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20th Anniversary Celebration

Since 1989

20 years and 2 million guests

The Napa Valley Wine Train is proud and humbled to be celebrating its 20th anniversary.

A Day To Remember

The first train rolled out of the McKinstry Street station in Napa, CA on September 16, 1989; and we have been riding the rails ever since. We have served millions of guests on the train, and yet every day is a new adventure. This is a complex business in a very special place, and we take our role very seriously. We have to. The next 20 years is beckoning.

Our first train didn't exactly go as planned, as our CFO Anthony Giaccio remembers:

The date was September 16th, the year, 1989. The event, Lunch Train. So what? Big Deal? We do that all the time? Sure, but that day was the first lunch train ever!!! And what a day it was. It was a day that many locals thought would never occur. A day that many of us employees thought would never occur either. But after all of the red tape had been dealt with, we were scheduled for Lunch on September 16th, 1989.

The weather was dark and stormy, but that didn’t keep those passengers from showing up to take part in history. The passengers made it to the station to receive their boarding tickets, but upon arrival they took a moment to peer through the glass doors to see if we were even open. Why would they do this? Because we lost electricity from the storm during the boarding procedure. Of course we had plenty of flashlights and candles, right? Think again. We were scrambling to try to read the manifest and match tickets.

Finally the train pulled up to the station. The train was much shorter then, consisting of two engines, two lounge cars, the kitchen and one dining car (Gourmet). The passengers were boarded and they began to enjoy the first meal served. Along the right of way they gazed out the window to see all kinds of Napkins (locals) standing in the rain waving their signs in support of the train. What a great day. Then, as the train approached St. Helena the skies seemed to darken as well as the crowds attitude. The passengers caught sight of the opposition. There they were clutching their “no wine train signs” shouting negatives and shaking their fists. What did the passengers do? They gathered around the windows, waived back, and took pictures. Towards the end of the trip it was time to ring up the meal tickets and you’ll never guess what didn’t work.... the registers. Thanks to a small calculator, the stewards managed to close out their tickets. As the last passenger left the station, the staff was just sitting back to relax and feel proud in their accomplishment when they remembered, "THERE’S A DINNER TRAIN! "

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