Best time to visit Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley Wine Train in Napa Valley, CA

Take a ride through one of the top wine-growing regions on the planet

Best time: all year round (best August–October, March–May)

Napa Valley Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Vally Wine Train is not just another train ride. It's a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience with luxury interiors, gourmet dining, and impeccable service. Making a 36-mile (57-km) round-trip, Wine Train runs from Napa to St. Helena and returns to Napa in three hours. The vintage train is pulled by the locomotives, dating back to the 1950s. Antique cars have been carefully renovated, preserving many original decorations, like polished brass, mahogany panels, and glass screens. Gourmet meals, which the train is famous for, have been created by chefs from local, sustainably grown seasonal products.

You can take Napa Valley Wine Train at any season, however the best time for the trip is fall, during the grape harvest, and spring, when the valley is especially beautiful with fresh greens and wildflowers on every corner. In the winter, it gets dark early so you might not see as much on an afternoon train. In addition to spectacular views and dining, Wine Train offers winery tours, winery tastings, murder mystery-solving tours, and celebrity winemaker dinners. Passengers board the train at the McKinstry Street Station in Napa, where they can also shop for boutique wine, jewelry, souvenirs, and gifts. They can choose lunch or dinner, which can be enjoyed in two different types of cars: Vista Dome with spectacular panoramic windows from floor to ceiling or Gourmet Express with the vintage decadent interior, which reminisces of the golden age of train travel in the early 20th century. The train line in Napa Valley was built in 1864 to take passengers north to the resort town of Calistoga. It passes the towns of Oak Knoll, Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford, showcasing all the best things Napa Valley has to offer.

Practical info

What is the best time of the year to take the Napa Valley Wine Train?

During the fall grape harvest and in spring, when the valley comes to life with fresh greens and wildflowers, is the prime time to take the Napa Valley Wine Train. However, passengers taking an afternoon festive ride in winter should know that it may get dark early. Sightseeing opportunities will be limited by the long winter nights, but Napa Valley is a destination that is great to visit year-round. Show more

What is the difference between the Vista Dome and Gourmet Express cars?

The Vista Dome car offers passengers spectacular panoramic views. Its floor-to-ceiling windows make it perfect for sightseeing and taking in the valley views. On the other hand, the Gourmet Express car is vintage and contains the charming vibe of early 20th-century train travel. Passengers on any of the two cabins can choose between a decadent lunch or dinner while enjoying the luxurious Napa Valley Wine Train experience. It is up to each individual preference to decide which one is best. Show more

Can you buy wine and souvenirs on the train?

Souvenirs, gifts, wine, and cheese are available for purchase at the McKinstry Street Station in Napa, where travelers board the train. Wine Train passengers have the option to grab something unique on the shop for those who want to leave Napa with something special in hand. The variety of items available for sale ensures there is something for everyone, from jewelry to wine and cheese. So, don't forget to stop by the gift shop! Show more

What are the different types of tours offered by the Napa Valley Wine Train?

Winery tours and tastings are the most popular tours offered by Wine Train. Passengers can enjoy a unique wine-tasting experience taking them to Vineyards and wineries in the area. Moreover, the Wine Train recommends other tours such as the indulging celebrity winemaker dinners and the thrilling murder mystery-solving tours. On the celebrity winemakers dinner, passengers have the chance to meet winemakers who also happen to be celebrities. Meanwhile, the murder mystery tour is a fun way to mix show and dinner. Show more

When was the train line in Napa Valley built?

The train line in Napa Valley was first built in the year 1864 with the purpose of getting passengers further north into the Calistoga resort town. The track was primarily used for hauling freight such as lumber, farming equipment, and grape harvesting in the area, just as it is done today. The Wine Train, which offers luxury rides, gourmet meals, and wine pairings to passengers, though, has been operational only since the 1980s. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen