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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

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  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Duration:  8 hours (approx.)
Enjoy wine and food galore on this Napa and Sonoma wine country tour, which gives you an exclusive insider's look at the culinary forces behind the famous Napa Valley Wine Train. On this exclusive Viator tour, available nowhere else, travel by luxury limo van from San Francisco to Sonoma for a private sparkling wine tasting at Gloria Ferrer winery and free time to explore historic downtown Sonoma. Gain special access to the Napa Valley Wine Train Culinary Arts Center – not open to the public – for a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour with the executive chef, and be the first to board the train to tour the onboard kitchen. Then, sit down to a gourmet lunch or dinner as you travel through gorgeous wine country.

Highlights

  • Napa and Sonoma luxury wine and culinary tour from San Francisco
  • Gain insider access to the Napa Valley Wine Train’s food service on this Viator exclusive, available nowhere else
  • Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Napa Valley Wine Train Culinary Arts Center – not open to the public!
  • Tour the kitchen with the executive chef to see where the train’s meals are made
  • Enjoy Champagne, wine and appetizers, plus a gourmet lunch or dinner on board
  • Visit Sonoma’s famous Gloria Ferrer winery for a private sparkling wine tasting
  • Small-group tour limited to 15 people ensures a more intimate experience

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

Going behind the scenes of the famous Napa Valley Wine Train is truly a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience. The head chef is extremely passionate, making the kitchen tour a highlight. This kind of tour has only ever been available to executives and celebrities!

What You Can Expect

Viator Exclusive: Private Napa Valley Wine Train Culinary Experience from San Francisco

Behind-the-Scenes Tour with Executive Chef

This exclusive tour includes comfortable, carefree round-trip transport by luxury limo van from San Francisco to Napa and Sonoma, letting you skip the hassle of driving, taking the ferry or public transportation.

Depending on the time of year, you'll enjoy a gourmet lunch or dinner aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Both experiences are identical, simply with reverse itineraries and different time frames. Throughout your tour, your friendly, professional driver/guide will offer personalized service and provide commentary about the places you see.

See below for sample lunch and dinner menus.

Itinerary

Dinner Train (May - October)
Your exclusive wine country experience begins with pickup from your San Francisco hotel at 1pm. Relax on a comfortable 1-hour drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and north to Sonoma. Your first stop: Gloria Ferrer, a famous winery that specializes in sparkling wines as well as pinot noir and chardonnay. In fact, this celebrated winery was the first sparkling wine producer in Sonoma’s Carneros region.

You'll be greeted by a friendly host with a glass of sparkling wine. Soak up the views of Sonoma's rolling hills and vineyards from the veranda as you sip this winery's signature bubbly.

Hop back in your limo van and head to downtown Sonoma for an hour of free time to explore this charming, historic city at your leisure. Spend time popping into quaint boutiques and cafes, and don't miss Sonoma State Historic Park – the site of the northernmost Franciscan Mission in California and the birthplace of the California State Bear Flag.

Around 5pm, you’ll be taken to the Napa Valley Wine Train Culinary Arts Center, located in the train yard. This place is not open to the general public, but you'll get the exclusive opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen where all the train’s gourmet meals are prepared!

Entering a room with beautiful views of the Napa River and downtown Napa, you’ll be greeted by executive chef Kelly Macdonald (or the sous chef on the rare occasion Kelly is not available) and taken on a tour of the kitchen to witness the hard work, creativity and skill that goes into every dish served on the train. Enjoy a glass of California sparkling wine and seasonal appetizers as you watch talented chefs working their magic -- this experience has usually been reserved only for high-profile celebrities and executives!

You’ll be the first to board the Napa Valley Wine Train after your kitchen tour. Feel like a VIP as you're ushered to the onboard kitchen for a tour of the facilities. Then, sit back and relax with a taste of wine as the train departs and picks up the rest of general public at the standard boarding time.

Enjoy personalized service from your friendly wait staff as you savor your 5-course gourmet dinner. Large picture windows offer expansive views of the gorgeous hillsides and vineyards of California wine country.

Your train returns to the train depot at 9:30pm, after which you’ll be taken on a relaxing ride back to San Francisco. You’ll be awarded with views of the glittering city lights sweeping across the skyline as you travel over the Golden Gate Bridge, arriving back at your hotel around 10:30pm.

