Napa Wine Tour Tips
6 Secret Tips for Planning the Perfect Custom Napa Wine Tour
So, you’ve decided to take a Napa Valley wine tour? You’ll be so glad you did. Short of a trip to Tuscany or Bordeaux (and some massive air fare to go with it), there is no finer wine region in the world. We’d like to think that no Napa wine tour is a bad one, but there is quite a difference in a good tour and an extraordinary one. We strive to provide the latter. Here are some top-secret insider tips for planning a Napa wine tour you will never forget!
Decide What Time of Year to Take Your Napa Wine Tour
Summer and Fall are the most popular times of year for a Napa wine tour. Summer is easy for families with kids because school is out, and Fall is when you can see the amazing processes of harvesting the grapes and the actual winemaking. The weather is mild, and it’s the only times of year that you can see actual grapes growing on the vines. But these are also the busiest and priciest times of year for a Napa wine tour.
If you prefer having time to chat with the winemakers and vineyard keepers, don’t want to wait in lines that make Disneyland look deserted, and like to get the absolute best possible deals on hotel rooms, then schedule your tour for Winter or Spring instead. The holiday season is busy (and expensive) in Napa just like everywhere else. But after the Christmas decorations come down and the New Year’s confetti is swept up, Napa gets pretty laid-back. There aren’t any grapes on the vines (or leaves), but the vines are visible, and you can actually see more of the stunning California countryside. Better yet, Napa’s blessedly mild winters make it the ideal escape if you live in a bitterly cold region like New England or the Midwest.
Just as Vermont is known for spectacular fall color, the South is renown for its breathtaking farmlands, and the Desert Southwest is acclaimed for its breathtaking orange-yellow sands and unique variety of cacti — Northern California is famous for its Spring wildflower displays. From the California Poppy to the Douglas Iris, the Bush Lupine to the California Buttercup (and don’t forget that Indian Paintbrush!), the wildflowers put on a show in Napa that you just can’t get outside of 4th of July fireworks. Spring is also when the mustard flowers bloom, creating expansive fields of yellow on green, a picture suitable for framing. Like Winter, Spring in Napa is cheaper, less crowded, and gives you more one-on-one time with the folks you meet. Besides, it’s a lot easier to get reservations at the hottest restaurants.
Don’t Exclude Other Fabulous Northern California Wine Regions
No doubt you know all about the strong seismic activity in Northern California, as well as the mild weather brought by the Pacific Ocean and protected by the Sierra Nevada mountain range. What you might not realize is that these factors make the entire region exceptionally good for growing grapes that happen to make exquisite wines. Don’t limit yourself to a tour of Napa Valley wineries! Also consider the fine wineries located in nearby regions, including:
- San Francisco
- Sonoma County
- St. Helena
Include All Your Faves + Some Unknowns
Many people enjoy a Napa wine tour of the more popular wineries, or they like to pick a tour based on their favorite wines — such as an all-Merlot tour or an all-white wines tour. Others like to see the wineries they know about from the stores and wine clubs back home, like O’Brien Estate, Hendry, and Castello di Amorosa.
But the best wine tours allow you to try some of your established favorites, while still taking in some brand new tastes and experiences. Many of the smaller, mom and pop owned wineries don’t even have websites and aren’t listed in the popular travel guides. When you schedule your Napa wine tour with Elite Limousine, be sure to ask us about lesser-known wineries that are right up your taste bud alley.
Schedule Some Non-Wine-Related Activities
Incredibly, wine, vineyards, wineries, and grapes aren’t the only things in Napa Valley! Napa really rolls out the red carpet for visitors, offering an eye-popping variety of things to do that have nothing whatsoever to do with grapes or wine. Try a luxurious afternoon at a spa, getting a massage and some soak time in the mud baths (nearby Calistoga is world-famous for mudding). Or, take in a farmer’s market and stock up on gift items like handmade crafts, home-canned fruits and vegetables, farm fresh butters and cheeses, and much more. Northern California is also home to some of the best beaches in the world.
You can also take some culinary classes and learn how to pair wines with your favorite cuisines, or visit one of the world-class art galleries here. We also have hot air balloon rides (the BEST way to see the vineyards and countryside from an entirely new perspective), live concerts, and a thriving nightlife.
Plan Your Dinner Reservations ASAP
All this wine would be utterly pointless without some kick-butt food to go along with it. Well, maybe not, but maybe. We wouldn’t know, because Napa Valley isn’t just home of the best wines in North America, we also boast a thriving collection of restaurants, including numerous 5-Star restaurants or, if you prefer (and we often do), we also have some mouthwatering food establishments off the beaten path.
Ask your tour planning specialist at Elite Limousine about the lesser-known restaurants here that the locals always prefer to go to and escape the tourist crowds. To get reservations at one of the 5-Star restaurants in the area, get those plans made early. Places like Redd Restaurant, La Toque, and Bistro Jeanty fill up fast.
Talk to Your Limo Wine Tour Service About Your Itinerary
Your Napa limo wine tour isn’t restricted to the wine tastings and vineyard tours during your stay. We can help you with everything from hotel accommodations to other area attractions. Napa offers an incredible range of lodging options, from rustic to regal. We can accommodate any children you’re bringing, as well as anyone in your group with special needs. You can choose a package wine tour of one, two, or more days, or opt to design a custom wine tour package that’s perfectly suited to your particular tastes.
Why choose a limo wine tour when you visit Napa? Well, there are several reasons. First, no DWI’s! You’ll want to bring home a souvenir, but a criminal record isn’t what we recommend. Second, you won’t get lost. There are tons of back roads, side roads, country roads, and proverbial pig trails here, and it is not difficult to get turned around and miss a wine tasting. Or three. Third, you’ll get better prices, because we can negotiate package deals with the wineries, restaurants, and other local merchants. Fourth, you won’t get stuck on a bus with Smelly Steve or Jabbering Jane. Just saying.
Perhaps the best tip for planning the perfect custom wine tour is to start early. The more advanced notice you give your limo wine tour service, the more options you’ll have. You’ll get better hotel rates, more open restaurant reservations, and even better times for your wine tastings. Call Elite Limousine today to schedule your Napa Valley wine tour!