The entrance gates to Inglewood Winery in Napa, California.

Estate of Affairs: The Napa Valley Wine Train Estate Tour

November 4, 2019
History & Culture Tasting & Learning

Stately properties. Grand estates. Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Napa Valley. Discover the winemaking traditions that make California grapes sing on our impressive Estate Tour. Let the Napa Valley Wine Train take you to three celebrated wineries with roots dating back to the 1800s. Indulge in a decadent four-course meal in a lavishly appointed rail carriage and be transported to the most exquisite estates in the Valley.

The Wineries

Entrance to Domaine Chandon winery in Napa.

First stop: the revered Domaine Chandon, a leader of California sparkling wine, founded in 1973 by Champagne house Moët & Chandon. The exquisite architecture, lush landscape, and picturesque location in Napa Valley are sure to catch your eye. Here, you’ll get to go behind the scenes in the world of sparkling wines and the grapes used to make them.

Next, discover the whimsical elegance of Raymond Vineyards where your senses will be delighted by the living educational Theatre of Nature garden, sparkling Crystal Cellar, lush Red Room, and—of course—delicious wines.

Last but not least, we welcome you to Inglenook. A legacy built in 1879 when Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish sea captain and wine connoisseur, came to Rutherford to build a wine estate that would rival Europe’s finest. Today, the stately chateau and vineyard has been lovingly restored to its original splendor by director Francis Ford Coppola and his wife Eleanor.

The Wine

The entrance gates to Inglewood Winery in Napa, California.

In true pioneering spirit, the founders of Domaine Chandon set out to combine French winemaking techniques with American entrepreneurship to create the gold standard of California sparkling wine. Sip a traditional Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or Chardonnay, or opt for something new and innovative like their Sweet Star and Sparkling Red. Either way, the brightness of the California terroir is sure to shine through.

The family behind Raymond Vineyards is proud of their pioneering efforts in organic and biodynamic farming. Their Cabernets are approachable and vibrant with rich berry flavors and a balanced, lingering finish. Celebrate five generations of Raymond winemakers with the Generations Chardonnay—the winery’s ultimate expression of the varietal using 100% Chardonnay grapes.

The Gustave Niebaum Cabernet Sauvignon—first planted on the property in the 1880—awaits at Inglenook. Production began in 1978 and helped restore the estate’s legacy of crafting world-class wines. An elegant blend from the finest vineyard blocks, it showcases notes of black cherries, blackberries, and other dark fruits, with subtle nuances of vanilla bean, mocha, and allspice. Absolutely pleasing on the palate, it pairs perfectly with the end of your adventure.

The Tour

Blue velvet lounge seats and mahogany tables in a dining railcar.

The Estate Tour is one of our full-day winery tours, so you have ample time to dine aboard our vintage train, enjoy your picturesque ride through Napa Valley, and get extensive tours of Domaine Chandon and Inglenook. Check-in and boarding begins at 10:15 am, with the train departing promptly at 10:45 am. Once aboard our gourmet dining car, you’ll be treated to a multi-course gourmet lunch. 

Start your meal with a refreshing glass of sparkling wine and a light breakfast trio of ciabatta and smoked salmon, Greek yogurt smoothie, and steel-cut oatmeal brûlée. Afterwards, you’ll arrive at Yountville where your private tour of Domaine Chandon will begin. You’ll have one hour to tour, taste, and take in all of the magic of the charming architecture before boarding for your next course. 

Indulge in a decadent asparagus bisque with white truffle oil and aged parmesan alongside mixed greens with mission figs, spiced walnuts, and Point Reyes blue cheese before our stop at Raymond Vineyards to tour their art-laden grounds and lush, decadent spaces before tasting their creative and palate-pleasing wines.

A magnificent meal is waiting for you back on board, with your choice of grilled local duck sausage with buttered leek-potato ragout or pan-roasted cod in a plum tomato fennel broth. Once your appetite is sated, we make our final stop at Inglenook for an hour spent exploring the chateau and vineyard while sipping some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon the region has to offer.

A gourmet lunch wouldn’t be complete without something sweet, so as the train rolls down the track, taking you back, you’ll finish your meal with a selection of fresh, handmade pastries and desserts. Coffee and tea service is also offered. 

 

Book your Estate Winery Tour online or call 1-800-427-4124.