This post compares and reviews wine tours to and of Napa Valley. The area is a beautiful part of California that boasts some of the most impressive wineries in the country. There are many companies leading both group and private wine tours of the area. The cost of each tour, the pick-up/drop-off locations, and the featured vineyards all vary immensely depending on which tour you select. We hope that this post encourages you to visit and helps you decide how best to get there!
Group Napa Valley Wine Tours
Though private tours of Napa Valley are more common, there are still a handful of companies that offer group tours. Of the companies listed below, Wine Country Tour Shuttle, Platypus Wine Tours, Napa Valley Wine Country Tours, and Beau Wine Tours visit 4 different wineries, have the capacity to accommodate 10-12 guests, and are lead by qualified guides. A picnic lunch is also included in the price of each of these tour. Platypus Tours and Napa Valley Wine Country Tours also serve guests a cheese platter and breakfast with mimosas, respectively. Wine tasting fees are not included in the cost of any of these tours, and usually run about $15 per person at each stop.
Gray Line and Tower Tours, on the other hand, run full coach tours to 3 different wineries. Wine tasting fees are included in the price of these tours, though lunch is not. Below the companies are listed in order of price, from cheapest to most expensive.
CitySightseeing Tours are classic hop-off, hop-on bus tours that take visitors to several different tourist destinations. They offer half day and full-day tour of Napa Valley, as well as a combination day tour to both Napa and Muir Woods. The half day and combination tour options visit 2-3 wineries, while the full day tour visits 4. The first wine tasting fee is included in the price of the full and half day tours, but all additional tastings must be paid for separately. This outfit offers complimentary hotel pick-up from San Francisco.
- Half Day Napa Valley Tour- $74.99 per person, including 1 wine tasting fee
- Full Day Napa Valley Tour - $99.99 per person, including 1 wine tasting fee
- Muir Woods and Napa Valley Tour - $124.99 per person, including 2 wine tasting fees
Pick-up/Drop-off: Complimentary hotel pickup from San Francisco.
Reviews: Tours to Napa Valley with CitySightseeing receive generally positive reviews, with many guests praising the ease of transportation. The quality of the guided commentary varies depending on the driver, though most visitors find it informative and enjoyable. Some guests had trouble hearing the driver due to a poor PA system on the bus. Overall, visitors who traveled with CitySightseeing found the experience very enjoyable and straightforward. TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5 stars.
This is one of the newest tour companies in the Bay Area, and one of their services just so happens to be a day trip to the Napa & Sonoma Valleys.
At 9 hours in length, this is an extensive outing which includes several opportunities to taste wine and learn about how it is made.
Groups are kept at a maximum of 12 guests to make sure that the tour doesn't get too crowded.
- $229 per person
- Duration: 9 hours
- Includes a trip to Napa Valley.
- Includes a trip to Sonoma Valley.
- Includes wine tastings at three wineries.
Although they don't currently have any reviews for this specific tour, Take Walks regularly receives excellent ratings from their customers.
Many guests are impressed with their tour guides, describing them as entertaining and informative.
Wine Country Tour Shuttle
Wine Country Tour Shuttle offers 2 different wine tours around Napa Valley. The first is with Robert Mondavi Winery and the second is with Castello di Amorosa. Both include 4 stops at different vineyards, a picnic lunch, and a knowledgeable guide. Of all the group tours included on this list, this company is the most affordable at just $79 and $89 per person. Wine tasting fees, gratuities, and the entrance fee for visiting Castello di Amorosa ($20) is not included in the price of the tour.
- Napa Valley Tour with Castello di Amorosa - $79 per person, excluding wine tasting fees
- Napa Valley Tour with Robert Mondavi Winery - $89 per person, excluding wine tasting fees
- Napa Valley Tour with Castello di Amorosa - The Ferry Building, though they will call a taxi company on your behalf to pick you up at your hotel and drop at first winery
- Napa Valley Tour with Robert Mondavi Winery - Pick-up available from almost any Napa Valley hotel
Reviews: Reviews are generally very positive, as many guests comment on the impressive knowledge of the guides and the beautiful views seen on the drive. On rare occasions, guests report having their tours canceled at the last minute, though complaints of this sort are few and far between. Of their two tours on offer, the Napa Valley Tour with Castello di Amorosa is the most popular. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.
