All of our dream vacations include plenty of wine, and on the Napa Valley Wine Train, it’s always 5 o’clock. A beautifully restored locomotive train in California takes wine-hungry visitors through some of the state’s most well-known vineyards, like Mondavi and Beringer. They offer a number of themed packages (i.e. Meet the Maker, Romance on the Rails and Murder Mystery) and gourmet meals, making this adventure perfect for a romantic day trip or a fun getaway with friends.
The train has retained its 20th century grandeur, but boasts modern conveniences and comfort – including Vista Dome rail cars, which offer panoramic views of wine country. The restored Pullman rail cars feature mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions and plush armchairs meant to evoke luxury rail travel in the early 1900s. (This experience is perfect for anyone who wants to live in a world reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby”).
The train was originally built by the Pullman Standard Company in 1915 as first class coaches for the Northern Pacific Railway. At the time, the train was considered to be at the height of technological advancement and built entirely out of steel – they also featured then-modern amenities like electric lights and steam heat. After being used as a ski train service from 1960-1987, the railroad cars were purchased by the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Today, the train is equipped with three full kitchens, and each meal is made to order. The surprisingly affordable Gourmet Express package starts at $146 per person, and includes wine, a multi-course meal and a three-hour journey. According to Delish, menu offerings include lemon ricotta ravioli, heirloom tomato gazpacho and brown butter seared cornbread. GreenvilleOnline writes that passengers can expect on-board cuisine like seared beef tenderloin, potato gnocchi and seasonal vegetables.
According to the train’s website, “The Napa Valley Wine Train takes you on a 36-mile round-trip discovery to St. Helena and back, stopping at celebrated wineries along the way. But it’s more than a train. It’s a luxuriously vintage setting. A lush, mesmerizing landscape. A divine four-course meal. Exclusive insider winery tours.”
Where do I call for a reservation? Seriously, this sounds almost too good to be true.
Photo courtesy of Wine Train