Riding trains is one of the nicest ways to travel the world. It’s environmentally sound, it’s comfortable, it’s mostly cheap, and it’s got a fun and retro feel to it. But you know what can make a train trip even better? Alcohol. While wine trains are the most popular of the alcohol-focused rail journeys, they are far from being the only ones. No matter where you travel, whether in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia, there are rum trains, tequila trains, vodka trains, and whisky trains waiting for you to board, relax, and drink.
- Napa Valley Wine Train
- River Fox Train
- Sonoma Wine Train
- Grapevine Vintage Railroad
- Wine Train in Nashville
- San Diego Winery Train Tour
- Franschhoek Wine Tram
- Tren Sabores del Valle
- Korean Wine Train
- Vodka Train in Texas
- The Rum train in Barbados
- The Tequila Train in Mexico
- The whisky train in Scotland
- How many wine regions are there in the USA?
- What is the best wine region in the USA?
- Which American region produces the most wine?
- Does Amtrak travel to Napa?
WINE TRAINS IN THE US
Napa Valley Wine Train, California
- Route: Between Downtown Napa and St. Helena
- Distance: 36-mile loop
- Duration of the ride: Between two and three hours on board the train, depending on the tour you opt for.
- What makes it a wine train: Wine tasting on board the train, visits of world-famous wineries and wine-tasting on site, ride through California’s most celebrated wine region.
- Price: The price varies depending on the tour chosen. The Legacy Experience starts at $475.
The Napa Valley Wine Train runs throughout the year and has multiple tours on offers. All the tours follow the same route through California’s most celebrated wine region, but some are more wine-focused than others with winery visits, wine tastings, wine country-inspired meals, grape-stomping experiences, and more. The ultimate tour with the Napa Valley Wine Train is the Legacy Experience, an all-day trip that includes three hours on the train with breakfast, lunch, and wine tastings on board, and three hours visiting wineries with wine tastings on site.
River Fox Train, West Sacramento, California
- Route: Departs from the River Fox Train station in West Sacramento and runs through Yolo County’s countryside. The rides ends at the River Fox Train station.
- Distance: 10 miles
- Duration of the ride: Two hours
- What makes it a wine train: Wine tastings on board
- Price: Starting at $49. Add-on drink package range from $28 to $35.
The River Fox Refresher is an adult-only train journey where passengers can ride through Yolo County’s countryside in vintage rail cars while enjoying the libation of their choice: wine, beer, or mimosas. Those who opt for a wine-filled journey will get six tasting tickets, redeemable for two-ounce wine tastings.
Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley, California
- Route: The route changes with the rotation of the wineries visited.
- Distance: The distance changes with the rotation of the wineries visited.
- Duration of the ride: The tour takes around six hours
- What makes it a wine train: It’s not a train, but an open-air trolley. The tour includes visits to three to four Sonoma Valley wineries and tasting rooms.
- Price: $125 (the tasting fees of $25 to $35 per person per stop, and the trolley driver’s gratuity are not included.)
Often misnamed the “Sonoma Wine Train”, the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is a replica of a California street cable car. The trolley can accommodate up to 24 guests for the daily tour that takes around six hours, starting at 10:15 AM from downtown Sonoma. The adult-only tour includes lunch served in courtyards, wine cellars, or with gorgeous vineyard views, as well as visits to three to four wineries where you can take part in wine tastings. (Note that there is also a Napa Valley Wine Trolley.)
Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Texas
- Route: From the Cotton Belt Depot in downtown Grapevine through Tarrant County before going back to Grapevine’s Cotton Belt Depot.
- What makes it a wine train: Local wine served on board, souvenir wine glass offered to each passenger
- Price: Prices for these experiences are not available at the time of writing. Inquire at VisitorInfo@GrapevineTexasUSA.com
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad offers several wine-focused experiences throughout the year, including: the Sweetheart Wine Train (a Valentine’s Day event taking place on Friday, February 9, 2024), the Jazz Wine Train (Fridays, April 12, 19, and 26, 2024), the Summer Wine Train, and the Christmas Wine Train.
For these events, the trains all travel the railroad’s Cotton Belt route, but the offerings are different. Guests on the Sweetheart Wine Train get several four-ounce glasses of Texas wines, a souvenir wine glass, a red rose for the female passengers, and a hot meal for first-class passengers. Guests on the Jazz Wine Train enjoy live jazz performance, Grapevine wine, and savory bites and desserts.
