Last Updated: 2/2/2020 | February 2nd, 2020
Napa Valley is easily one of the most well-known wine-producing regions in the world, and last year nearly four million people headed there — it is big company for northern California!
Of course, if you plan on spending some time in Napa Valley and nearby Sonoma, you’ll many likely want to explore some of the 600 wineries in the area. A great way to do this — both to get some local, insider knowledge and so that there’s no need to drink and drive — is to take a Napa red wine tour.
There are nearly as numerous red wine trip options as there are vineyards. I’ve noted some of my favorites here, and you can decide which fits your style and, much more importantly, your budget. just remember that you’ll typically also have to pay tasting fees on top of the trip costs — these vary between $20 and $40 — though numerous will waive that fee if you purchase some wine. also don’t forget, especially if you’re coming from outside the United States, that you’ll need to be 21 or over to join these tours, though some allow children to label along.
1. Napa Valley red wine Trolley
If you’re after something a bit different, then the Napa Valley red wine Trolley is a good way to go. instead of a regular trip bus, you’ll ride on a replica of a cable television car. It’s an open-air car, of course, so make sure you pick the best weather to try this.
Tours leave from the Oxbow Market in Napa; a $99 trip includes four wineries and a casual picnic-style lunch, plus limitless bottled water and soft drinks between tastings. You can upgrade to the full-day Castle trip ($139), which includes a two-hour stop and tasting at Castello di Amorosa.
2. Napa Valley Bike trips
Of course, being a valley full of vineyards, Napa is a really beautiful place, so exploring it by bicycle is a great option. Napa Valley Bike trips provides either guided or self-guided rides, leaving from their store in Yountville. The popular half-day guided trip is $124 per person, with two winery visits and a great guide who’ll give you the full story of the area.
The useful part about the self-guided trips is that besides being able to visit the wineries you choose at your own pace, you still get a box lunch, and any red wine you purchase will be picked up for you (riding with red wine in your backpack gets old really fast). Self-guided trips cost $114 per person and also include comfy bikes, helmets, and all the planning info you need.
3. Calistoga Bikeshop
Another bicycle option is Calistoga Bikeshop, a popular rental shop that also runs guided day trips for $150, including a hybrid bike, a picnic lunch, and pick-up for any red wine you buy. The guides plan a distinct route depending on what the group members want, starting from their shop in Calistoga.
If you have an extra day in the area and don’t need much more wine, Calistoga also provides great mountain biking trips to the Palisades or along the Oat hill Mine Trail.
4. Platypus red wine Tours
Platypus brands itself as the “anti-wine-snob red wine tour,” so if you want to have a fun day learning much more about wine, then this is a good choice. (The name is memorable, but you won’t actually see a platypus anywhere in Napa Valley, in case you’re wondering.)
Platypus runs small-group trips, taking in four wineries for $110 (including a picnic lunch), focusing on small and medium-sized, typically family-owned wineries. You can choose from trips centered on Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley, or North Sonoma.
5. active red wine Adventures
As the name suggests, active red wine Adventures provides trips that include much more than just red wine tasting, so it’s a great way to explore Napa Valley. For example, the Hike & red wine trips start with a two-hour hike in some of the valley’s beautiful landscapes and relocation on to a lunch and winery tasting experience. These cost $139 plus lunch because you can choose from a high-end restaurant lunch or a vineyard picnic. They offer similar trips in the Sonoma area, too.
6. green dream Tours
Try some red wine and help the world. green dream has a focus on sustainability: besides using green company practices, it also purchases carbon offsets to balance its use of fuel. Their Napa Valley trips ($144, $154 on weekends) are among the few where the tasting fees at three boutique wineries are included.
Green dream also provides a combo tour, taking in three wineries across Sonoma and Napa Valley, with lunch at the Oxbow Public Market ($139 weekdays, $149 weekends). For visitors to San Francisco, there’s a combo with a trip of Alcatraz plus two Sonoma boutique wineries, for $179.
7. small lot red wine Tours
If you’re coming by car to the Napa Valley region, then small lot can be a really budget-friendly way to delight in a red wine tour. They offer a trip guide who’ll drive your car for you for the day, and design a trip route just best for you, depending on the kind of red wineyou want to taste, what you want to do for lunch, and whether you’re planning on purchasing wine. At $50 per hour (with a four-hour minimum), if you’ve got a car full of friends, this can work out to be one of the most affordable ways to explore Napa but still have local expert advice.
8. Napa Valley red wine country Tours
Napa Valley red wine country trips offer full-day trips from San Francisco, including a golden gate Bridge photo opportunity, to four wineries in the Napa and Sonoma regions. trips include a picnic lunch and are typically $119 per person (sometimes there are $99 specials on the website).
For something a bit different, they also run red wine trips around the Napa Valley in an open-top convertible limousine, including a castle visit, for $150.
There are so numerous options for touring the Napa Valley and experiencing all the red wine culture the area has to offer, depending on your tastes and preferences. These suggestions ought to guarantee that you have a great day out exploring one of the world’s many well-known red wine regions.
Book Your trip to Napa Valley: Logistical suggestions and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search sites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. start with Skyscanner first though because they have the most significant reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the most significant inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the most affordable rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:
Don’t forget travel Insurance
Travel insurance will safeguard you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s extensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it numerous times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
Insure My trip (for those over 70)
Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the best companies to save money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
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