Are you heading to the Napa Valley or is it on your must-travel list? If you love wine, then Napa needs to be added to the top of your list! Located just about an hour to an hour and a half outside of San Francisco (depending on time of day/traffic), it is an easy destination to get to. Recently Jake and I visited Napa for his pre-graduation trip and it was seriously one of our favorite vacations we have been on. Not only is there gorgeous scenery everywhere you look, but the wine is fantastic. Jake and I are both winos, so this had been on the top of our travel list for a while. Napa is a perfect romantic couple destination and we wanted to cross it off of our list before we have kids. One of the highlights of our trip was doing the Napa Valley Wine Train. It was highly recommended, and it lived up to the hype. Anytime I did research on Napa, the wine train came up as a must-do activity. My cousins had also done it and highly recommended it. I will share a full guide to Napa soon, but for now I wanted to share our first full day exploring Napa on the wine train.
The wine train offers many different options, ranging from simply a scenic meal on board the gorgeous antique train to stops at their partner wineries for tours and tastings. Most of the trains feature a lunch in the dining cars, but they also offer dinners, too. We chose the Castle Winery Tour and lunch.
What To Wear:
When I was planning for our Napa vacation, I knew this beautiful wrap dress would be perfect for our vacation. I picked it for the wine train because it was easy to move around in and is comfortable. It Is also lightweight and flowy, so it was perfect for the nice weather. When I booked the wine train, I received an email with more details and guests are encouraged to dress up in honor of the occasion. They recommend comfortable shoes, so these wedges were perfect and I brought a pair of extra shoes just in case. Use code abyersguide20 for 20% off of this dress.
Castle Winery Schedule:
- 10:50AM | Boarding Begins- When we boarded the beautiful antique wine train, we were pretty quickly greeted with a welcome wine choice of merlot or chardonnay. Jake and I are both mostly red wine drinkers and enjoyed the merlot.
- 11:30AM | Train Departs. Lunch Begins.
- 1:00PM | Transfer from Train to Motorcoach (due to the winery being out a bit, we were transported by a motorcoach from the train).
- 1:30PM | Arrive at Castello di Amorosa for Two Hour Tour and Tasting
- 3:30PM | Depart Castello di Amorosa
- 4:00PM | Arrive at Wine Train Station
The wine train is pretty much an all day event. We noticed that most wineries stopped doing tastings after 4 or 5 p.m., so we decided to do the wine train on Friday of our trip (we stayed Thursday night through Sunday morning in Napa).
About The Meal:
Soon after boarding, our lunch order was taken. We were given several options for the entree and were served 3 courses (a choice soup or salad, entree and dessert). Jake and I were both impressed to find out we got to pick our main entree from several options. We had expected maybe 2 options. There was a salmon, chicken, beef, pork, and vegetarian option. Jake and I both chose the beef tenderloin and thought it was excellent. We knew that the wine country is known for good food, but didn’t know what to expect with the wine train. The portions were also quite generous, so we felt like we got our money’s worth. Jake and I both get hungry early for dinner and this meal definitely tided us over for a while. Everything from the salad to the entree to the dessert was all excellent. The service was also good too.
About the Castle Winery Tour:
As you eat your meal, you are traveling northbound through the Napa Valley. The view is gorgeous and I loved that you got to see so much of the valley. After lunch and once you are up the valley, for our tour we were transferred from the train and boarded a private shuttle to Castello di Amorosa. According to The Napa Valley Wine Train, “Rising above the hills in the Napa Valley is Castello di Amorosa, which translates to the “castle of love” in Italian. Castello di Amorosa is an authentically-styled, 13th century Tuscan castle winery replete with high walls and five defensive towers and more than 30 acres of estate vineyards. It was built over a 15-year period by Dario Sattui, a fourth generation winemaker and owner of V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, California.”
Jake and I were very impressed with the tour and tasting. The winery is absolutely gorgeous and seems like something you would find in Europe. The tour started in a beautiful private dining room and we were quickly taken in the catacombs where the wine is stored and made. It was interesting learning about the winemaking process and hearing suggestions on storage. After a tour of the gorgeous property, we got to taste wines. Out of all of our winery tours, this one you got to taste the most (about 9 or 10 generous sized pours, compared to 4 at most other places). The tour guide gave us several options to try; for each pour, you were given 3 different wine options and got to pick one. It was nice going as a couple because Jake and I shared the wines so we could try more. We got to try some unique wines and enjoyed them all. The wine is only available for purchase at the winery, so it was pretty special we got to try it. We could definitely tell the wines were high quality.
Is it worth it?
