When my in-laws were visiting, we decided to take the Napa Valley Wine Train as a surprise for my father-in-law’s birthday. It was a gorgeous sunny day and perfect for the three hour gourmet lunch tour of the vineyards.
We arrived at the depot and checked in. While we waited, we took a seat and enjoyed some wine samples as they continued to check in other passengers. It was certainly interesting people-watching in the depot. It’s definitely an attraction for tourists and you see quite the cross-section of them while waiting to board.
We were part of the first seating for boarding the train. This means that we have appetizers and lunch in the dining car, then move to the lounge for dessert. The train was very old fashioned and elegant. We sat at our white linen-dressed table and ordered a cocktail. The walls and windows were adorned in maroon tapestries with gold rope trim. I was curious about how a martini would go over on a moving train. Thankfully, they are prepared for that with special martini glasses with and extra high rim. Good touch for someone as clumsy as I am.
Our car had several waitresses, one of which was very knowledgeable about the vineyards and filled us in on the fun facts along the way. I started the meal with a mixed green salad with beets and goat cheese. For my main course, I chose the pork tenderloin and put in my order for dessert later in the lounge- creme brulee.
The pork was tender and juicy. It was perfectly cooked. I was of course impressed knowing that the chefs have a tiny kitchen to work in…that’s MOVING.
After lunch, we moved into the lounge car where we dropped off some belongings so we could tour the train. The kitchen cars are open to the passengers. They allow you to walk through and watch their magic at work. I was particularly fascinated with this part of the ride. I checked out some of the other cars and ended up in the back of the train where you can step onto the balcony of the caboose. It’s not a fast-moving train, but it was still pretty cool to stand out on the back watching the beautiful vineyards roll by.
Last but not least, I went for a tasting in the wine car. It is the wine train, after all. For $10 you get 6 tastings of great local wines. It’s a pretty good bargain and they aren’t stingy on the pours.
It was an absolutely gorgeous ride and a fun day in wine country. I recommend it if you are in the area.
Oh, and just for fun, this guy knows how really to tour Napa…