When you ride the Wine Train for dinner, part of your trip will be dark. Depending on the time of year however, a significant portion of your trip may take place during “Magic Hour,” the hour just before sunset. At this time of day the entire valley glows. Mountains glow yellow, clouds glow pink, and young grape leaves glow a golden green color. It is during this time that the Napa Valley is at its most beautiful, and most romantic.
And while the beauty of the scenery gradually fades after sunset, darkness has a way of making the train even more romantic and intimate.
While it will be dark for the entire journey in December, the Wine Train is a fun way to see some of the Valley’s holiday illumination.
If you plan to ride the Wine Train to see and experience as much of the Napa Valley as possible, come for lunch, and consider reserving our Ambassador Winery Tour. If you are hoping for a more private experience, or want to dress up, you might have a better time riding the Wine Train for dinner.
Per state law animals are not allowed on board the Napa Valley Wine Train, with the exception of service animals. If you have a service animal, please see the next question.
The Napa Valley Wine Train occasionally accommodates service animals on the Train. We would appreciate it if you could have the service animal’s certificate of service available for our conductor’s inspection prior to boarding.
While we do not discourage guests with service animals from coming on the train, guests must be aware that there are several factors which guests must consider before deciding to ride with their service animal.
The Napa Valley Wine Train urges all owners of service animals to carefully consider the points listed above before deciding to bring your service animal aboard the Wine Train.
Yes, the Napa Valley Wine Train is Wheelchair Accessible, but Napa Valley Wine Train is an antique train, and as such there are some unique challenges that persons with mobility restrictions should be aware of.
Despite the unique challenges presented by our historic train, many guests with mobility restrictions ride the Napa Valley Wine Train. If you have specific needs or concerns, please contact us by phone at +1-800-427-4124
At the Napa Valley Wine Train, we pride ourselves on the quality of our food. Our executive chef, Kelly Mcdonald, buys only fresh, local produce, line caught fish, and humanely raised meats. All of our entrees are prepared on board, and guests are more than welcome to observe our kitchen car in action.
Wine lovers may wish to visit our wine tasting car, have our wine expert pour a sample of Napa’s more famous wines, or let them help you discover new favorites. $10 buys four selections, but no purchase is necessary for the advice and stories that our wine expert can provide.
In the spirit of traditional rail seating, you may share a table with another party on our Winery Tours, special events, and select packages during our lunch trains. Parties of four will always be seated at the same table. A limited number of private upgrades are available in the Gourmet Express Package, and all tables are private in the Vista Dome.
To preserve the romance of the Napa Valley night, all parties enjoy private tables on our dinner trains.
Yes, we do recognize that many people have a special wines that they want to have for their ‘special occasion’ and the Napa Valley Wine Train charges a Corkage fee of $15.00 per 750ml bottle and $30 for a Magnum sized bottle. If you bring one bottle of wine on board and buy a bottle on board, we’ll waive the corkage for that bottle.
At the Wine Train, we have a wine shop with almost 500 kinds of wine available for purchase and we have an extensive onboard wine list with approximately 100 kinds of wine.
The Napa Valley Wine Train began gourmet-dining service September 16, 1989. The railroad itself, however, was built and operated by Samuel Brannan in 1864 as a tourist railroad to take visiting San Franciscans as they arrived by ferry in south Napa to his resort town ‘Calistoga’.
2014 marked the 25th Anniversary for the Wine Train and the 150th Anniversary for the rail corridor.
The Silverado, Gourmet and Vista Dome cars each have their own kitchen and specific menu. Award-winning Executive Chef, Kelly Macdonald, and his culinary staff do not cook each meal until it is ordered. Some of the side dishes and desserts are prepared in the Napa Valley Wine Train’s Culinary Arts Center and ‘finish’ cooked or baked on board during the three hour excursions. Even the sorbets are made by us!
Everyday, we serve a variety of guests with different dietary restrictions and food allergies. Like any good restaurant, all of our menu choices are freshly prepared to order. In our case, they are all prepared on board the Train. With advance notice, we will be better equipped to handle special menu requests. When making your reservation, please alert your booking agent of your needs. The agent will submit your information to our kitchen staff and to our on board manager. It is also necessary to remind your server which member of your party has the allergy. Rest assured, we handle hundreds of allergies weekly and with ease. We look forward to serving you and your family soon.
Children’s rates are only available for select packages. Please call +1-800-427-4124 if your party includes children age 12 or under in order to secure the children’s rate.
