Travel Tour Reviews

The 7 Best Wine Tours From San Francisco Reviewed – 2018

Your Guide to Visiting Napa and Sonoma Wineries From San Francisco

With its temperate climate, romantic wineries, and sprawling vineyards, it’s no wonder Napa Valley draws thousands of tourists a year from around the world.

One of the most popular things to do in Napa is to tour its vineyards and wineries.

Be sure to see our Yosemite National Park tours and Alacatraz tour reviews.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best San Fransisco Wine Tours

  1. Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour
  2. Small-Group Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour with Lunch
  3. Napa Valley Wine Train from San Francisco: Gourmet Lunch, Wine Tasting & Vineyard Tour
  4. Napa Valley Wine Country Tour from San Francisco
  5. Wine Country Bike Tour and Picnic Lunch
  6. Small-Group Napa Wine Tour With Castello di Amorosa and Lunch
  7. Private Sonoma and Napa Wine Tour from San Francisco

We have reviewed the 7 top rated Napa Valley wine tours, providing overviews and highlighting the details of each. We also make recommendations on staying in San Francisco , based on your own preferences and needs.

Best San Fransisco Wine Tours

 

Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour

Small-Group Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour

Napa Valley Wine Train from San Francisco

napa-and-sonoma-wine-country-tour-in-san-franciscosmall-group-napa-and-sonoma-wine-country-tour-with-lunch-in-san-francisco-126755napa-valley-wine-trai
Departure Point:Union SquareYour hotel (airport hotels excluded)Ferry Building, San Francisco
Departure Times: 9 a.m.Between 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.8:00 a.m. check-in
Duration:8 hours (approx)9 hours (approx)9.5 hours (approx)
Tour Includes:Guided tours, wine tastings, transport via air-conditioned coach (free Wi-Fi onboard)Guided tours, wine tastings, sit-down lunch, hotel pick-up and drop-off, transport via luxury minivanWinery tour, wine tastings, 3-course lunch, ferry/shuttle transport to train depot, train transport to Napa
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San Fransisco Wine Tours Reviews

#1 Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour

new york dinner cruises editors choice

Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Union Square
  • Departure Time: 9 a.m.
  • Duration: 8 hours (approx)
  • Includes: guided tours, wine tastings, transport via air-conditioned coach (free Wi-Fi onboard)
Make sure to reserve a full day for this relaxing and informative wine tour of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

We recommend this tour because of the ease of transport and sociable guides. Learn while on the road and avoid a struggle with your GPS. This tour is optimal for those who enjoy a large group setting, but would like a midday lunch break from the crowd to do a little exploring on their own.

Expert guides accompany you to three acclaimed wineries where you will enjoy tastings that are included in the price of your tour ticket. The tour provides a nice variety of wines, so your taste buds won’t get bored.

Not only are the guides well-versed in wine, wine-making, and the area’s history, but are also a fountain of knowledge, offering insider tips for the best area places to eat and visit.

The trip to the various wineries is much more than just an education in wine tasting. You’ll get to experience wine country in a comfortable bus ride that will take you across wine groves as far as the eye can see. On your way, you’ll catch stunning glimpses of landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Free Wi-Fi is available on board.

Guests are given free-time to grab lunch on your own, and your guides will be sure to give you insider tips on the best places to try out. One popular option in the area is Oxbow Market where there’s a wide selection of food stalls- something for everyone’s preference.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#2 Small-Group Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour with Lunch

small-group-napa-and-sonoma-wine-country-tour-with-lunch-in-san-francisco-126755

Small-Group Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour with Lunch at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: your hotel (airport hotels excluded)
  • Departure Time: between 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.
  • Duration: 9 hours (approx)
  • Includes: guided tours, wine tastings, sit-down lunch, hotel pick-up and drop-off, transport via luxury minivan
We like the individualized attention that this small group tour offers, as well as the group lunch, which gives you time to chat with your fellow tour-goers. The tour guides are friendly and anxious to share their breadth of knowledge about the Napa and Sonoma valleys. Their familiarity with everything wine makes this tour particularly educational.

This small-group tour is limited to 13 guests. Led by an experienced local guide, this is a full day round-trip tour from San Francisco to Napa and Sonoma wine country.

