white truffle oil and aged parmesan cheese.

Napa Valley Wine Tours train

Napa Valley Wine Train

The Wine Train team of dapper mixologists and stately servers cater to your every whim, serving wine, featured beers and noble libations such as the Conductor’s Old Fashioned, Negroni, Moscow Mule and other vogue cocktail creations. Tequila aficionados enjoy a wide selection of the agave nectar by Patron. All await you as you sluggishly meander through the spellbinding green layers of vineyards bordering the Mayacama Mountains. You are humbled by the terra firma as you pass through iconic Oak Knoll, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena, before making the return trip to downtown Napa.

With fields of grapevines right out your window, there's probably no more seductive way to take in Napa Valley's iconic wine country than by rail.

Luxury wine tours Napa Valley wine train

Michael Warwick / Shutterstock

With fields of grapevines right out your window, there’s probably no more seductive way to take in Napa Valley’s iconic wine country than by rail. For most travelers, the Wine Train is an unforgettable and possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride the rails through one of the world’s precious wine regions. Perhaps what is most surprising is that only one in seven visitors surveyed by Visit Napa Valley planned to ride the wine train. “There’s great potential for growth in visitors who have yet to get acquainted with the Wine Train,” said Napa Valley Wine Train co-owner Scott Goldie.

You May Also Like

Iconic Life Black Horizontal Logo

Receive the latest in luxurious stories from ICONIC LIFE.

Luxury in Your Inbox