Journey to the California wine country from San Francisco and spend a blissful day in the Napa Valley. This day trip is a feast for the senses, starting with an exclusive tour and wine tasting at Raymond Vineyards. Savor a gourmet lunch in an elegant, vintage dining car aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Round-trip transport is provided between the city, Vallejo, and Napa—simply come along for the ride.
Napa Valley Wine Train experience from San Francisco with ferry/bus transfers
Raymond Vineyards winery tour with wine tasting is included
Enjoy a choice of gourmet dishes and dessert aboard a vintage railcar
Start and finish the day at the Ferry Building Marketplace in the city
First, our booking was initiated with Viator over the phone. During the call, it was made clear that I would be traveling with my underage daughter. When the agent went over the options for the Wine Train, she HIGHLY recommended this specific tour for myself and daughter. The agent explained that this tour, which would cost me $700.00 for both us, would include a Ferry or bus ride from San Francisco to the Napa Valley Wine Station and then we would board the Wine Train; disembark the train to enjoy one of the vineyards, which in this case was Raymond vineyards, followed by a round trip on the train, which included music, a wine expert/educator, three course meal, and time to explore the entire train during the journey back. We thought this would be a perfect way to spend a day in Napa Valley, especially with a young child. So, we booked the tour for two adults (no option for children prices), despite all the mixed reviews online and I emailed Viator to inform them my daughter was underage and would not be drinking any wine. The day of the tour, We make it to the Ferry Building/pick up location for the shuttle to take us to the Wine Train Station at 8:15AM. We have a one hour (+) drive, in which the driver is literally driving 90 MPH. Very scary and uncomfortable. You can literally feel ever curve, turn and bump in those smaller shuttle buses. We finally get to the Wine Train Station at 9:35AM. We proceed to check in and are told the train would pick us up at 11:00AM. We had no idea we had such a long wait. 11:05AM comes around and we’re called to meet our tour guide at the entrance doors. We’re so excited at this point to board the train! Well, we didn’t board the train. We were placed in the same shuttle bus that dropped us off at the train station. We were told that we would be taking a shuttle to the vineyard and picking up the Wine Train on his return journey back to the train station. As you can imagine we were so bummed. No one ever told me that we would only have 60 minutes on the train, to eat and explore with a child. So, we board the shuttle, and oh my goodness, the tour guide was probably the most loud, obnoxious and annoying person I’ve ever experienced. She was not professional at all. Inappropriate comments and complaining the entire ride there that she was tired from working multiple doubles. She talked so much that we couldn’t even enjoy two minutes looking out the window in peace and quiet. Her personal presentation was lacking. She looked like she just rolled out of bed. During the ride there she rudely commented in front of all the guests that my daughter wasn’t 21 years old. Then she said she would be “drinking her wine during the tour”. This was VERY embarrassing. If she had any questions regarding the age of my daughter, then she should’ve addressed that directly to me, and not in front of the entire bus. We finally get to the vineyard and I have to say, this was the weirdest, most bizarre place. It was not age appropriate for a minor, nor was it anything like we expected. It is not a traditional, rustic, family environment. It was literally a Miami night club with purple strobe lights, space suits and half naked female mannequins hanging from the ceilings. The entire time that we spent on that property was based on trying to sell us their monthly wine packages, instead of talking about how wine is made and educating us about the different types/processes. We watched our obnoxious tour guide drink wine that I pretty much paid for. That wine should’ve been offered to me, since my child wasn’t of age to drink. Not consumed by the tour guide. We were up that day since 630AM, it was almost 1:30PM, and still haven’t seen the Wine Train. My daughter was about to pass out from hunger. It would make sense to allow for a bottle of water and a small snack, since you’re charging $700 for two people. I doubt that would break the bank; or better yet offer my daughter something other than wine to drink since we paid full adult price for her ticket. Never once did they take us through the vineyards. They simply had us walk in a small circle garden that had nothing to do with wine and show casing some of the owners odd fetishes with dogs, oh and our tour guide asking guests to take pictures of her drinking and holding up some of the owners books to post on her personal social media. Prior to departing the vineyard, I called Viator to complain about the trip. I was told that we would receive a refund and that this type of vineyard should not have been offered to someone traveling with a child. We then boarded the shuttle AGAIN to drive to the location where we would finally pick up the train. Lots of waiting on this tour. The train arrives and we’re escorted inside where the staff have no idea where to put us. One of the servers was so rude and said “they’re not in my section, so I don’t know what to do with them..” we stood in line, in the hallway just waiting while servers with dirty dishes and trash walked all around us. This was the perfect place for our tour guide to ask us for a tip for her services. We finally get sat at our table and we’re informed that there was no music and no wine expert onboard. We were rushed to finish our food and barely walked half way though the train before it arrived at the station to disembark. During the meal, I was approached by the train manager to ask how the first half of our tour was. He also asked how Tasha, our tour guide did. I was honest and told him the truth about the vineyard and how unprofessional our tour guide was. The manager informed me that he would handle it on his end and we informed him that we contacted Viator requesting a refund. When we got back to the train station we had to wait another two hours before our shuttle arrived to take us back to the ferry station to get back to San Francisco. LOTS of waiting on this tour. Complete waste of money and the tour is nothing like its advertised. It was an absolute scam. Waste of money.