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Napa Valley Wine Train

Taking the Napa Valley Wine Train

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  • Hours: Four to six trips weekly, schedule varies
  • Reservations: Required
  • Cost: Cost varies by type of trip, and whether you have a meal
  • Location: Depot is in downtown Napa, see directions below
  • How Long: Two to three hours on the train, but allow an extra hour for getting there, getting on board and so on
  • Best Time to Visit: Any time
The Napa Valley Wine Train runs from downtown Napa to St. Helena and back, serving meals and wine on the trip. It's a small-ish train, nine rail cars powered by a double-sided Alco Diesel Engine.

 

What You Should Know About the Napa Valley Wine Train

These tips will help you avoid surprises.
  • The train only makes a few stops and depending on your tour it can be at one or two wineries.
     
  • Wine is included only with special packages. Otherwise, you'll have to buy it on board.
     
  • While the Napa Valley Wine Train claims that tips are optional, what they really mean is that extra tips above their 12% service charge are optional.
     
  • The Napa Valley Wine Train is 100% non-smoking. This includes the station, train cars and outside observation decks.
     
  • Casual dress is fine any time.
     
  • Children are welcome, but with many restrictions. Strollers and child carriers are not allowed on board, diaper changing is not permitted in the rail cars and toilets are very small. Toddlers may also get restless during such a long trip, and they cannot move around without adult supervision.

Napa Valley Wine Train Options

The Napa Valley Wine Train isn't cheap. Prices start at $50 for a train trip alone. You'll pay more for a meal and there's an extra charge for the winery tours offered with the lunch trips.

For a dinner trip in the Vista Dome Car, you'll spend almost $130 per person before beverages, service charges and tips. For the same price, you could see the scenery on a drive up Highway 29 and back on Silverado Trail, take a 1.5-hour barrel tasting tour at Del Dotto Vineyards and dine like a king at one of the area's top-end restaurants.

The Wine Train offers a variety of lunch and dinner options. The Pullman cars seat 130 people at a time, with two seatings on the three-hour trip. If you choose this option, it's best to get the later seating so you can watch the scenery before the sun sets and eat on the way back.

Other special trips, winemaker dinners, murder mystery trips, full-moon trips and seasonal excursions are available.

Napa Valley Wine Train Review

We rate Napa Valley Wine Train 2 out of 5. Despite the romance of the idea, it confines you behind windows, watching the scenery pass as if you were watching television. Their food is mediocre at best, and we think your time and money are better spent elsewhere. However, people with limited mobility, or those who care more for atmosphere than cuisine may enjoy it, and some people find travel by train very romantic.

Others may disagree. You can see what other people just like you think about the Napa Valley Wine Train, then bookmark this page and after you've been there, come back and tell us what you think.

 

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Getting to the Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train
1275 McKinstry Street
Napa, CA
707-253-2111, 800-427-4124
Napa Valley Wine Train website
From Hwy 29, take the Napa/Lake Berryessa exit. The road becomes Soscol Avenue. Follow it to First Street and turn right, then turn Left onto McKinstry Street.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary trip for the purpose of reviewing the Wine Train. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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