Tennessee Central Railway Museum’s wine trains
- Route: From the Tennessee Central Railway Museum in Nashville to Watertown and back.
- Duration: The tour lasts around 6.5 hours
- What makes it a wine train: Wine tastings on board, complimentary wine glass for each passenger, possibility to purchase wine from the DelMonaco Winery and Vineyards during the trip.
- Price: Between $80 and $175 depending on the tour you opt for and the class of service you choose.
The Tennessee Central Railway Museum organizes adult-only wine-focused train journeys throughout the year, including the Valentine’s Wine Train in February and the DelMonaco Wine Excursion each month. As a passenger you’ll enjoy wine tastings led by the DelMonaco winery staff. If you can’t score a seat on one of the wine trips, check out the museum’s other alcohol-filled journeys, such as the Valenshine Moonshine Express in February, the Mardi Gras Excursion Train in March, or the Bootleggers Express in May.
San Diego Winery Train Tour, California
- Duration: The tour takes around five hours
- What makes it a wine train: Visits to local urban wineries and tasting rooms, wine served on board the train, wine pairings with Italian lunch, 15 tastes of local wines, presentation on the wine making process
- Price: $128 (Gratuities for the tour guide is not included)
The San Diego Winery Train Tour is an adult-only experience that takes place several times daily and lasts five hours. The tour is very scenic and includes visits to local wineries, wine tastings, presentations by experts, guided walks, and a light lunch in an Italian restaurant.
WINE TRAINS AROUND THE WORLD
Franschhoek Wine Tram, South Africa
- Route: The route varies according to the tour and tram line you choose. A map of all the routes is available here.
- Distance: The distance varies according to the tour and route you choose.
- Duration of the ride: The duration of the ride varies according to the tour and route you choose.
- What makes it a wine train: The Franschhoek Wine Tram is all about wine. Its purpose is to help travelers learn more about South African wines by visiting wine estates and tasting venues in the Cape Winelands.
- Price: Ranges from $16.15 (R300) to $161 (R2995), depending on the tour you choose.
South Africa is home to world-famous wineries and you can see many of them by riding the Franschhoek Wine Tram, a unique double-decker tram that takes passengers to some of Franschhoek Valley’s best wine estates and tasting venues. The Franschhoek Wine Tram offers a variety of routes and experiences to explore the Cape Winelands, including hop-on hop-off tours, curated wine tours, and exceptional wine and cuisine tours. Where the tram cannot go, buses will take over.
Tren Sabores del Valle, Chile
- Route: From Alameda Station in Santiago de Chile through the O’Higgins region all the way to San Fernando Station in the city of San Fernando.
- Duration of the ride: The tour lasts around 11 hours
- What makes it a wine train: Tasting of local wines on board the train, lectures on the winemaking process, visits to multiple wineries of the famed Colchagua valley
- Price: Ranges from $104 (65,900 CLP) to $121 (76,900 CLP) depending on the class of service you opt for.
The Tren Sabores del Valle, which translates as the Flavor Valley Train, is a tourist train that takes passengers on a full-day wine-filled journey to discover the wineries and vineyards of the Colchagua valley. While on board the train, you’ll taste the local Rosés, Carménères, and Merlots, and once you arrive at the San Fernando Station, buses will take you to wineries and vineyards where you can take part in more tastings.
Château Mani Wine Train, Korea
- Route: From Seoul Station to Yeongdong Station via Yeongdeungpo, Suwon, Pyeongtaek, and Daejeon
- Duration of the ride: The tour lasts nine hours
- What makes it a wine train: Wine bar on board the train, visit of Yeongdong Winery and the vineyards, lunch with wine served at Yeongdong Winery, wine foot baths available.
- Price: Prices are not available at the time of writing. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Château Mani Wine Train offers everything you’d expect: local wines served on board, a winery visit, a tour of vineyards, as well as some less traditional wine-focused activities like a wine foot bath. Travelers can book a private room on the train or ride in the main cars where there are plush maroon leather seats and tables to enjoy the journey in comfort. Note that the train itself is wine-colored: a lovely shade of dark purple.
VODKA, RUM, TEQUILA, AND WHISKY TRAINS AROUND THE WORLD
Vodka Train, Burnet, Texas
- Route: The Sunset Express route from Cedar Park to Bertram, and back
- Duration of the ride: 2.5 hours
- Distance: 44 miles
- What makes it a vodka train: Three vodka samples, one welcome drink, and three vodka-based cocktails served on board.