You’ll be picked up at your hotel in a luxury minivan for the hour trip to Sonoma. While in Sonoma, your group will visit at least two celebrated wineries where you learn about the science and art of winemaking. Some of these may include Jacuzzi, Cline Cedars, Homewood, or Viansa. Several varieties of wine are made available for tasting (included in your ticket).

Around mid-day you’re off to the Plaza Bistro, a warm, welcoming restaurant in Sonoma, for a leisurely lunch.

After lunch, the tour moves on to Napa where you make a stop at Domaine Chandon, the first French-owned sparkling winery in California. Here you and your new friends will enjoy a glass of Domaine Chandon’s much sought-after bubbly at a reserved table.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#3 Napa Valley Wine Train from San Francisco: Gourmet Lunch, Wine Tasting & Vineyard Tour

napa-valley-wine-trai

Napa Valley Wine Train from San Francisco at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: Ferry Building, San Francisco
  • Departure Time: 8:00 a.m. check-in
  • Duration: 9 hours, 30 minutes (approx)
  • Includes: winery tour, wine tastings, 3-course lunch, ferry/shuttle transport to train depot, train transport to Napa
We highly recommend this tour, first, because of the novel and relaxing experience of travel by train.This 5-hour journey by train takes you through the stunning countryside and the rolling hills of the Napa Valley.

Secondly, you’re served a delicious and beautifully-presented lunch while onboard, with gourmet options that will please everyone in your group. Your lovely hosts and hostesses will ensure you have a fabulous experience.

This tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will bring out the romantic in anyone. It’s a perfect gift idea for that someone special, to celebrate an anniversary, or for creating an unforgettable memory.

This tour offers three separate options (described below)- the Valley First, Grgich Hills, and the Ambassador.
The Napa Valley Wine Train tours start in downtown Napa. From San Francisco you’ll take a series of shuttles and ferries which are included in your ticket price.

Valley First Tour

The Napa Valley Wine Train will transport you to Raymond Vineyards, where you’ll have a 1 ½ hour tour of the property and a tasting of a variety of their certified organic wines.

During the tour you will learn about the vineyard’s history, the family’s dedication to sustainable winemaking, and visit the facilities, including the machinery that crush and ferment the grapes, and the bottling and storage of the final product.

Meander along the vineyards; and spend time with a sommelier who can answer all your burning questions about everything wine.

After your vineyard tour, you’ll be taken back to board the train where you’ll enjoy a complimentary glass of wine before indulging in your 3-course gourmet meal. The trip back to Napa will take you through the quaint towns of St. Helena, Oakville, Rutherford and Yountville.

Grgich Hills

As you head north by train to Grgich Hills Estate, your 3-course meal will be served in the Petit Gourmet Car.

At Grgich Hills you’ll enjoy a 1-hour private tour, where biodynamic grapes are grown in sprawling vineyards. Savor a variety of tastings of their 100% certified organic wines. Enjoy a leisurely stroll among the vineyards of this 366-acre estate with an experienced guide. Learn about the winemaking process and take a peek at the estate’s wine cellar.

On your way back to downtown Napa, you’ll enjoy one final treat, coffee and dessert in the train’s lounge car.

Fun Fact: Grgich Hills is an award-winning, family-owned winery, whose tasting room was transformed into a movie set by well-known screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen for the movie “Judgment in Paris”.

The Ambassador

This itinerary starts with an educational wine seminar, after which you’ll hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. En route to the charming town of St. Helena, you’ll enjoy a gourmet 3-course meal in the Petit Gourmet Car, followed by coffee and dessert.

After arriving in St. Helena, you’ll board a luxury coach headed for Charles Krug Winery. Charles Krug boasts the title of oldest winery in Napa Valley. While there, you will taste their most-limited wines, learn about the winery’s namesake and the Mondavi family history.

After departing from Charles Krug, the coach will take you to Raymond Vineyards about an hour away.  Raymond Vineyards’ wines are 100% certified organic and produced exclusively with solar-sourced energy. While there, a guide will engage your mind and senses in a series of tastings and 1-hour educational tour.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

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#4 Napa Valley Wine Country Tour from San Francisco

Napa Valley Wine Country Tour from San Francisco at a Glance:

  • Departure Points/Times: Union Square at 8:20 a.m. or Pier 39 at 8:40 a.m.
  • Duration: 8 hours, 30 minutes (approx)
  • Includes: driver/guide, mimosa breakfast, picnic lunch, transport via limo, limo van or party bus
We recommend this tour for those who prefer an intimate tour experience and are open to making new friends along their day-long journey through Napa. Its friendly, casual vibe is perfect for those day-trippers who are young-at-heart. It’s also a great option for those who want to tour Napa and its wineries, but don’t plan to partake in tastings, as these are not included in the price of this tour.

