Q. How long is the tour?
Our tours are either 4 hours or 6 hours in length - that's time in the Wine Country. Add the travel time to and from the Wine Country for the total tour length. From San Francisco, a 6 hour tour translates into an 8 1/2 to 9 hour day. Keep in mind that this is a custom day and our journey will be as long or as brief as you want it!
Q. What time do you we leave for our wine tour?
Anytime that is comfortable for you. Just keep in mind that the wineries open at 10:00 and start closing at around 4:30. The Wine Country is about an hour and fifteen minute drive to and from San Francisco. We recommend leaving between 9:00 A.M. from a San Francisco hotel because it will give us an early start at the wineries and it allows flexibility as the day progresses.
Q. What can I expect on my wine tour?
It takes a little over an hour from San Francisco to the Wine Country. Beside getting to know each other wine-wise, on the way to the Wine Country, I'll be giving you a brief historical overview of how the wine industry began in Napa and Sonoma. We'll also cover some interesting wine related facts that I think you will find interesting. (For instance, did you know that of all the wine made in California, only 4 percent of it comes from the Napa Valley? Take my tour and I will explain why). Bonus: If we're leaving from The City, I'll even offer a little of my San Francisco tour on the way out of town.
Q. What is the best time of year to visit the Wine Country?
Half 'tongue and cheek' I usually answer 'anytime is fine with me' because there are so many different kinds of beauty depending on the time of the year. Please see my page on "Seasons in the Wine Country".
Q. What do we do about lunch?
That's really up to you. Some customers want an elegant, sit-down restaurant lunch during their Wine Country tour and some prefer a quick sandwich at a nice deli. We recommend a more expedient lunch so we can concentrate on visiting the wineries! For most of our customers, that's what their day with us is all about. As an aside, we do recommend that you start your day with a hearty breakfast.
Q. How many wineries will we visit?
We find that a winery an hour is about the norm. So, during a four-hour tour, you will likely visit three or four wineries if we don't stop for lunch. Again, our Wine Country tours are custom and we don't want to rush you. In our typical 6 hour tour day we will visit 2 or 3 wineries, take a break for lunch, visit another 2 or three wineries, and head back to your accommodation. We will always visit the wineries at a pace that is comfortable to you.
Q. Do you just drop us off when we arrive at the wineries?
No. When you take a wine tour with us, we will guide you through the individual wineries and as well as the tasting rooms. We have built relationships with the wineries we commonly visit and from that you will benefit. We do prefer that the winery's tasting room staff present their individual wines to you.
Q. What can you expect for tasting fees?
Tasting fees are incredibly varied. A very few wineries in Napa don't charge but most do. A few will charge for tasting and will then credit the tasting fee towards a wine purchase while others will let you keep a souvenir glass. Sonoma is a little more 'loose' with their tasting fees but they are catching up to Napa quickly.
Several of your tasting fees will be waved simply because you are touring with us and we have a relationship with the wineries we will visit.
The average tasting fee is $5.00 to $10.00 for a winery's basic line of wines. $25 to $30 is common for a 'Reserve' tasting. It is quite acceptable to share a tasting with your partner. You should have no hidden tasting expenses on the day of your tour. As we visit each winery, we will explain the tasting venue and the fees (if any) in advance.