Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

Ride Through California's Most Celebrated Wine Region on This Vintage Luxury Train

Napa Train Travel
by Morgane Croissant May 15, 2023

The US may be car country, but that does not mean you can’t travel any other way while in America. Trains in the US are not as practical and ubiquitous as the ones in Europe, but they remain a great option for those who like to travel differently. There’s a high-speed train in Florida that takes you from the beach to Disney in just three hours, they are Amtrak trains that go through beautiful national parks, and there’s even a train that runs at the bottom of a 1,200-foot-deep gorge in Colorado. But if you’re looking for a luxurious train trip that’s all about indulging in gourmet food and celebrated wines, there’s no better option that the Napa Valley Wine Train in California.

What is the route of the Napa Valley Wine Train?

The Wine Train starts in Downtown Napa, goes all the way to St. Helena, and returns to Downtown Napa. The train goes through the towns of Oak Knoll, Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford. The route is a 36-mile loop.

The exact address of the Napa Valley Wine Train departing station is: 1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559

What wineries does the Napa Wine Train go to?

View of the Napa Valley Wine Train running alongside vineyards

Photo: Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

You’ll go to different wineries depending on the type of experience/tour you book. For example, The Legacy Experience takes you to Charles Krug Winery and V. Sattui Winery, while The Grgich Hills Estate Tasting Experience only stops at the Grgich Hills Estate. Some of the Napa Valley Wine Train tours/experiences do not stop at any wineries and passengers stay on board during the entire ride. All of the experiences/tours available offer wine tastings on board the train, however.

How much is the Wine Train in Napa?

The price of riding the Wine Train depends on the experience/tour you book, the add-ons you pick, and the demand on your chosen date. The experiences/tours available and their base price are as follow:

  • The Legacy Experience: Full-day tour (three hours on board the train); visit of two wineries; four-course meal; on-board wine tasting — starting at $475
  • Vista Dome Lunch: Three-hour train journey in the luxurious observation car; multiple-course gourmet lunch — starting at $290
  • Grgich Hills Estate Tasting: Two hours on the train; wine tasting at Grgich Hills Estate; multiple-course gourmet lunch — starting at $320
  • Gourmet Express Lunch: Three-hour train journey; multiple-course lunch — starting at $175
  • Afternoon Tea: Three-hour train journey; cocktail on arrival; savory and sweet treats served with fine teas — starting at $185
  • Tasting on the Rails: Three-hour train journey; seven-course gourmet meal paired with seven wines — starting at $395
  • Murder Mystery Dinner: Two-hour train journey; multiple course gourmet meal; immersive dinner theatre — starting at $395
  • Gourmet Express Dinner: Two-hour train journey; multiple-course dinner — starting at $165
  • Vista Dome Dinner: Two-hour train journey in the luxurious observation car; multiple-course gourmet dinner — starting at $320

How long is the Wine Train in Napa?

The length of the trip on board the Wine train ranges between two and three hours, depending on the experience/tour you book (see the list of experience/tour options above). The Legacy Experience is the only full-day option with three hours on board the train and three hours of wine tasting outside the train.

Can you bring your own wine on the Napa Wine Train?

You are allowed to bring your own wine on board the Wine Train, but you will be charged a corkage fee that varies according to the size of the bottle. If you buy a bottle during the train journey (the train has a wine shop), the corkage fee on the bottle you brought with you will be waived.

What is the best time of year to take the Napa Valley Wine Train?

Napa Valley Wine Train

Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

Napa Valley is beautiful throughout the year and there’s really no bad time to enjoy it on the Wine Train. That said, most visitors tend to prefer riding the Wine Train during the spring or fall season, when the weather is mild and the vineyards are at their most picturesque.

On top of the various tours/experiences that the Wine Train offers all year-round, there are special events and rides throughout the year for the grape harvest in the fall, for Halloween, Thanksgiving, the holidays, and more. Keep an eye on the website if you’re keen to take part.

Napa Valley Wine Train tickets

To book your ticket to ride the Wine Train, browse the list of experiences listed above, select the one that suits you best, visit the official website, and book your ticket for your preferred date. The price of the experiences offered varies according to demand so booking well in advance is your best bet to score a good deal and guarantee a spot.

How to get to the Napa Valley Wine Train from San Francisco?

By car, San Francisco is around one-hour away from the departure station of the Napa Valley Wine Train, making for an easy day trip. Note that traffic at rush hour may lengthen the journey.

There are public transportation options to get from San Francisco to the departure station of the Wine Train, but know that they involve several connection and take between two and 2.5 hours one way.

Is one day in Napa enough?

The Napa Valley is a beautiful location and it’s hard to fully enjoy it in just one day, especially if you want to visit the classic wineries and learn more about the past and the future of this corner of California. That said, if you lack the time, riding the Napa Valley Wine train is a short but beautiful and tasty introduction to the area that won’t take too much of your time. Taking part in the six-hour Legacy Experience of the Napa Valley Wine Train is a great way to do just that.

Can I wear jeans to a wine tasting?

In general, wearing jeans during a wine tasting is perfectly acceptable, but in the Napa Valley, you should dress a little more formal and leave the jeans at home. On the Napa Valley Wine Train, passengers are encouraged to dress up, but there is no dress code per se.

Hotels near Napa Valley Wine Train

If you’re looking to book an Airbnb in the Napa Valley for a large party, check out Matador’s selection of the eight most luxurious ones.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

Archer Hotel Napa

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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Only a 10-minute walk from the departure station of the Napa Valley Wine Train, the Archer Hotel Napa is a luxury boutique property in the heart of Downtown Napa. The hotel offers a variety of elegant rooms and balcony-clad suites, all fitted with free WiFi, high-quality furniture, air conditioning, and premium bedding, to suit every need. There is a coffee bar, a rooftop wine bar, a whiskey bar, and a restaurant on site, as well as a fitness studio and a rooftop spa that offers a variety of treatments.

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Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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The Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley is two minutes by car from the departure train station of the famous Napa Valley Wine train. This luxury property is located on seven acres of stunning landscaped grounds making for a relaxing stay. There is a seasonal outdoor and an indoor pool, a terrace, as well as an on-site bar and restaurant. Guests can enjoy a free made-to-order breakfast and an evening reception nightly.

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White House — Napa Valley Inn

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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The White House Inn is an intimate 17-room property located a five-minute drive/20-minute walk from the departure train station of the Napa Valley Wine Train. The property is luxurious and elegant inside and out, with its white columns and classic and colorful interior decor. The inn has a beautiful and expansive outdoor space, complimentary WiFi, an outdoor pool, a hot tub, guest lounge, free breakfast, and offers spa services such as facials and massages.

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