Lunch Train (November - April)
During the winter months, when it's a bit colder in the evenings, take advantage of wine country during the daytime. This tour option includes lunch instead of dinner, but the remaining tour components are the same.

You’ll be picked up from your San Francisco hotel at 8:30am for a scenic morning drive north to Napa. Arriving at the Napa Valley Wine Train Culinary Arts Center, located in the train yard, you’ll enjoy the same behind-the-scenes kitchen tour as the dinner tour option.

Be the first to board the train at 11am after your kitchen tour. Feel like a VIP as you're ushered to the onboard kitchen for a tour of the facilities, and then sit down to a glass of wine and a lovely gourmet 3-course lunch. Enjoy personalized service from your wait staff as you take in views of rolling hills and vineyards from your seat.

Hop off the train in downtown Sonoma for free time to explore on your own. There are plenty of things to do and see in this quaint city, including dining, shopping, wine tasting and art galleries. Or you can simply grab a coffee and sit at a picnic bench under a tree in Sonoma Square to soak up the atmosphere.

You'll then be whisked away to Gloria Ferrer for a sparkling wine tasting with a private host. Spend time sipping Gloria's signature bubbly, browsing the gift shop, and soaking up views of the surrounding countryside from the patio. Then, settle into your limo van and relax on the scenic afternoon drive back to San Francisco. Enjoy views of Alcatraz and the city skyline as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge and arrive back at your hotel around 4:30pm.

Dinner Sample Menu

Appetizer
Cured meats, artisan cheeses and olives

First Course
Baby lettuce salad with candied walnuts and smoked goat cheese in a honey-cider vinaigrette

Intermezzo
Harlequin sorbet

Main Course (choose one)
  • Roasted beef tenderloin on black truffle potato cake with onion and cambozola cheese
  • Grilled salmon on fingerling potatoes and sautéed baby spinach in a coconut curry broth topped with a calamari salad
  • Mediterranean-style grilled lamp chop with fennel, spinach and sautéed potatoes in a red wine reduction sauce topped with an olive tapenade
  • Winter squash polenta with a spinach-ricotta portabella and yam-stuffed pepper in a tomato-basil coulis
  • Special of the Day (ask your waiter for seasonal specialties)

Dessert
Changes daily

Drinks
Coffee and tea (included)
Espresso, cappuccino, soft drinks, juices and mineral water (additional cost)

Lunch Sample Menu

First Course (choose one)
Baby lettuce salad with candied walnuts and smoked goat cheese in a honey-cider vinaigrette
Soup du jour

Main Course (choose one)
  • Roasted beef tenderloin on a black truffle potato cake with onion and cambozola cheese
  • Grilled pork tenderloin stuffed with wild mushroom polenta on vegetables in a truffle port reduction sauce
  • Coriander chicken breast in a wild mushroom pappardelle pasta with pesto
  • Grilled salmon on fingerling potatoes and sautéed baby spinach in a coconut curry broth topped with a calamari salad
  • Winter squash polenta with a spinach-ricotta portabella and yam-stuffed pepper in a tomato-basil coulis

Dessert
Changes daily

Drinks
Coffee and tea (included)
Espresso, cappuccino, soft drinks, juices and mineral water (additional cost)

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2013

It was great. Just a few ideas. Sonoma stop was only 20 mins, wish it was a bit longer. The Wine train tour was the best. The food was amazing. Will do it again!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2013

I went on this to celebrate my recent engagement and had a splendid time--I really felt like a VIP. On the way to wine country, our driver was exceptionally knowledgeable about wine and gave us an education on the different types of wines and how to evaluate them during tastings. My favorite, favorite part of the entire experience was meeting the executive chef. He had prepared tasty little appetizers just for us and he went in depth on all the ingredients and methods he used as well as the history of the Wine Train. Absolutely fascinating (and delicious). The dinner was top-notch. I'm glad I went with his recommendation (a line-caught fish from Washington State)--truly sublime. We finished the evening in a club car for dessert and coffee. We even got to step outside of the car for some fresh air and to watch the scenery leisurely pass us by. I never felt rushed and everyone, from our driver, the executive chef, to the head waiter ensured the day was relaxing and carefree. A delightful, insightful experience!
From USD $ 244.58

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Tour code: 5850VIP

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