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Take a Trolley Ride around Napa Valley

Updated on October 3, 2014
Franciscan Estate Winemaker giving a tour of the vineyards to the trolley guests.
Franciscan Estate Winemaker giving a tour of the vineyards to the trolley guests.
Cornerstone Cellars wines on display.
Cornerstone Cellars wines on display.
Magnum bottles from Raymond Vineyards adorning the cellar.
Magnum bottles from Raymond Vineyards adorning the cellar.
The barrel room at Raymond Vineyards.
The barrel room at Raymond Vineyards.
French oak barrels at Bell Wine Cellars.
French oak barrels at Bell Wine Cellars.

Spring is here and what better way to indulge in a leisurely wine tasting through Napa Valley, than on a replica of a classic San Francisco Cable car? The Napa Valley Wine Trolley is an easy and worthwhile option of getting up-close with nature and enjoying the views of world class vineyards from a fun and unique perspective.

This attractive wine trolley appears vintage on the outside, but is a smooth and comfortable ride to the different vineyards. Guests are greeted by a friendly driver who informs them about the history of the famous vineyards passing by, with a share of jokes here and there to lighten up the mood.

At a full day tour, the Napa Valley Wine Trolley stops at four acclaimed wineries producing world-class wines for generations, with an assigned guide, and a special tasting set-up for trolley guests. Also, there is catered lunch from Michael Chiarello’s Napa Style eatery which is a generous spread of appetizing salads, sandwiches and freshly baked cookies.

First stop in the day’s visit is at the Franciscan Estate which was established in 1973 and offers three different varietals for tasting- 2012 Chardonnay, Fountain Court 2012 white wine - a unique blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat, and last but not the least, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. The guests are introduced to the chief winemaker, who describes the select set of wines poured, amid the beautifully arranged French oak barrels.

This is followed by a round of tasting at Raymond Vineyards, which is a five generations family winemaking company in Napa Valley. A picturesque winery, the Raymond Vineyards boasts of a two-acre ‘Theater of Nature’, where it showcases its biodynamic farming which plays a crucial role in the crafting of its wine. For those willing to take a tour of the Theater of Nature, a designated guide escorts them to the entire area while they are sipping on their wine and later guides them through the interesting wine tasting set up inside the ‘Crystal Cellar’. As guests enter, they pass by the ‘Blending Room,’ which allows them to be the ‘winemaker of the day’ while blending their own red wine from Napa’s appellations. The Cellar features a contemporary design with a colorful display of lights, bottles of wines adorning the walls of the cellar, and an exquisite collection of quaint decanters gorgeously sitting on the wine racks, along with magnum bottles. The tastings in this session include a set of five wines- 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Small Lot White Meritage which is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion, 2012 Frenchie Ben Franklin Red Wine which is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah and Petite Verdot. This is followed by the 2011 Napa Valley Reserve Merlot, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, and the 2011 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Petite Syrah and Merlot

As for those who are willing to skip this part entirely, there is a lot to do as well. A wonderful set up of differently colored wooden frames, and lovely white sofas, welcomes them to an exciting time of pictures with friends and family, and couple images outside. Wine lovers can also splurge on some wine accessories or decanters, wine bottles, souvenirs etc on display in the Cellar.

After an exciting time at Raymond Vineyards comes to an end, the Trolley is headed to Cornerstone Cellars post lunch. Guests are invited to the tastings of five different wines which include a 2012 Pinot Gris, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Syrah, 2011 Cabernet Franc, and a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Finally, as they say “Save the best for the last”, the last destination on the list of wineries is Bell Wine Cellars, which is a boutique winery established in 1991. A large wine cellar graced completely with French oak barrels and a wine bar set up with warm yellow lighting, greets guests to a round of a very fulfilling wine tasting experience. The set of four wines included in the Spring Trolley Tasting menu are a 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 White Blend, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Syrah.

There are so many options to do a wine tour to Napa Valley, but taking a tour like the Napa Valley Wine Trolley truly provides a breathtaking experience; one that, lets you get an aroma and taste of the vineyards at its best.

Instructions

  1. Make sure to have a heavy breakfast before you start the wine tasting.
  2. Use the tasting buckets kept nearby to spit the wines that you don't always enjoy.
  3. Wear shoes that are comfortable, since a wine tour does involve some walking.
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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      I was in Yountville over Christmas and had a great time. I'm no a wine person but my in laws and they did the trolley. We ate at Bottega, which was spectacular. Voted up and shared.

    • Caroline Andrade profile image
      Author

      Caroline andrade 2 years ago from San Jose, California

      The trolley ride is amazing. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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