Best Napa Valley Experience: Wine Train
What better way to experience Napa Valley than to explore through in a twentieth century steel train. The Wine Train was such a wonderful experience for our first visit in one of the world famous wine country.
The Wine Train is a dining experience that has numerous tours to offer with multiple course gourmet lunch or dinner on a journey through the Napa Valley. It’s definitely a great chance to impress a date, spend anniversaries and special occasions. Its design with plush interiors dating back in luxurious style with velveteen seatings and mahogany paneling throughout like you’ve just time travelled leisurely in the early twentieth century.
I decided to surprise my mum with a nice lunch in Napa and the wine train was the best suit. I quickly made lunch reservation on the Gourmet Express (late lunch). Though initially, I had my eyes on the famous Vista Dome but unfortunately they were sold out due to its high popularity with the dome window double deck car. It had spectacular viewing out the train and seating in velveteen red booths. You definitely need to book in advance if you want to make reservations for the Vista Dome — lesson learned!
Though all lunch reservations are boarded at he same time, you get to choose at the time of your booking whether to have the early lunch or the late lunch. For an early lunch, you are seated straight to the dining car for the first and main course then moving on to the dessert course at the lounge for the second half of the trip once the train reaches St. Helena. Late lunch reservations are just reverse — you get seated at the lounge for the first half with the first course.
Although, the food was nothing top notch gourmet, we were still happy with the entire experience and it was definitely one of a kind. We started off with their soup of the day, salmon balsamic with basmati for the main and chocolate pumpkin mouse for desert and all drinks were a charge that’s excluded in your package. There was no welcome champagne though as advertised on the website. All was nothing too drool worthy. Guests are assigned for their seating so don’t worry when you have a preference of which side of the train to sit by because they will seat you the opposite for the second half of the trip so everyone can enjoy both side of the views. There were also photographers on board. At the mid half of the trip, you get a chance to explore the train whilst it's at a stop which I definitely recommend to do.
It’s said that the winter months are the best times to visit the Valley as it doesn’t get very busy and you still get to really experience the wineries without the crowds everywhere in the scorching heat. You also get to see beautiful fall coloured leaf vines. The entire experience on the train was a well worthy one. The ambience and the journey throughout made it a wonderful adventure. Our entire journey was 3 hours long roundtrip which gives you enough time to eat, drink, explore the train and relax looking out to the views of the Napa Valleys. I would definitely go back and maybe this time, book a Vista Dome lunch.