- Price: $90
This adult-only train journey is all about enjoying vodka responsibly. Three vodka samples, one welcome drink, and three cocktails will be served on board, but no further alcohol will be allowed. Passengers will get to try spirits from Vintage Distilling, Kruto Vodka, and Bloody Buddy during a fun-filled evening. The Vodka train will run on January 20, 2024.
In 2023, the Austin Steam Train Association also offered wine-focused train journeys, but there are no ride currently scheduled for 2024. Keep an eye on their calendar in case the Wedding Oak Wine Train comes back in the new year.
St. Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway, AKA The Rum Train, Barbados
- Route: A ride around the plantation, via the historic St Nicholas Abbey Great House, the property’s lake and its mahogany woodlands.
- Duration of the ride: One hour
- What makes it a rum train: See how sugar cane, the main ingredient for the making of rum, is grown by visiting the plantation, and learn about the history of rum in Barbados.
- Price: $33 (BBD 66) for the train ride. $60 (BBD 120) for a ticket combining the train ride to a tour of the Great House and the Heritage & Rum Tour of the Abbey .
The steam train on the St. Nicholas Abbey Great House Plantation and Distillery rides through the plantation’s grounds where the sugar cane is grown. But if you want to add more rum to your day, make sure to also book a guided tour of the Great House, as well as the bottling plant and the distillery. During the tour, you’ll taste St. Nicholas Abbey single cask rums and receive a miniature of rum.
The Jose Cuervo Express, AKA the Tequila Train, Mexico
- Route: Between the city of Guadalajara and the city of Tlaquepaque, via the town of Tequila
- Duration of the ride: The tour takes 11 hours
- What makes it a tequila train: Tequila tastings and toasts, visit to the agave fields, demonstration of agave harvesting, cocktails made with Jose Cuervo tequila served on board the train, tour of Jose Cuervo’s La Rojeña distillery
- Price: Starts at $165 (MXN 2,850)
The Jose Cuervo Express, also known as the Tequila Train, runs either from Guadalajara to Tlaquepaque, or from Tlaquepaque to Guadalajara, every Saturday. No matter which direction your train is going, it’ll stop in the town of Tequila and the trip will include a visit of the agave fields, as well as a tour of La Rojeña distillery. This train ride is a full-day experience that will not only let you enjoy Jose Cuervo tequilas, but also allow you to learn more about how the spirit is made thanks to an agave harvest demonstration. There are four classes of service available to passengers on this journey: the Express Ticket (the cheapest), the Premium Plus Ticket, the Diamond Ticket, and the Elite Wagon (the most expensive).
The whisky train, AKA The Royal Scotsman’s Scotch Malt Whisky Tour, Scotland
- Route: From Edinburgh to Kyle of Lochaslsh via Dundee, Keith, Inverness, and more as indicated on the map of the route.
- Duration of the ride: Four days
- What makes it a whisky train: Tour of the Benromach distillery, a visit to Rothiemurchus Estate, whisky tastings.
- Price: Starting at $9,400 (£7,500)
If it’s a luxury, multi-day, alcohol-focused train journey you’re looking for, the Royal Scotsman’s Scotch Malt Whisky Tour is the trip for you. This four-day ride organized by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society takes whisky lovers from Edinburgh through the Scottish Highlands and back. There is fine dining on board, great views from the windows, luxury accommodations, expert-led whisky tastings, traditional entertainment, and tours of whisky distilleries and estates.
How many wine regions are there in the USA?
According to the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, there are 269 established American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the United States, including 149 in California.
What is the best wine region in the USA?
There are many incredible wine regions in the US, and picking one to visit is best done by picking your favorite type of grape or wine style. California’s central coast and Oregon’s Willamette Valley are particularly special for Pinot noir, for example, while the Finger Lakes region of New York makes world-class riesling. There are few wine regions in the country — or, in fact, the world —- that are as famous as Napa and neighboring Sonoma.
Which American region produces the most wine?
California is the state that produces the most wine in the US, with 149 established American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). California’s Central Coast AVA is especially prolific.
Does Amtrak travel to Napa?
While there aren’t any Amtrak trains that go all the way to Napa, you can take Amtrak’s San Joaquins train to the Martinez Station, and then ride the Amtrak Thruway Bus Route seven to the Soscol Gateway Transit Center in downtown Napa.