Take A Joy Ride On The Napa Valley Wine Train

By: Kris Koonar

If you see more than 300 people waiting to get aboard one green, gold and burgundy train at 11:30 am or 6:30 pm on any day, do not wonder where they are going. This is the magnificent Wine Train that they are getting on to takes them on a 3-hour long joy ride that is truly one of a kind. This train that caused more controversy than the Hindenburg when it started in September of 1989 has carried more than 1 million passengers till date.

Most of the people who take a trip on the glorious Wine Train alight 3 hours and 36 miles later, having eaten the best food, tasted the best wines and seen some of the best wineries in a region that is scenic and produces the best wine in world. Most of these people 370 people that the train can accommodate admit that the adventure through Napa Valley was well worth the cost of this joy ride.

The train itself, apart from the journey it embarks upon, is beautiful. With its 370 people capacity, it is a step back into an era where romance and luxury were much appreciated. Each car of the train is unique and lavish. Classy upholstery, swiveling chairs, deep mahogany trimming, deep and soft carpets, velvet curtains, marble sinks, snowy white towels and tables set with the best damask linen, china and crystal are what sets the train apart from other touring trains. And ofcourse we must not forget the friendly staff and crew on the train who are there to make sure that you are comfortable and well taken care of during the 3 hour tour. And they won't mind stopping for a minute or two to discuss the wineries, make a comment or two about the scenery.

Everyone is handed a brochure on entering the train. This is the Wine Train's promotional brochure, which lists more than 60 wineries of the Napa Valley. Most of the wineries that are listed are not visible from the train but those that are visible are among the best and most interesting. These wineries are Trefethen, Domaine Chandon, Cakebread Cellars, Inglenook and Sequoia Grove. The most famous wineries are Robert Mondavi, a landmark winery and Beaulieu and Grgich hills. Do not be surprised if a crew member points out a winery or two like Far Niente or Conn creek. At the end of the 3 hour train ride, you will be richer in the knowledge of wineries and wines produced in the Napa Valley area.

The train makes two trips on weekdays and three trips on weekends, which include brunch. The lunch trip which lasts for three hours leaves at 11:30 am, while the three and half hour dinner trip leaves at 6:30 pm. The meals on the Wine Train are par excellence. They match the romantic and luxurious mood of the train. A typical lunch on the Wine Train would include a salad of lettuce tossed with hazelnut and sherry vinaigrette. The main course could be Chicken breast marinated with white wine or Black Angus filet mignon with red wine. Pasta is always on the menu.

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