Gray Line Tours
In addition to their many other bus tours, Gray Line also offers a Deluxe Sonoma & Napa Valley Wine Country Tour. Guests visit 3 different wineries and are given free time to explore and have lunch in Yountville. Unlike many of the other companies, the wine tasting fees are included in this tour. However, the 'tour' at each vineyard is limited to a presentation by a representative and wine tasting, rather than of the wine making process itself. Also, this group tour is much larger than most, with capacity for more than 40 guests. As Gray Line offers to collect guests directly from their hotel in San Francisco, this is a great option for those who aren't staying in Napa and don't feel comfortable traveling their on their own.
Cost: $91 per person, including wine tasting fees but excluding lunch
Drop-off/Pick-up: Pick-up/drop-off from any San Francisco hotel
Reviews: Reviews of Gray Line's wine tour are generally very positive. Guests praise the knowledgeable drive-guide and the ease by which they were able to visit several wineries from San Francisco. Some complain about the lack of intimacy, however, that is inevitably the trade off for such an affordable tour that also includes wine tasting fees. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars.
Tower Tours offer a Napa & Sonoma Wine Country which visits 3 different wineries and offers complimentary shuttle pick up from most San Francisco hotels. Similar to Gray Line Tours, this tour accommodates a large number of people and thus isn't quite as intimate as some of the other companies. Wine tasting fees at each vineyard is included in the price of the tour, however, lunch is not. After a brief presentation and wine tasting, guests are given 1 hour to explore the winery and complete any purchases of their choosing. Like Gray Line Tours, the presentation does not include any insight into how the wine is made.
Cost: $91 per person
Drop-off/Pick-up: Complimentary shuttle pickup from most San Francisco hotels.
Reviews: Reviews of Tower Tours are relatively positive as guests praise the guides and the selection of wineries. Some comment that they wish there was more information regarding the wine making process, however, this is more of an issue to be taken up with the wineries rather than the tour company. Overall, guests seem very pleased with this affordable wine tour! TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars.
Extranomical Tours offers full day tours to both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. Their trips include complimentary hotel pickup, a guided tour of San Francisco's wine country, and wine tasting fees at at least 2 different wineries. Wine country tours can also be combined with other popular tourist destinations such as Muir Woods and Alcatraz. Lunch is included in the price of some of their tours, so be sure to clarify if this is the case.
San Francisco Wine Lover's Tour
- From $138 per person
- 9 hours, departing daily
- More info and to book.
Muir Woods and Wine Country (Sonoma and Napa Valley
- From $102 per person
- 9 hours, departing daily
- More info to book
Wine Lover's Tour and Alcatraz Ticket
- From $147 per person
- 9 hours, departing daily
- More info to book
Reviews: Extranomical Tours has a great reputation, boasting 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor and a 4-star rating on Yelp. The handful of negative reviews are mostly centered around scheduling conflicts, however these issues are often difficult to predict, especially considering the heavy traffic coming in and out of San Francisco. Considering this is the only real complaint, the company is obviously doing pretty well. Almost every other similar service has received complaints about the bus either being late or broken, so it’s worth noting that Extranomical does not appear to have these problems. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.
Napa Valley Wine Country Tours
Napa Valley Wine Country Tours offer 2 different types of wine tour of Napa Valley -- the first departing from San Francisco and the second departing from Napa. Each operates daily and visits 4 premium vineyards in Napa Valley, includes a picnic style lunch, and features a knowledgable driver-guide. The wine tour that departs from San Francisco also includes a "mimosa wine country breakfast", which is served on the bus and features bagels, croissants, fresh fruit, and a mimosa. Gratuity and wine tasting fees not included in either tour.
- San Francisco to Wine Country Tour - $99 per person, plus wine tasting fees.
- Napa Valley Daily Wine Country Tour - $99 per person, plus wine tasting fees.
