• An "Innsider's" View of Napa Valley


The amazing Napa Valley Wine Train

You can’t come to downtown Napa without seeing or hearing the Napa Valley Wine Train. This marvelous train is an amazing collection of vintage rolling stock, an outstanding restaurant, a great wine shop and wine bar, and the quintessential Napa experience.

The Train:

The Napa Valley Wine Train has one of the best collection of restored rail cars in the United States. Normally you would see this quality of authentic rolling stock in museums and not in (almost) daily use. Most are Pullman rail cars from 1915-1917 and feature some of the first electric lighting used in rail travel. At the time of their build, they were the height of safety advancements. Their all steel bodies, at 80 tons a piece, were a vast improvement over the wooden cars that would telescope during collisions and frequently catch on fire from the old oil lamps. They were known as the “heavy-weights.”

These cars have been lovely restored and feature mahogany paneling, plush upholstery, and other niceties of early 1900 train travel.

The experience:

More than just your historic dinner train, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers a number of experiences to fit the tastesBreakfast on a Wine Train tour and desires of today’s traveler.

Typically with 9 to 10 cars on the main consist, the Wine Train makes up to two trips a day to St. Helena and back, for lunch and (date-depending) dinner. The trip is three hours and includes a gourmet meal that will surprise even the most discerning foodie. You can choose the traditional rail experience of repose in lounge car for half the journey and dinner in the dining car for the other half. Or book the Vista Dome where you don’t change seats during the journey, but can roam the rest of the train at will (if you can pull yourself away from your table).

If you can’t wait to get out enjoy some wineries, the Wine Train has several types of winery tours that you might enjoy. Trips include stops at one winery and lunch or dinner on the train; or a tour of several wineries and a meet up with train; or even just taking an all-day excursion with stops at four wineries via the Quattro Vino.

The Wine Train is adding new tours and updating experiences all the time. This makes them a perfect stop for the first time Napa visitor; or a great way to continue to explore Napa for the return guest.

Either way, you will be wow’d by the amazing history surrounding you, the incredible scenery of the Valley floor, and world-class food and wine served as part of the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Book your Wine Train package today.

Melodie Hilton

View posts by Melodie Hilton
Director of Marketing and PR for the Napa River Inn, and long-time Napa resident. Hilton started her career as a journalist, working many years covering food, travel, and news.
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