The Napa Valley Wine Train has been a staple of the Napa Valley landscape for three decades. Primarily made up of Pullman Standard Company first class coaches that were used on the Pacific Railway dating back to 1915. The Wine Train runs on the railroad tracks that were built by San Francisco’s first millionaire, Samuel Brannan, in 1864, to bring people from San Francisco to his spas in Calistoga.
Since the 1980’s, the Wine Train has become known for providing unique views of the Napa Valley while guests enjoy the high end cuisine that Napa Valley is known for. Recently, the Wine Train has expanded to include the opportunity to taste at some of Napa Valley’s most famous wineries. Quattro Vino Tours take you on a 36 mile round trip around the valley. On the ride you are served a spectacular four-course meal and stop at three of Napa Valley’s most celebrated wineries.
Our Wine Train adventure, began on the Quattro Vino Tour with a professional photograph in front of the train and a glass of sparkling wine. As we rode through the new RAD (Railway Arts District) we were treated to the first course which consisted of three breakfast bites: a cinnamon-sour cream muffin, greek yogurt smoothie, and savory frittata.
Our first stop was at the famous Robert Mondavi Winery. Founded in 1966 by Robert Mondavi whos vision together with his wife, Margrit, built one of the most important wine empires in the world. The tour took us through the history of the winery and the process of making wine. We got to experience the vineyards, barrel room, and the impressive library wall that has wines dating back to the founding. During our tour we tasted three of Robert Mondavi’s wines that are not distributed to the public.
After our tour it was time for our second course on the train. For the main course was a choice between Honey-Fennel Cracked Mustard Glazed Pacific Salmon or Rosemary Garlic Marinated Grilled Flat Iron Steak. I had the salmon and it was deliciou! It was cooked on a small cedar plank with crispy bacon and fingerling potatoes. It was the perfect amount of food when you have two more wineries to try!
Our second stop brought us to the historic Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena. Charles Krug Winery is the oldest winery in Napa Valley and had the first tasting room in California, dating back to 1882. The property was bought by the Mondavi Family in 1943 and is still family owned and operated. The old winery has recently been remodeled and is now where tastings are held. We were greeted with a glass of Chardonnay and were given a comprehensive tour and history of the property. The last pour, the Syrah, was my favorite wine of the day!
Back on the train it was time to head back down towards Napa and enjoy our cheese course. Marin County Triple Bri was served with a few strawberries and was divine. Smooth and creamy it was a perfect pick me up before our last stop. The train does offer wine, beer and cocktails to purchase. The Triple Bri would pair perfectly with some bubbly.
The last stop on the tour was V. Sattui. V. Sattui was started by Dario Sattui, the great grandson of Vittero Sattui who owned a winery in San Francisco before Prohibition forced him to close. V. Sattui opened in 1976 and has been a staple of the Napa Valley ever since. Featuring a large artisan market where you can purchase sandwiches and browse over 200 cheeses V. Sattui is one of the only wineries where you can purchase lunch. Our tasting was in the cellar, surrounded by large wood tanks. The most interesting wine of the day was the Maderia. V. Sattui’s Maderia is a century-old Solera and brandy-fortified and would go perfect atop vanilla ice cream.
Back on the train for the return to the station we were treated to dessert. A apple tart with caramel and whipped cream was just what was needed to end a perfect day. On our way back down the valley I checked out the onboard kitchen. Our meal was 100% prepared for us on the train by the the Wine Trains team of highly trained chefs. Chatting with them it was easy to see that they take pride in what they create each day for Quattro Vino tours. Whether it is your first time to Napa Valley or your 100th the Wine Train is something that everyone should experience.