- San Francisco to Wine Country Tour - Union Square OR Pier 39
- Napa Valley Daily Wine Country Tour - Pick-up available from almost any Napa Valley hotel
Reviews: Reviews are also very positive for Napa Valley Wine Country Tours, as several guests comment on the outstanding customer service and unbeatable quality of guides. Some guests write: "hands down the best wine tour ever." Though a few reviewers critcized the price of the tour, this company actually offers one of the most competitive priced tours of Napa Valley. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Platypus Wine Tours
Platypus Wine Tours is the top rated wine tour company on TripAdvisor and offers group tours of Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and North Sonoma. The Napa Valley tour visits 4 different wineries, dedicating roughly an hour at each one. In addition to a knowledgable guide, the tour also features a picnic lunch, as well as a cheese platter served on the bus. Groups are limited to 10 guests, ensuring that the experience is always intimate. Expect to pay $10-$15 at each stop for the wine tasting, in addition to any bottles you wish to purchase.
Cost: $110 per person, not including wine tasting fees
Pick-up/Drop-off: Platypus Tours will pick up from almost any hotel or inn in Napa Valley. For those travelling from San Francisco, Platypus Tours dispatches a bus to collect guests a Vallejo Ferry Terminal. Guests simply must go to San Francisco Ferry Marketplace Building, take the ferry to Vallejo Ferry Terminal, and then wait to be collected by the Platypus Tours bus.
Reviews: Platypus Tours has an outstanding reputation, with a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and several thousand reviews. Former guests comment that "there can't be a better wine tour out there" and ask "is it possible to have too much fun??". Though complaints are few and far between, some guests felt the tour was overpriced and that the wine tasting should have been included in the fee. However, it is very common for all wine tours to exclude the wine tasting fees in the cost of the tour. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Beau Wine Tours
Though they specialize primarily in private luxury wine tours, Beau Wine Tours also offers a group tour to Napa Valley. Guests are brought to 4 different vineyards, are accompanied by a qualified guide, and given champagne and a picnic lunch. The price of the tour does not include the wine tasting fees or any gratuity for the guide. Drivers typically call guests prior to the tour to inquire about their wine and vineyard preferences, so that the tour is as customized as possible (though there is no guarantee that the guide will be able to accommodate everyone's wishes).
Cost: $125 per person, not including wine tasting fees.
Pick-up/Drop-off: Beau Wine Tours will pick up from almost any hotel or inn in Napa Valley. For those travelling from San Francisco, Beau Wine Tours dispatches a bus to collect guests a Vallejo Ferry Terminal. Guests simply must go to San Francisco Ferry Marketplace Building, take the ferry to Vallejo Ferry Terminal, and then wait to be collected by the Beau Wine Tours bus.
Reviews: Beau Wine Tours also receive excellent reviews, with many guests praising the company's outstanding customer service. Though their group tour is not as popular as their private tours, there are still several positive reviews from guests who have used their group tour service. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Private Napa Valley Wine Tours
Though private tours may appear significantly more expensive than any of the group tour offers, they can be a reasonable alternative for those already travelling as a group. There are several different companies that offer private tours of Napa Valley. Occasionally there are 'hidden fees' in the form of tax, wine tasting fees, the cost of the fuel, and any other number of things, so be sure to clarify what is included in the cost of the tour.
Squire Livery Tours
Squire Livery Tours markets itself as a luxury wine tour company that offers bespoke, private tours of Napa Valley. The company is run by Kent, a Napa Valley native whose knowledge and passion for wine goes nearly unmatched. Guests can design their personalized tours with the help of Kent and his team. There is a 6 hour minimum tour length.
Cost: $85 per hour with a 6 hour minimum tour length
Pick-up/Drop-off: Pick-up available from any accommodation in Napa Valley. Those staying outside of Napa Valley must find their own means of transportation to Napa Valley.
Reviews: Squire Livery Tours has an outstanding reputation with no ratings below 5 stars on TripAdvisor to date. Customers rave about the knowledge of the guides and the ease of the trip, as Kent and his team organize all of the minute details of the tour. Many reviewers say that they felt like they had "made a new friend and built a lasting relationship" after a day with their guide. Several guests are return customers who were eager to use Squire Livery Tours again. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Beau Wine Tours
In addition to their group tours, Beau Wine Tours offers several different customizable private tours of Napa Valley. Guests can choose their departure location, the wineries they wish to visit, and the number of days they hope to explore the area. Prices vary immensely, so it is best to get a quote directly from the company.
