Napa Valley Wine Train

Relax Aboard the Napa Wine Train for Memories of a Lifetime

WineTrain-Napa-Valley-Sign

Napa Wine Train

You can’t say you’ve been to the Napa Valley until you’ve been aboard the Napa Wine Train and have had a gourmet meal (paired with Napa Valley wines, of course). Why the Napa Valley Wine Train? That’s hard to answer in just one sentence. So we’ll break it down.

The Napa Wine Train is the Area’s Most Unique Restaurant

Not even the French Laundry chugs along on 25 miles of track! With two engines, three on-board kitchens, and a collection of lavishly restored early 20th-century railcars, the Napa Valley Wine Train is uniquely equipped to give diners postcard-perfect — and constantly changing — views as it travels through the heart of the Napa Valley from downtown Napa to St. Helena and back. This is one three-hour journey you’ll never forget.

The Gilded Age Makes a Comeback on the Napa Wine Train

Wolfing down a sandwich so we can get right back to work — that’s what passes for the modern American lunch. But there was a time when meals were treated with grace and decorum.

Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train’s 1915-1917 Pullman dining or lounge cars, or its 1947 Vista Dome railcar, you get to dine in the style of a bygone era. White linen tablecloths, Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions, and plush velveteen fabric armchairs provide the historically correct setting for a memorable meal.

As fancy as that sounds, it’s OK to leave your top hat and cane at home. While some diners do like to dress up for a meal aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, you would not be out of place in your polo shirt, fanny pack, and Bermuda shorts.

The Napa Wine Train Has All the Views, No Traffic

If you’ve ever driven on Highway 29, the Napa Valley’s main drag, you know that getting around can be a test of patience and supreme maneuvering skills. Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train (especially from the glass-domed Vista Dome car), you see the same towns — Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and St. Helena — and the same wineries along this popular route. You actually have a chance to admire the vineyards and the lush mountains as you glide along in comfort — without risking your life to peer out of a car window. What you don’t see: the in-your-face bumper of the car ahead of you and the exasperated expression on your spouse’s face when you miss your turn again.

The Napa Wine Train Has Ties to Local History

Aside from the authentic engines and railcars, the Napa Valley WineTrain is historic in another respect. It runs on the track that originally was built during the 1860s to transport visitors to the hot springs in Calistoga. Although the track to Calistoga no longer exists, much of the track on which the Napa Valley Wine Train operates remains unchanged. Want to know another fun historical fact? The Napa Valley Wine Train was founded by the late Vince de Domenico, co-inventor of Rice-a-Roni (“the San Francisco treat”) and former co-owner of San Francisco-based Ghirardelli Chocolate Co.

The Napa Wine Train Passes the Foodie Test

All meals prepared aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train are cooked to order and contain the freshest seasonal ingredients, with earth-friendly produce, humanely raised meats, and live-caught or responsibly farmed fish. All this is done under the watchful eye of Napa Valley Wine Train Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald, who is nationally renowned in his field. What sounds good to you? Pork tenderloin on grilled yams in a peppercorn Zinfandel sauce? Or the grilled and roasted beef tenderloin with Gorgonzola artichoke hearts on a potato fennel gratin? These are just a couple of examples of the kinds of entrees that are available from the five-course Napa Valley Wine Train gourmet menu. While you’re awaiting your meal, feel free to meander over to the main kitchen to watch the chefs in action at the grill from 3 feet away.

The Napa Wine Train Lives Up to its Name

You came to the Napa Valley for the wine, didn’t you? The Napa Wine Train doesn’t disappoint. In a beautifully appointed, historically authentic tasting car, you have the option of sampling 30 to 40 hard-to-find wines from local boutique wineries — four different wines for $10 — while gleaning knowledge and sharing cheer with an on-board wine educator. During your meal, you can order the perfect wine to pair with each course for an additional charge.

The Napa Wine Train Offers Three Different Lunches or Dinners

The Vista Dome is the most private dining experience of the three Napa Valley Wine Train lunch or dinner options. Seated in an elegant glass-topped observation car, you’ll be wowed by 180-degree views of the Napa Valley as you enjoy a free glass of bubbly and a four-course meal of your choice. You can always up the ante with the Vintners Lunch (held most Fridays between March and November), wine pairing events, or a romantic moonlit dinner. Cost for lunch is $xxx, not including wine.

Finally, the “bargain” option: the Silverado Car. For $xx.50, you ride in a special car that retains an open-air feel – it’s the only car not restored with air conditioning. If you feel like sliding down the windows to inhale the heavenly Napa Valley air, go for it. The wine-tasting car is right next door, and if you choose to nibble, you can order off a menu (for an additional charge).

Note: Those who want a substantial meal would get a better value with the Gourmet Express.

Wineries, Anyone? The Napa Wine Train Makes Stops

The Napa Wine Train folks believe there are some things worth stopping for – like Napa Valley wineries. Tour packages start at the Napa Wine Train McKinstry Street Station, where you can learn about and sample local wines while chatting with a Napa Wine Train wine educator. Next it’s all aboard for a relaxing three-course lunch while watching the Napa Valley countryside roll by. Finally, you’re whisked away by luxury motor coach for a private winery tour andtasting.

There are a number of Napa Wine Train tour packages to choose from. For example:

  1. Ambassador Winery Tour (includes stops at Charles Krug Winery & Raymond Vineyards)
  2. Domaine Chandon Winery Tour (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only)
  3. Grgich Hills Winery Tour (a taste of history)

Special Events Abound on the Napa Wine Train

Vintner’s Lunch
On most Fridays from March through November, guests can pick the brain of a special guest vintner who joins forces with Napa Valley Wine Train Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald and Wine Director Ryan Graham to create a diverse four-course lunch with specially chosen wines. Reserve early! This is one of the Napa Valley Wine Train’s most popular events, and it sells out quickly.

Moonlight Escape
What could be more romantic than dinner for deux in a private booth in a vintage glass-domed railcar? Answer: dinner for deux in a vintage glass-domed railcar – with views of Napa Valley vineyards bathed in a silvery moonlit glow.

The Napa Valley Wine Train’s Moonlight Escape includes a welcome glass of sparkling wine, a freshly prepared five-course dinner, and a relaxing ride under the light of a full moon while you enjoy two glasses of house wine.

Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
The Napa Wine Valley Train has a murder mystery play centering on the clandestine world of gum shoe. Come prepared to mix and mingle and dress the part – or just get down to business and solve the murder.


Get to the Napa Wine Train by Ferry? You Bet!

It’s easy to get to the Napa Valley Wine Train by plane or by car. Even public transportation, while somewhat tricky, is doable. But did you know you can get there by ferry from San Francisco?

Here’s what you do: Make a reservation for the Napa Valley Wine Train at least one day in advance. On the day of your trip, show up for the 8:10 a.m. BayLink ferry/bus to Vallejo. Tell them your name and that you are on the Wine Train connection. Once in Vallejo, a private shuttle will be waiting to transport you to the Napa Valley Wine Train Station. (The cost of the (round-trip) ferry/bus link to the Napa Valley Wine Train is $45 extra per person.)

Enjoy lunch and perhaps a winery tour aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, followed by an afternoon of wine tasting, shopping, or spa treatments in the city of Napa. Catch the shuttle back to Vallejo in time for the evening ferry to San Francisco.

Voila – no driving required!

For inquiries and reservations, contact the Napa Valley Wine Train at 1275 McKinstry St., Napa, CA 94559; (707) 253- 2111 or 1-800-427-4124;
www.winetrain.com



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