Depending on the size of the group, you’ll be transported from San Francisco by limo, limo van, or party bus. Sip on mimosas and enjoy a breakfast of croissants, bagels, cream cheese, and fruit, while your knowledgeable chauffeur educates you about the area and its wineries.

On this tour you’ll visit four renowned wineries, some of which may include Jacuzzi, Larson, Madonna Estate, or Kieu Hoang.

While out and about, your group will stop by iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge to take advantage of photo ops. You’ll also swing into the Olive Press, which is home to the first olive mill in the Sonoma Valley. While there, you’ll have a chance to taste their organic products, which are crafted in the traditional style of olive oil-making.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

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#5 Wine Country Bike Tour and Picnic Lunchwine-country-bike

Wine Country Bike Tour and Picnic Lunch at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: James Lick Memorial Statue located between the San Francisco Main Library and the Asian Art Museum
  • Departure Time: 9:00 a.m.
  • Duration: 8 hours (approx.)
  • Includes: bike and helmet rental, bottled water, picnic lunch, van transport to and from San Francisco
We recommend this tour for those who love the outdoors and who prefer to be up close and personal with nature, rather than being cooped up in a vehicle. It’s also an attractive option for those who enjoy a personalized, small-group setting. Also, for those who want to learn about wine making, but don’t plan to indulge in tastings, this tour is ideal, as the price of wine tasting is not included in the tour price.

Starting your day, a shuttle will transport you to one of three areas in the Northern California wine country – Dry Creek Valley which is known for its Zinfandel; the Russian River Valley, renowned for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, or Napa which produces a variety of wines.

Your bike tour will cover 10-15 scenic miles, taking you by sprawling vineyards and over rolling hills. A local sommelier rides alongside you, providing your group with a friendly, informative experience. In the event you or someone in your group needs a break, the shuttle stays nearby at all times.

Along your way, the group will stop for a shaded picnic lunch which may include a selection of cheeses, charcuterie, fresh bread, and green salad.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

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#6 Small-Group Napa Wine Tour With Castello di Amorosa and Lunch

small-group-napa-wine

Small-Group Napa Wine Tour With Castello di Amorosa and Lunch at a Glance:

  • Departure Points/Times: Union Square at 7:45 a.m. or Fisherman’s Wharf at 8:05 a.m. (Optional hotel pick-up)
  • Duration: 9 hours (approx)
  • Includes: driver/guide, tour, picnic lunch, transport via luxury minibus
Recommended for the wine lover who prefers the personalized touch of a small-group tour, this wine-themed day trip will take you on a visit to three award-winning wineries- V. Sattui, Robert Mondavi, and Castello di Amorosa.

Castello di Amorosa will enchant your romantic side with its 13th-century inspired architecture and the stunning views from the winery’s grounds. Its chapel, armory, and torture chamber combine to create a realistic replication of a true castle.

The V. Sattui Winery, located in the quaint town of St. Helena, has gorgeous grounds with ivy climbing up the winery’s stone walls. There’s a lovely shaded sitting area where you’ll enjoy a delicious picnic.

Robert Mondavi needs no introduction, as the winery has practically become a household name. On the tour of this winery, you’ll see displays of impressive artwork and enjoy superb views.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

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#7 Private Sonoma and Napa Wine Tour from San Francisco

private-sonoma

Private Sonoma and Napa Wine Tour from San Francisco at a Glance:

  • Departure Point: San Francisco area hotels, residences, and major landmarks Departure Times: 9:00 a.m, 9:30 a.m, 10:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m.
  • Duration: 8 hours (approx)
  • Includes: Pre-travel consultation, wine tour itinerary, wine tastings (from select wineries), 1-2 bottles of wine (depending on tour selected), chauffeured private vehicle
We recommend this tour for those who would like to customize their wine tour itinerary; those who prefer an intimate, exclusive experience; and those who enjoy the freedom of being on their own timetable.