Children are always welcome and some programs have special rates. Caution is recommended to parents of toddlers who might have a difficult time ‘relaxing’ for three hours. Due to the general movement of the train or the rare potential for a sudden stop, children cannot walk about the cars unattended. Diaper changing is not permitted in the railcars due to food service and the bathrooms are somewhat small. McKinstry Street Station has a ‘diaper changing station’ in the Restroom. Due to safety issues, strollers and carriers are not permitted on board, booster seats are available. Please check with your Napa Valley Wine Train Reservation Agent for special handling for infants.
We do not offer a children’s menu on board the train, however, we can adapt many of our menu items to suit your child’s tastes.
The Napa Valley Wine Train is family owned and operated.
Attire is generally casual, depending on time of year or which special event passengers are participating. Dinner can be more dressy with some guests preferring ‘cocktail party’ attire. Jackets are suggested on cool nights, but not required. It is always a good idea to bring an extra layer to ensure that you are warm enough on board.
Due to state regulations, smoking is not permitted in the Station, on board the Train or on the outside observation deck of the train.
The Napa Valley Wine Train consists of ten railcars and two engines on point:
Lounge Cars (3)
Lounge Car with Wine Tasting Bar (1)
Gourmet Express Dining Cars (2)
Silverado Car Al-Fresco Style Dining(1)
Vista Dome Dining Car (1)
Power Car (1)
Chef de Cuisine Kitchen Car with Glass Observation Corridor (1)
Lunch and Dinner trains typically take three hours. The Valley First Winery Tour and the Grgich Hills Winery Tour return with the Lunch Train at 2:30. The Ambassador Winery Tour and the Castle Winery Tour generally return to the station between 4:00pm and 4:15pm.
We can process AMEX, MasterCard, Visa, Diner’s Club, Carte Blanche, Discover, Novus, and JCB over the phone. Our online reservatiosn system is capable of processing either Visa or Master Card. Gift Certificate numbers must be provided at point of reservation as payment method and must be presented upon check-in to secure boarding passes.
All but one of the Napa Valley Wine Train’s rail cars is equipped with a restroom.
No, you do not have to drink wine on board the Napa Valley Wine Train. For our guests who do not want to drink wine, we also offer juice, soda, non-alcoholic wines, beers, cocktails and brandies.
One taste of welcome wine is included with every Wine Train package for guests who are over the age of 21. Wines are included during the Vintner’s Lunches and the monthly Moonlight Escape Dinners.
Cocktails, beers and wine can be purchased on board throughout your journey. More than 100 wines are on the wine list and in the Wine Tasting Car.
Optional tipping is solely based upon guests’ experience on board. Tipping should be based on the meal price of $55.00 and beverages consumed while on board the train.
Prices posted and charged for all food and beverage items served on the Napa Valley Wine Train include sales tax, which will be paid to the California State Board of Equalization, and a 12% service charge which is delegated towards the funding of higher wages and medical insurance for employees.
Also included with your specific package:
Silverado Car: Train fare, a multiple course gourmet meal, welcome taste of private label Wine Train wine, and on board coffee and tea.
Gourmet Express: Train fare, a multiple course gourmet meal, welcome taste of private label Wine Train wine and on board coffee and tea.
Vista Dome: Train fare, a multiple course gourmet meal, Vista Dome upgrade, (1) glass of sparkling wine, and on board coffee and tea.
Winery Tours: Train fare, a multiple course gourmet meal, welcome taste of private label Wine Train wine, on board coffee and tea, and a tour and tasting at the specified winery or wineries.
Special Events: Train fare, a multiple course gourmet meal, on board coffee and tea, and event programs and features.
Currently passengers can only disembark as a part of one of our winery tours, or special events.
Currently the Napa Valley Wine Train offers four lunch packages which include winery tours and one dinner package. For lunch tours, passengers can choose the Castle Winery Tour, the Grgich Hills Winery Tour, the Ambassador Winery Tour, or the Valley First Winery Tour. For a dinner tour, passengers are offered the Evening Winery Tour featuring Grgich Hills Estate (Saturdays only).
Your journey will begin in the Napa Valley Wine Train station. After checking in at the reception desk, feel free to explore the station. Visit our Wine Store and discuss some of our rare, boutique wines with our knowledgeable wine educator. See the story of our founding in the photographs on the wall or just sit and relax with wine, coffee, or friends. Thirty minutes before boarding the lunch train, our wine specialists will give an introductory lecture on wine tasting and the Napa Valley’s special climate and geography. The arrival of the Napa Valley Wine Train will be announced one half hour before the scheduled departure. Please wait for your seating section to be called. It takes quite a while to board an antique train, so don’t feel the need to rush. We won’t leave without you.