Although we cannot ship your wine for you, we can take you to a shipping store at the end of the day. We can also assist you in getting a wine shipping box. Most hotels in San Francisco and especially in Wine Country can ship wine as well.
Ten Reasons to take this Private Napa Tour
- See the best of wine country. Visit small family-owned wineries and/or iconic wineries with beautiful landscaped grounds. Many have vineyards, caves and private redwood groves.
- Travel in luxury SUVs with your intimate groups of 6 people or less. All guides are Sommeliers and happy to provide education and the lay of the land.
- Go where the buses, and even the vans, can’t – many of the best wineries don’t show up on maps or on travel sites. Many don’t even have signs. Experience scenic backroads perfect for photos.
- Taste exceptional small-lot handcrafted wines – absolutely the finest wines in America.
- Learn directly from the winery owners and vintners.
- See or hear first-hand everything that goes into the making of a bottle of wine.
- Customize your tour according to wine sub-region, Rutherford, Stags Leap, Howell Mountain, etc.) or grape type (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.)
- Request specific wineries – go wherever you want!
- Option to have wine shipped at the end of the day. Most States are $60 to $80 a case. In the three hot summer months, wine needs to be shipped via air so the wine doesn’t cook – this adds to the cost. Sorry, but we are unable to provide international shipping at this time.
- We know you work hard – you deserve it. Our groups consistently have the most fun of any tour company.
We know you work hard – you deserve this. Our groups report consistently that we have the most enjoyable tours of any other tour company, and we welcome you to visit our TripAdvisor page
The Napa Valley Wine Region
Napa Valley is a wine region, but is further broken up into 16 sub-regions, called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and we can visit any of them on the tour. They all look different and grow different grapes, which makes for a fun day. You may have heard of some of the more famous areas.
Rutherford is located in the center of the Valley and noted for its Cabernet Sauvignon. It is said to contain Rutherford Dust, giving Cabernets a dusty finish. It also produces excellent Sauvignon Blanc.
Stags Leap is located on rocky cliffs in the east part of the valley, and is another Cabernet Sauvignon area. Vines here take advantage of the late afternoon sun to produce round plush wines.
Oakville is the third major area for Cabernet Sauvignon and many of the most recognized wineries are located here. Cabernet from Oakville is fruitier than anywhere else in the valley.
Calistoga is located in the northern end of the Valley and also has the hottest climate. The high cliffs of the Palisades and Mount St. Helena really make you feel that you are deep in a valley. The area is most known for producing Zinfandel and Petite Syrah.
Spring Mountain is located in the Mayacamas Mountain range, separating Napa from Sonoma Valley. Soils are more clay with nice morning sun. The area is most famous for Merlot, but produces many other varietals. Thick pine tree forests cover most of the area, but there are several beautiful views into the valley as well.
Red Wines of Napa
80% of the wine produced in Napa is red and almost all is dry. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted, followed by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.
White Wines of Napa
Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the most seen white wines. Napa also has several old vineyards planted to less known varietals, such as Charbono, Sangiovese, Colombard or Chenin Blanc. Many of the vineyards are co-planted with up to 10 varietals growing next to one another.
Most wineries in Napa are only open by appointment, and more are becoming that way, especially after COVID. They offer seated guided tastings of their wines. This is great because you really get a chance to enjoy the wine without being interrupted, and gives the opportunity to ask all the questions you would like.
Private tours also afford extra education; you can ask to see the vines or the barrel room. These exclusive tastings are more costly but the pace is relaxed. Expect to pay up to $50 per person in tasting fees, although many will refund if some wine is purchased. You are also more than welcome to share tastings as a couple.
If a winery offers more than one tasting option, two different tastings can be done by a couple and you get to try twice the wines!
The Restaurants of Napa Valley (Here you go, foodies!)
Then there are the restaurants! People who like good wine also like good food, and there is no shortage of Michelin Star and other highly rated places to eat. Many restaurants have their own vegetable gardens right outside the window and you can see the chef picking things you are about to taste. We will take care of reservations, although we are happy to take restaurant requests.
The Wine. You’ve Tasted, You’ve Purchased. Now What?
Now what to do with all this wine that I bought? There are many options available:
If you were to buy six or more bottles per winery, have them ship it.
Sometimes you can get free shipping or at least reduced pricing. Many people pick up a bottle or three at each winery and build a case in the car. At the end of the tour, we can stop at a shipper and you have it shipped home. Another option is to purchase a shipping box to take with you on your trip back. As it is over 3oz. of liquid, wine must be checked luggage which may or may not be included in your luggage.
If you have only have one or two bottles, they can be packed in your suitcase.
Another way to enjoy your wine is to bring it along with you to a restaurant, a great perk about dining in California. Most will charge a corkage fee, usually between $10 and $30 to have them open it for you. Typically, the more expensive the restaurant, the more expensive their fee will be.
If you book this tour at the beginning of your trip, you will have wine to drink for the rest of your vacation!
As far as weather is concerned, all four seasons are beautiful. Winter rains turn the Valley green between November and May, while the summer is the dry season and the grass is a golden color. Going wine tasting is a great activity on a rainy day, so don’t let this deter you. It is much better than trying to walk around town in the rain! It very rarely snows in Napa, and if it does, it usually melts by 10am.
Winter temperatures average 60 degrees Fahrenheit for the high, perfect for drinking red wines. Summer temperatures are typically in the high 80’s. Often the warmest time of the year is September and October, ensuring that the grapes will come in ripe. Expect temperatures up to 100 degrees if there is a heat wave, although there is low humidity. Daytime summer temperatures in Napa are usually 30 degrees warmer than San Francisco, so remember to dress in layers.
Our personal record is 106 degrees in Calistoga to 52 degrees on the Golden Gate Bridge an hour and a half later!
Thirsty, You Say?
No worries! In the back of all of our SUVs are large coolers. These are stocked with chilled water for you to drink. Hydration is key while drinking alcohol, and you should drink at least as much water as wine. If it is a hot day, you should drink even more water. Just reach back and grab a bottle of water, you don’t even need to ask. The restaurant in the middle of the day is often a good break to hydrate. Or have another glass of wine! These coolers will also keep your wine and food purchases refrigerated on the tour.
Many people snooze or “rest their eyes” on the way home after a day of tasting. We call this the Napa Nap, or the Sonoma Coma!