There are so many ways to “wine taste” your way through Napa from renting a car (check out my Self-Guided Winery Tour of Napa Valley), going with a tour company to take you from winery to winery, or reserving a private driver to take you to the wineries of your choice. All of these options have different price points and pros and cons, but from my experiences with Platypus Wine Tours, I think they are the best option!
Every adventure with them is an experience of a lifetime and I was fortunate enough to go on 2! In this blog I will give you my Day 1 and Day 2 itinerary.
I went on Platypus Wine Tours’ Join-In Wine Tour of the Napa Valley, which is $110/person and takes a small group of people to 4 boutique wineries with lunch set up at one of them. The groups usually range between 8 to 12 people and the type of people in the group will generally set the mood for the day.
On my first tour with Platypus Tours, I was with a group of people that were much older than myself, but they definitely didn’t disappoint. By the second winery, everyone started to open up a lot more and by the third and fourth… Let’s just say we were all singing together, laughing together, and making dinner plans because we were having so much fun. On my second tour, the people I was with were a little more reserved so the day was a bit calmer, but I still had fun with them.
Make sure to indulge in the cheese plate that is passed around on the bus while you are being chauffeured from winery to winery. Have some water as well from the fully stocked cooler on board to stay hydrated and fueled up for the next wine tasting.
Lunch is a delicious spread of sandwiches, pasta salad, fresh fruit, and a dessert cake. They do accommodate for dietary restrictions, but you have to let them know ahead of time so they can prepare. You are allowed to have wine with your lunch if you’d like to open a bottle you already purchased or you can purchase a bottle at the picnic lunch winery.
Benefits to touring with Platypus Wine Tours:
They choose the best boutique wineries that they have tried themselves
No touristy wineries or crowds
Let them know which wineries you have already been to and they will make sure to avoid them
They pick you up and drop you off at your hotel so you don’t have to worry about driving anywhere after wine tasting all day
They store your wine on the bus for you in separate boxes labeled with your name
Experience a lunch set up for you in a beautiful winery
You pay $110/person for the tour and then pay for your wine tastings separately, but they are at discounted prices that Platypus Tours has pre-negotiated for their customers
Expert Tip #1– Most wineries wave your tasting fee if you buy a bottle or two of their wine.
Expert Tip #2– If you don’t know much about wine, don’t be afraid to take these tours! Some of the people on my tours knew a lot about wine and others could hardly differentiate red wine from white wine!
Day 1 Itenerary
Stop 1: Madrigal Family Winery, Calistoga
Beautiful deck overlooking their vineyard and the mountains
Warm and cozy tasting room painted in a vibrant red
I purchased the 2012 Petite Sirah and 2015 Gewurztraminer
Stop 2: Benessere Vineyards, Saint Helena
Located at a sprawling family home where you can walk right into the vineyards
Specializes in Italian varietals
I purchased the 2015 Pinot Grigio and 2013 Zinfandel
Stop 3: Tamber Bey Vineyards, Calistoga
Located on Sundance Ranch, which is a top performance equestrian facility
Ate our picnic lunch in the lovely courtyard of the stables
I purchased the 2015 Pinot Noir, 2015 Unoaked Chardonnay, and handmade Merlot candle
Stop 4: Provenance Vineyards, Rutherford
Toured through their barrel rooms and tasted directly out of a wine barrel with a glass pipette
Very elegant and has a circle bar where you can do your wine tasting
I purchased the 2015 Malbec Rose and 2012 Malbec
Day 2 Itenerary
Stop 1: Rutherford Ranch Winery, Saint Helena
Wine & chocolate pairing (chocolate was phenomenal; wish I would’ve bought some)
Beautiful cork tree outside of the tasting room
I purchased 2 bottles of the 2014 Pinot Noir and 1 bottle of the 2013 Rhiannon Red Wine
Stop 2: David Fulton Winery, Saint Helena
Picturesque deck that overlooked the vineyards with string lights and oversized wooden chairs
Ate picnic lunch inside of the tasting room that had a barn style setting
I purchased the 2013 Petite Sirah and 2011 Semillon Reserve
Stop 3: Dutch Henry Winery, Calistoga
Outdoor grounds to walk around while tasting and a winery cat that greeted everyone
Took a cave tour as we tasted the wines
Stop 4: Tudal Winery, Saint Helena
Extremely unique grounds that were decorated with handmade items and portrayed a true family winery feel with old world roots
My favorite winery I visited in Napa; loved every single wine I tried here
I purchased the Honker Blanc- Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Mer Blanc- Merlot Rose, Bacci’s Bin 32- 2013 Founder’s Red Blend, and Tudal Family 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon