There is a train in Napa, CA where you can you eat fancy food and visit wineries. It is amazing. It is my new happy place.
The Napa Valley Wine Train was the main event for my bachelorette festivities and it was absolutely perfect. Since most of the trains were built in 1915 and still retain a lot of the original decor I decided that period dress was appropriate. We went for a roaring twenties look because feathers and sequins are always classy. And our style went perfectly with the ambience of both the train and the depot. The depot was great fun because they have a wine shop where you can purchase wine for your trip. If you are visiting I suggest perusing the shop. They do charge a corkage fee to open wine on the train but if you buy the right bottle it ends up being cheaper to do it that way than to buy a bottle on the train. And we had the loveliest server pouring wine for us.
Leaving the depot you cross a love lock bridge to board the train. While love lock bridges have gained popularity in recent years they allegedly date back to a small serbian village at the beginning of World War I. And they definitely add to the old world vibe of train travel that Wine Train is going for.
The train ride included a pre-fixe three course meal and wine for days. All of the food was spectacular and presented beautifully. But the setting was what really made it outstanding. The chairs had this lovely rich upholstery and the huge windows were richly draped. It felt like I was in the dining car of the Orient Express. All that was missing was Hercule Poirot solving a murder.
Our train took us to Grgich Hills Estate, which is run by the vintner responsible for the “Judgement of Paris” win in 1976. In a blind taste test Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay beat out the French Burgundy Chardonnay’s. This was a landmark win for American wine putting us above the level of French wine, which at the time was the gold standard. 2008’s Bottle Shock starring Chris Pine and the dearly departed Alan Rickman takes a lot of poetic license with this story but is definitely required viewing for any oenophile.
Our tour guide at the winery was astounding. he had so much energy and they had crafter the perfect tour that allowed to visit all the different aspects of the winery and tasting wine while we walked.
I had so much fun being all flapper sophisticated with my girls. It honestly is one of the best fashion eras. Getting ready in the morning was a whirlwind of hair curling, feathers, sequins, bold lips, pearl, tassels and mimosas. We also used a lot of nonsense roaring 20s lingo. I think my favorite phrase was “I’ve got legs that go all the way to the floor.” But honestly, look at these ladies! Don’t their legs go right down to the floor??
Grgich Hills Estate even lended some old world charm with perfect lighting in their barrel room and vintage racer that my friend, Phryne, posed elegantly against. We were not allowed to sit in the racer. And in the spirit of not getting thrown out we actually followed the rules.
I also have to say that they had really excellent crackers. You would be surprised the number of wineries I’ve been to with low quality or, gasp, no crackers.
After the winery we were back on the train to return to the depot. They were so nice and let us explore. We had a quick photo shoot on the caboose and along the corridors. It was definitely one of the most exciting parts of the adventure.
All in all it was the perfect event to celebrate my upcoming wedding. I love wine. I love my girlfriends. I love trains. I love the 1920s. I love Lloyd and am so glad he asked me to marry him so that I had an excuse to do all those things!