This private tour can accommodate groups of up to 7 people. Your group will visit several wineries from an array of pre-set itineraries; or you can design a personalized itinerary that will better meet your individual preferences through a pre-travel consultation.

Your private day trip will begin when you and your party are picked up in a luxury SUV at the place of your choosing. Enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine at the outset of your trip, or save it to enjoy at the end of your day.

During this tour, your chauffeur will take you to 5 different wineries. Because this is a personalized tour, there is no need to rush to keep up with the group. Tour each winery at your own pace. Stop for lunch or a snack on your own timetable. Your driver will be able to give insider tips on the best places in the area.

Your tour will end at your original pick-up location or another location according to your instruction.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


Your Guide to Visiting San Francisco

best wine tours from san francisco


Airports & Entry

Located just 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco, the San Francisco International Airport, receives flights from all over the world; making the city highly accessible to would-be visitors.

There are multiple options for transport from the airport to the city. BART is a rail system that offers service between the airport and the city, as well as to the surrounding Bay Area.

San Mateo County’s transit agency, SamTrans, provides bus service from the airport to Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco.

A taxi or other car-for-hire service such as Uber or Lyft are other options.

Planning Tips

Consider what you’d like to do before packing your suitcase. Do you plan to head to the beach, expect to dine in an elegant restaurant, or attend the symphony while you’re in San Francisco?

Not only should your plans guide you in what to pack, you should also purchase tour tickets and make reservations in advance, for those things you definitely don’t want to miss out on.


Restaurants & Eating Out

The San Francisco food scene will please the picky eater and foodie alike. Whether you prefer basic American grub or are into international cuisine, there’s a huge selection to choose from.

For cheap eats you may consider a deli like the popular Molinari Delicatessen. For a slice of pie on the go, check out Golden Boy Pizza.

If you’d like to treat yourself to an evening of fine dining, Kokkari Estiatorio offers a delectable Mediterranean menu; and Seven Hills is superb for seafood.

As far as moderately-priced establishments go, give La Ciccia, an intimate Italian restaurant, a try. Other great mid-range places include Hog Island Oyster Company for delicious seafood or Roam Artisan Burgers for, well, burgers (vegan options available).


Nightlife & Entertainment

There is no lack of after-hours entertainment in this active city. The performances at the Marrakech Magic Theater combine magic, illusion, and comedy for a thoroughly entertaining experience.

A great place to relax with an adult beverage is the Cityscape Bar & Lounge, which has gorgeous nighttime views of the city.

If you plan to make room for some culture during your visit to San Francisco, both the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera give outstanding performances in their respective artforms.


Getting Around

San Francisco has an excellent public transport system, so there’s no reason to go the rental car route. Public transport options include buses, streetcars, cable cars, light rail, and trolley coaches. Of course, taxis and services like Lyft and Uber are available as well.

If you do plan to go with a rental car, rental agencies abound. Depending on the neighborhood and time of day though, you may find it challenging to find available, affordable parking.


Accommodations

San Francisco offers accommodations for all budgets- from basic camping sites in Angel Island and Samuel P Taylor State Parks for those who okay with roughing it, to ultra-exclusive hotels like Fairmont Heritage Place in Ghirardelli Square.

Economically-minded travelers might want to check out area hostels like the highly-rated Green Tortoise Hostel, or a mid-range option such as the chic Scarlet Huntington boutique hotel or the Victorian-styled Queen Anne Hotel.


Weather

As a general rule, the Bay Area doesn’t get much rain, with very little rainfall from May to September. The area’s average temperature remains moderate throughout the year, with highs in the 60’s and 70’s and lows ranging in the 40’s and 50’s, year round.


Attractions

A trip to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without snapping a selfie with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as your backdrop. Other must-sees include the notorious Alcatraz prison; Fisherman’s Wharf for sightseeing and shopping; Lombard Street, known as the “crookedest street” in the world; and a ride on the city’s world-famous cable cars.

Other fun things to do include the San Francisco Zoo and the Sea Lion Center. There are loads of parks and gardens where you can meander or enjoy a picnic lunch, such as the unique Japanese Tea Garden and the seaside park Land’s End.

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Rich Remick

I work part time as an IT security consultant. Luckily I can work from anywhere so I go back and forth between Colorado and Florida. I get my fix of skiing, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.

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