Napa Valley has long been on my travel wish list, as the area in California is famous for its world-renowned food and wine. As it safe to say if you are wine tasting in Napa you won’t be able to drive so it is important to book a tour or shuttle service to take you from one winery to the next so you won’t be drinking and driving.
I’ve long been interested in wine, with my favorite being a robust cabernet sauvignon or syrah, I’ve done my share of wine tastings, and for a time even made my own my wine, so heading off to Napa Valley was a dream come true.
To help me get from my hotel in San Fransico around to some of the wineries in Napa Valley I booked a tour with Green Dream Tours, a company that offers small group tours, which I believe is the perfect way to see the wineries as you get a more intimate tour instead of being crammed in with a large bus load of people.
Everything about my experience with Green Dream Tours was exceptional, the driver was friendly and knowledgeable providing us with facts and the history of Napa in between our shuttle from the wineries and San Fransico while having plenty of water on hand to keep everyone hydrated.
Prior to booking my tour I spent a fair bit of time researching what tour to take I noticed the majority of tours I saw did not include the tasting fees at the wineries start at around $20, so the extra fees quickly can add up. Thus, when I noticed Green Dream Tours included the drive and the tasting fees for 3 wineries for an affordable price, the choice was easy.
On the tour, we visited three wineries, Spelletich Family Winery, Andretti Winery, and Madonna Estate and stopped for a lunch at Oxbow Public Market where we could purchase lunch from a variety of delicious options.
The first stop on the tour Spelletich Family Winery is owned by the Spelletich family, and of the 3 stops it was my favorite. Barb the owner of the winery led the wine tasting of several her different types of wines and then proceeded to give us a tour of the behind scenes of her winery, so we could see the wine making process first hand.
Barb was an absolute delight, she is so knowledgeable and was an amazingly friendly teacher as we were given a tour of her winery, where she allowed us to even eat some of the grapes and taste some of the fortified wine straight from the barrel.
The second winery, Madonna Estate is owned by the Bartolucci family, located in the Carneros region of Napa, this 80-year-old winery focused on organically grown grapes. Here we were given a more informal tour, focusing on making us laugh and an extensive amount of wine samples to try in the wine barrel storage room.
The third winery, Andretti Winery has beautiful lush grounds filled with old world charm, that while visiting you will feel transported to Italy. This winery quickly won me over, as after our wine tasting we were given plenty of time to explore the beautiful grounds with our glass of wine in hand as we take in the vineyards, fountains, and gardens.
At each of the vineyards you can purchase wine to take home with you, and if you happen to live in the USA you can have the wine shipped directly to your home or can sign up for a monthly wine subscription directly from the winery. As a Canadian, I picked up a few bottles to take home with me to enjoy back home, as none of the wine I tried was available for sale where I live in Ottawa.
The full day 8 hour tour by Green Dream Tours, was the perfect way to spend a day in California. The tour was perfectly done, but after only seeing 3 wineries I’m eager to spend a week in Napa and explore more of the vineyard, and spend time exploring Soma, another famous wine area right next to Napa.