Napa Valley Wine Train

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1275 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA, USA
www.winetrain.com - (707) 253-2111

Napa Valley Wine Train Reviews

moviegal226 moviegal…
97 reviews
Fun Activity but Staff Needs Training Jan 12, 2015
While taking a family Christmas trip to Napa Valley, my mother in law stated that riding the wine train was on her bucket list, so we purchased tickets for Christmas Eve. Full disclosure: I actually dreaded doing this activity and I expected to absolutely hate it. But guess what? I had a good time! The train ride is fun. Yes, the scenery is redundant and is what you can easily see by driving down Highway 29, but there's something special about seeing it from an elevated train while being served lunch. If you are a train enthusiast, this is a pretty fun activity.

The food was much better than I expected. It's not gourmet quality but it's better than you'd think. The appetizer plate was the worst of the bunch with run-of-the-mill salads, herbed cheese and sliced bread. Meh. The lunch was a bit better. The tomato soup was similar to something you'd get on a Vegas buffet (salty but not terrible). My special fish of the day, salmon, was fresh and yummy. Desserts were simple but good.

If you want wine, you're going to have to pay extra for it. You'd think something called the Wine Train would include a few glasses or wine but nope, just a splash of the "house" wine that's pretty bad. They have a $15 per bottle corkage fee so bring your own good stuff.

This is where we had the worst service issue ever, and hence the 2 star rating. I'd easily give the train a 4 star rating for the cool touristy vibe and the fun of exploring the train cars, kitchen and hanging off the back, but this was horrible.

Since my husband and I were traveling with both of our moms, we brought onboard a bottle of white for them and a bottle of red for us. Our moms are NOT big wine drinkers and they couldn't tell a $500 bottle from a $3 bottle. While we were in the lounge car, we asked the server to please open our bottle of red but put the moms' bottle of white on ice so it could cool down. No problem, they opened ours and poured the two of us a glass. After about 30 minutes, we asked the server to please open our moms' wine now. She went back and returned with two glasses of white wine. Perfect!

Everything was fine until we were presented with the first check -- and there were two unexplained $10 charges for $20 total. The charge read "GLS." When we asked our server what the two $10 charges were for, she said "you got the gourmet lunch." We said that we had paid in full and didn't understand that we had to pay $20 extra, but whatever, we signed the slip and moved to the lunch dining car. In the dining car, they brought over the mom's bottle of white wine -- UNOPENED. When we questioned it, they said "oh yeah, we will open it."

At this point, we called over another server to ask what the heck that $20 charge was for. Come to find out, the server in the lounge car had brought our moms' two glasses of the awful house white wine and the charge was $10 per glass. I will note that neither of our moms really even touched that wine -- they didn't know it wasn't the wine they brought onboard but it was clear they didn't like it. We asked them to take off the charge because fair is fair -- this was NOT our fault.

The server argued with us so we had to call over the manager, Nick (Nicholas). He was less than helpful and CONTINUED to argue, causing a big scene in the dining car over 20 stinking dollars! He kept repeating over and over "the wine was consumed, we don't issue refunds." No matter what we said or how nicely we pleaded, this was his standard line.

I need to make it clear that I NEVER make a stink about anything but this really started making me angry! The servers in the lounge car told us it was an additional fee! I don't know if that was an honest mistake or not, but they obviously need better training! Finally my husband said, "look, this was quite honestly YOUR fault. We hope you will make it right." After about 20 minutes of back and forth, he FINALLY agreed to refund our $20.

I can assure you that we were NOT trying to get something for free -- our moms honestly thought they had opened their BYOB wine. We thought so too! But being told something that wasn't true was upsetting enough but then they had to argue with us. It made me so sad since it was a bucket list event for my mother in law and the last half hour was soured by having to argue with the manager.

So that's why I have the 2 star review for the wine train. I guess you can go if you want but I'm not going to recommend it. Think if we had been with business clients or something! At least it was just family, but it did sour our Christmas Eve. It's really sad.
Fresh salmon. Very tasty.
Peeling "silverware" and paper nap…
Free hot tea with dessert.
Christmas Eve 2014 lunch menu.
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rabrown rabrown
32 reviews
Depends What You Want! Aug 10, 2011
The Napa Vally Wine Train is the most sought after thing to really do if you want to explore the entire valley. Though it offers much of the history during the train ride, dont expect much more then that and a good meal. If you are riding this to see the area, it is pretty good, especially if you can find yourself some locals and have them possibly add depth to the details in the area. Try and get the Open Car, it will help you see the area, though there will be spots where photography is difficult because of trees and other objects in the way. The food is honestly the best part of the ride, I know the executive chef personally and he is quite good at what he does though know, this whole trip (food included) is not a cheap ride. Although it seems to be sought after, I would not splurge on the money if you are visiting the area but rather if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary. It is not cost effective though it does offer a diverse way of spending the afternoon in the Napa, with a good meal.
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X_Drive X_Drive
836 reviews
Sep 04, 2000
Everyone in the world has heard of the Napa Valley Wine train. It is among the most advertised railroads there are. The idea is to take the four or five hour train ride up through the Napa Valley wine region while eating some of the best food and drinking the best local wines.

There are several alternatives. From a very expensive multi-course gourmet meal in an air-conditioned car down to the least expensive open-air, non air-conditioned car where you can order from an ala carte menu.

The trip begins with a lecture at the station on wine and growing it in the region. How the grape vines are best put into poor soil conditions to make them work harder to produce the best wines. Then were are three samplings.

Then onto the train for our ride. North from Napa through the wine growing region of the Napa Valley. Of course, the train runs right along next to a major highway the entire distance, so cars whizzing past are a little less than thrilling. Trees along the other side make photo taking less than easy.

We opted for the open-air car and the ala carte menu, being more interested in the train ride than a gourmet meal. We chose the Bison Burger, having never eaten Buffalo previously. It turned out way over cooked, and served with packaged condiments. Not a good experience.

Note: If you are a smoker (which I was in those days) you are not allowed off the train during any stops.
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Soultraveler says:
I found this review helpful. My wife and I were planning on celebrating our three year anniversary with a napa train tour but I think we may seek another alternative, thanks for the words of wisdom.
Posted on: Jan 30, 2007

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