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California’s bucolic Napa Valley is one of the world’s great wine-growing regions, making it a bucket-list travel destination for wine lovers and a must-see for many visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area. Choosing the best wineries to visit can be overwhelming, though, and let’s face it — driving yourself is a drag. (Who wants to be stuck in the designated driver’s seat when there are wine tastings afoot?) A good tour company can offer you a well-selected itinerary, insider advantages, and crucially, a designated driver so you can taste all the wines you’d like. Take a look below and find the best Napa Valley tours to book on Viator.
01 of 09
This full-day tour takes you from San Francisco into the famed wine regions of Napa and Sonoma. It’s a relaxing day that brings you to three very different but equally lovely wineries at a leisurely pace: Nicholson Ranch Winery, the Madonna Estate and Sutter Home Vineyards. For lunch, your coach will stop in Napa’s adorable Yountville, where you can select for yourself among the village’s many tempting offerings.
02 of 09
Get a bird’s-eye view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the rolling vine-covered hills of Napa as you swoop into Jamieson Ranch Vineyards in a private helicopter. You’ll spend the afternoon indulging in an expert-hosted wine tasting complete Spanish tapas-style food pairings, all on the gorgeous veranda of this beautiful winery, overlooking the fields of plump grapes in the distance. The tour only lasts three hours, but because helicopter travel is much faster than land vehicles, you get a whole lot of winery time for your investment.
03 of 09
If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, check out this discount tour, combining a trip to view the immense redwoods in Muir Woods with an afternoon in Sonoma and Napa. The tour starts with a hotel pickup early in the morning followed by a one-hour guided nature walk in Muir Woods. Next up: a drive to Sonoma for a first winery visit, followed by an optional lunch pairing at a local restaurant or some free time to pick up some lunch on your own. After lunch, two more winery visits in the Napa region fill your afternoon, after which you’ll be driven back to your hotel for, presumably, a much-needed nap.
04 of 09
A hearty continental-plus-mimosas breakfast and a gourmet wine country picnic lunch are included on this party-bus tour from San Francisco out to wine country. Guests will visit four separate wineries for tastings, as well as Olive Press, an olive oil producer, and Sonoma CornerStone, an upscale shopping plaza, before being dropped back off in San Francisco. It’s an easy and fun way to see (and taste) a whole lot in a single day without having to worry about all the pesky little details.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
If you prefer something a bit more intimate than a big bus tour, but aren’t quite up for paying the price of a private tour, try this small group tour, which visits three or more of Napa’s finest vineyards in a van that holds 13 passengers. Your knowledgeable host will guide you through the region, with stops for lunch at Sonoma’s cozy Plaza Bistro and a bubbly toast at Domaine Chandon. It’s a classy, luxurious day trip that doesn’t come with a brutal price tag.
06 of 09
Get picked up in a luxury SUV or sedan with up to six of your closest friends at your hotel in San Francisco and enjoy the services of a private chauffeur for the day. The tour company offers some sample itineraries and suggested wineries for your day or you can throw out the whole playbook and choose for yourself (up to five) from all of the wineries that Napa and Sonoma have to offer. Meals are as flexible as everything else, though the planner and the driver will both happily offer suggestions should you need them.
07 of 09
This five-hour bike tour departs from charming Yountville in the morning and takes guests on a guided tour and tasting of two separate wineries in a triangular-ish loop that will involve three to five miles of riding between each stop (Yountville to winery No. 1, winery No. 1 to winery No. 2, winery No. 2 back to Yountville). The rest of the afternoon is free for guests to eat, visit more wineries or shop. High-quality bikes and helmets (as well as some quick safety training) are included in the price of the tour.
08 of 09
Get a whole different look at Napa Valley from the basket of a hot air balloon on this magical sunrise tour. You’ll meet your pilot for a quick pre-flight snack and safety briefing at Domaine Chandon Winery and then it’s up, up and away. After experiencing what is certainly the most spectacular possible views of the vineyards below, you’ll return to the winery for a bountiful brunch and, of course, a toast with the vineyard’s famous sparkling wine.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
This two-day tour includes visits to as many as ten wineries, overnight accommodations in a hotel in downtown Sonoma, a boxed lunch on Day 2 of the tour, a visit to Muir Woods, as well as plenty of free time in which to explore the sweet little towns and world-renowned restaurants that dot wine country. Though the itinerary changes somewhat seasonally, the docket always includes Glen Ellen and Benziger Family wineries, as well as a full afternoon in either Oakville, Yountville or Napa for eating, shopping and exploration. And environmentally-friendly travelers will love that the entire tour is conducted in an eco-friendly biodiesel-fueled minibus.