Pick-up/Drop-off: Pick-up/drop-off available from almost anywhere in Napa or San Francisco.
Reviews: Beau Wine Tours also receive excellent reviews, with many guests praising the company’s outstanding customer service. They are particularly well known for their private tours, which receive several positive reviews from guests who have used their group tour service. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Flex Wine Tours
All Flex Wine tours are led by sommeliers who curate each tour based on the personal wine and travel preferences of the guests. After consulting with one of their representatives, an itinerary is developed to suit the specific needs of the customer. Premium waters, drinks, snacks & palate cleansers are available on-board. Flex Wine Tours also provides guests with videos and photos of their trip for no additional cost.
Pick-up/Drop-off: Pick-up/drop-off available from almost anywhere in Napa.
Reviews: Reviews are also very positive for this company, with many guests complimenting the "intimate knowledge" of the guides, as well as the "extremely professional customer experience." For some, the price of the tour seemed especially steep. However, Flex Wine Tours' rates are fairly standard for a bespoke private tour company of this area. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Intimate Wine Tours
Intimate Wine Tours specialize in fully customized, private tours of Napa and Sonoma. Guides are fully qualified and the company boasts that they offer "the most affordable and discounted rates within the industry." Guests collaborate with Intimate Wine Tours to design an itinerary that features any combination of 9 different wineries.
Pick-up/Drop-off: Pick-up/drop-off available from anywhere in Napa.
Reviews: The reviews for this company are excellent, as many former customers vow to never visit Napa without Intimate Wine Tours! Other guests say "words don't even do it justice with what a great time we had." The odd complaint is very rare and usually describes a very abnormal circumstance. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Napa Your Way
Napa Your Way is a small, family run wine tour company that specializes in trips around Napa Valley. They make a particular effort to bring visitors to smaller, lesser-known wineries rather than those run by large companies. Guests can also add on a lunch or dinner stop to their tour for additional fees.
Cost: $80 per hour, plus a remote destination fee of $75 each way. Wine tasting fees not included.
Pick-up/Drop-off: Pick-up/drop-off available from anywhere in Napa.
Reviews: Napa Your Way receives excellent reviews, with many guests praising Brad, the owner and main guide of the company, for being so knowledgable and for having the ability to "make small miracles happen." This company truly specializes in making each tour as unique and personal as possible, and all of their 5 star reviews are evidence of that success! TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.
Things to Know
- Confirm what exactly is included in the cost and what is not. For example, the price of group tours often does not include wine tasting fees, and the price of private tours often does not include the cost of gas. It is important to know the approximate cost of the day so that guests can plan accordingly.
- Don't forget ID! The last thing you want is to pay for a wine tour and then not be able to drink the wine!
- Do your research beforehand. Though some group tours have a set list of wineries that they visit, some group tours and all private tours will try to accommodate any requests made by the guests. If there is a particular winery you want to visit, read up on it beforehand and ask your guide if it could be done.
Deals and Discounts
For the budget conscious traveller, there are several websites that regularly offer discounts on wine tours of Napa. Here are some of the best websites to browse through in search a deal:
Smart Destinations sells a Go San Francisco Card that is valid for 1 of either of the following tours: (1) Full Day Northern California Wine Country Tour or (2) Muir Woods and Wine Country Tour. The first costs $95 and allows guests to spend the entire day exploring Napa and Sonoma. The first wine tasting is included in the price of the ticket, but all tastings that follow must be purchased separately. Additionally, guests can choose to take the Muir Woods and Wine Country Tour, which gives visitors a brief chance to experience both sites.
Groupon, Living Social, GoldStar, and Viator
Additionally, there are several other discount websites such as GroupOn, LivingSocial, GoldStar, and Viator that periodically offer discounted tours of Napa Valley. These companies update their deals on a regular basis, so be sure to check each website to learn more about what special discounts are on offer.
Visiting San Francisco
Most people visiting Napa Valley also spend at least 1 day in San Francisco. We have written several guides and 'how to' posts about visiting San Francisco. Below we've included the articles that we believe are most helpful.
Tours of San Francisco:
Things to Do:
Wine Tours and Other Day Trips from San Francisco