How To Have The Best Napa Wine Tour
Napa Wine Tours
Are you planning a trip to the Napa Valley? If so, a wine tour may be the best way to see and do everything you want to. Wine tours allow you the freedom of choosing your own itinerary or following a preset one. Food, wine and sightseeing are all included in the best wine tours. The best part of all is that someone else does the driving, so you can enjoy yourself!
I have to say that there are many great Napa wine tours available that are pre-planned. These are great for the first time visitor to the valley. If this isn't your first trip to Wine Country you probably don't want to see the same touristy stuff that everyone else is seeing. Planning your own trip can also help you dodge the crowds and see the great stuff that the locals enjoy.
Before embarking on your first wine tour, it's probably best to have an understanding of the different towns in Napa Valley. Let's take a look at them, starting at the Southern end.
For the average traveler wanting to see "Wine Country," American Canyon doesn't have a lot to offer except a cheap hotel. There are a couple of vineyards and tasting rooms here, and they are good to get away from the crowd.
Napa is the largest city in "Wine Country" and has the largest selection of things to do. If you have kids with you, the friendliest kid restaurants are to be found here. As well as chain restaurants if you can't go without your Taco Bell fix. There are many tasting rooms to be found downtown and vineyards the entire way up Silverado Trail on the way to Yountville.
Yountville probably gets most of its fame from the fact it is home to French Laundry, which is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world. Unless you booked your reservation two or three months ago, you'll have to find another place for dinner. Aside from that, Yountville is a gorgeous, quaint town that has great restaurants and shopping.
Rutherford is the small (really small) town between Yountville and St. Helena. There are a couple of great restaurants here (Rutherford Grille) and wineries.
St. Helena is where most of the action is for wine tours. There are wineries all along the outskirts of town and tasting rooms and great shopping downtown.
The town farthest north in the Napa Valley is Calistoga. Here there are many great restaurants and shops along the downtown row.
Highway 29 and The Silverado Trail
Highway 29 and "The Trail" (as locals call it) are the roads that the majority of wineries are on. The run parallel from Napa to Calistoga and are the routes that wine tours will take to get from one town to the next.
Recommended: Wine Country Map
Use this map to help plan your trip with the tour company.
Plan Your Trip
Take time to decide what you want to see and do while you're in Napa Valley. Plan your budget accordingly. Most wine tour companies allow you to customize your trip to see exactly what you want.
The Napa Valley Vintners is a great place to start your research. Not every winery is included here, but the list is fairly comprehensive.
Take a look at the wine that you currently drink. There is probably a few that you like that are made here in "Wine Country." You'll have an even better time if you already enjoy the wine. Plus, the knowledge that you'll get while in the tasting rooms will help you enjoy it even more!
Open To The Public Vs. Guided Tours
The jury is still out about which type of tour is better. The folks who want to learn as much as they can about a certain wine will prefer the guided tours. If you aren't a huge wine fan, a self guided tour might be better. You can wander the grounds and soak it all in at your own pace.
Your tour company will make reservations for you if guided tours are what you choose.
Soak Up The Wine
Some time during all this you have to eat, right?
There are generally three options when it comes to eating during a tour; picnic lunch, reservations at a restaurant; or stop somewhere along the way.
The picnic lunch in a vineyard is a very scenic way to eat. The tour company will usually provide a menu ahead of time for you to choose what you want to eat. Generally this is the most affordable choice.
Reservations at a restaurant are perfect for private groups. Most restaurants have a hard time handling tour bus crowds without advanced notice. Your tour company should make the reservations for you.
Stopping somewhere along the way is the most fun and spontaneous way to go. The hardest part is getting everyone to agree on where to stop!
- Dive Bars in Napa, CA
One would think that since Napa, CA is at the heart of Wine Country finding a dive bar would be an easy task. Unfortunately, it's not. At one point in Napa's history there were many bars and each part...
- The Best Casual Restaurants in Napa
Food is a pillar of the Napa Valley, with thousands of great restaurants in Napa how do you choose where to eat? The choices are incredible. You can fight for a reservation at French Laundry, stop at any...
- What To Do In Downtown Napa
Downtown Napa is commonly a place for people to find a cheap hotel or a bite to eat on their way up valley to St. Helena and Calistoga. Napa has been going through a lot of change in recent days to draw...
Comments 3 comments
More by this Author
Title loans are risky business, and are normally a bad choice. However, people still use them, so it's important to discuss how they should be used, and what to watch out for when applying for them. In case you don't...
Finding the best acne body wash is easy and will help you clear your skin. Body acne, bacne, or whatever you want to call it is embarrassing. Find the best body wash for you right here!
Learning how to get rid of slugs and get rid of earwigs at the same time is easy. Earwigs and slugs are two of the most common garden pests. They can go unnoticeable in small amounts, but when there are a lot...