In the opinion of many, Sonoma Valley is as beautiful and more historic than Napa Valley. Everyone agrees that its wines are world-class. It's just less well-known. So our Napa and Sonoma wine tour endeavors to satisfy your curiosity about both. You'll delight all your senses while cruising through breath-taking scenery, learning about an important global industry and tasting the product of hands-on farming, savvy marketing and good fortune.
Why Go with Us to Napa & Sonoma Valleys?
Because limos are expensive (check 'tax' + other extra fees) and in them you're not positioned to really see the scenery. Big buses marry you to a hurried crowd. And who wants to be the designated driver trying to find the one winery in 500? On weekends and in summer the main highway through Napa Valley can back up for miles. We know the scenic back roads, with their less-frequented wineries boasting excellent wines and offering private tours.
Don't worry…you'll see the famous establishments too. Enjoy good, healthy food, whether at a gourmet deli with panoramic view, the CIA cooking school, or one of the region's outstanding restaurants. We put what you're observing in its historical context, respond to your questions, and help you remember that you're on vacation…minimizing your stress, maximizing your pleasure.
Even if you don't drink alcohol, you'll surrender to the blissful encounter that is our California wine country while learning about a major global industry that artfully blends technology and creativity. Experience unique architecture, sculpture, gardens, and the awesome scenery that surrounds you.
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A FREQUENT ITINERARY
We begin by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into beautiful Marin County. Cruising through pastoral countryside, we arrive at Sonoma's historic plaza where we find the old mission church and the Mexican soldiers' barracks next door.
We arrive at the historic Benziger Family estate in Glen Ellen, for their tour during which you can ask all your questions about wine-making. You ride their tram into vineyards where you'll appreciate how they grow grapes with strict attention to "biodynamics" (the highest ranking of "green" viticulture), learn about juice extraction, go inside caves and learn why French oak barrels are often preferred...then taste several white and red wines. (For fans of great zinfandel, we may go instead to Ravenswood for a vineyard then barrel-tasting tour.)
Following a half-hour drive over a winding mountain road into Napa Valley, we stop for lunch either in quaint St. Helena or in Calistoga, the Old West town famous for mud baths. Lunch can be al fresco from a gourmet deli or (with adequate time) at a great restaurant like Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen or Farmstead.
The number of wineries we visit depends on the pace you choose and their proximity. We can glide along the scenic Silverado Trail to visit a small family-owned winery like Failla or Kelham, or a more famous medium-sized winery like Girard, Robert Sinskey, Rombauer, Chateau Montelena...or a winery you've always wanted to know more about: all have comfortable tasting rooms and outstanding wines.
At the end of the afternoon, if you're not overly relaxed, we make one last stop at Domaine Carneros, to taste award-winning champagnes or pinot noirs while enjoying one final panoramic view of the south end of Napa Valley. Or you may prefer Chandon or Mumm.
Returning through the East Bay, we cross the remarkable Bay Bridge into San Francisco's dramatic skyline…in time for a nap, or dinner and a show.
"The tour was a fantastic way to enjoy one of the most beautiful areas of California. The knowledge that Jesse has of the countryside and history is brimming with enthusiasm and passion. This combined with the quality of the vineyard tours (and of course the fine wine that goes along with such tours) made for a relaxed, interesting and informative day. I would have no hesitation of recommending 'A Friend in Town' to friends, family and everyone else.”
– Patrick W. (Hamilton, New Zealand)