Although this is a pricy experience, I do think it’s worth it, especially if you’ve never been to Napa. You get to see an incredible view, eat delicious food and tour a gorgeous winery. I was a little hesitant to book this tour because of the time commitment and the price, but I am very glad we experienced it.
After reviewing their website I noticed if you go midweek and book Online & Ride anytime through June 30, 2018 you can save SAVE 20% on your Midweek Gourmet Express Lunch or Sunday Dinner Journey. Use code: BLOOM20. We were not there midweek, but I would highly recommend doing that if you are.
I hope you enjoyed getting to hear about our Napa Valley Wine Train experience! Jake actually graduated on Saturday (you may have seen on Instagram or remember me mentioning it last week). We spent the weekend celebrating, so I decided to delay this post. We will be moving on June 2nd, so we have been busy enjoying our limited time together before his residency program starts. Right now my goal is to post a blog post once a week on Thursdays until Jake starts residency. I am hoping to be able to do more if I can. Stay tuned for more on Napa and San Francisco, and I will be sharing some fashion posts soon too.
Shop My Outfit:
I’m so glad you loved it!! It really is a memorable experience. And yay for moving!! I had no idea it was coming so quickly!
Katherine | http://www.oneswainkycouple.com
Thank you so much! It really is something i’ll always remember. Thank you for the information on it 🙂 Ahh I know, it has been crazy with moving. I have been so MIA, but am hoping to get back to blogging ASAP. I miss it so bad. I had planned to post today, but we still have no internet 🙁
Very cute dress! The wine tour looks so fun.
Aw thank you! Yes, it was amazing. I highly recommend it.
Wow it looks so pretty and the weater was incredible, seams like it’s worth the price too!
It really was incredible! We had the perfect weather and had a blast.
Your dress is so pretty! Definitely a fun experience if you love wine!
Thank you so much! Yes, if you love wine it is amazing.
I love that dress on you! I had no idea the wine train existed but I love how it lets you see so much more of Napa valley.
Aw thanks, Amanda! It really was a great experience because I feel like we got to see everything.
I am dying to go to Napa, so I am saving this to make sure we hit these places up!! Looks like such a wonderful trip.
You should definitely go! It was an incredible trip.
Looking gorgeous in pink – it’s a color I never have much confidence in wearing but you do it so well 🙂
Aw thank you so much, Natalie! I am sure you would look fabulous in it 🙂
Sounds like you had a great time!! Such pretty photos!
Taylor | http://www.livingtaylored.com
Thanks Taylor. It was incredible. Thank you for all of your Napa and San Fran suggestions. Can’t wait to share what we did soon.
Oh girl, I love napa!!! I want old enough to drink when I went there but I would love to go back and do the train it looks so fun!
Napa is so beautiful! You’ll have to go back, it is definitely more fun as an adult 😉
I’ve been to Sonoma Valley but have yet to make it to Napa. The wine train sounds so cool! I would totally want to splurge on this experience if we make our way back here. It looks like you had a blast! Super cute outfit too, Courtney!
Sonoma is next on our list for wine country. We got to drive by it on the way to San Fran. It’s all gorgeous. Thanks, Lindsey. I cannot wait to share more about Napa. I’m a little behind due to no WiFi for Memorial Day weekend when we were visiting family and moving this week.
LOVE this dress! Simply beautiful!
Thank you so much. I will definitely be wearing it a lot
Hi Courtney, thanks for the wonderful post! The train sure seems to be a must do if you are from out of town! How nice to have lunch with a changing view all the time. The Castle winery looks amazing and its great you got to try so many wines as a couple. I love the shaded pic of you and the vineyard in the background. Such a cute dress too and I am glad it was comfy on you. Congrats to Jake on graduating , take care , hugs, Terri xo.
Thank you so much for reading, Terri! I still have more to share on our trip, but we’ve been out of town for Memorial Day without WiFi at his parents house then lots of packing for our move on Saturday. It really was an amazing way to experience The Napa Valley. Thank you again.
You are welcome Courtney! I loved the pics of Napa. Best wishes with your moving, wish I could help! Take care , Terri xo.
Aw thank you, Terri! I have been a little MIA, but am hoping to get back to blogging soon 🙂 The move has been more time consuming that I had thought.
I did see you were missing Courtney, but I knew you were moving at weekend! I am in Boston airport waiting to go to Dublin!
Yes 🙂 I’ll be back soon. I’m hoping to post Monday. Ahhh how amazing. I bet that will be fabulous
So beautiful! That was one of our favorite wineries when we were there! You are just stunning
Aw thank you so much! It is such a gorgeous winery. We loved it.