My boyfriend and I are 23 and are going on a trip to San Francisco in June. We plan to spend one day going up to the wine country and would like some advice. We are wine novices and know little about what one of the day tours entails. Could you inform me of what goes on in a wine tour other than tasting and give me some tips on specific tours and how long we should go? The average tour is 6 or 8 hours. Do you think that we would get bored in 8 hours? All the advice you could give would be much appreciated!
any other info or tips on San Fran would be great too!
If the winery tour at 6 to 8 hours includes transportation to and from San Francisco, than that wouldn't be too bad. You'd probably do 2 or 3 wineries with lunch and transportation. If, however, it is just visiting winery after winery for 8 hours straight, then I could imagine getting bored.
The winery tours I have been on have been the individual wineries tours. They usually last between 1 and 2 hours. You will walk around the winery as someone explains the different types of grapes and how they grow. You will get to see the process for making the wine, and the cellar where they are stored. You will do a tasting (I have done both where you taste throughout the tour and where you do the tasting all at the end). Then you will end in the wine store.
Unfortunately, I haven't done winery tours in Northern California, so I can't comment on specific tours.
Just relax when you're on tours and don't worry. It could be fun and remember, you don't have to act like you're on Houseguest.
the tours that leave from San Francisco do tend to include transport and more than one winery. Any of the wineries up in the Napa Valley are going to be pretty much the same sort of thing, but I'm not a wine person so I'm not much into it.
All in all 6 hours to get up to the Napa valley tool around a couple wineries do the tastings and get back to San Fran probably won't be long enough to leave you bored as long as your interested in Wine.
Be sure to get down to Fisherman's wharf while you're in San Fran. There are a bunch of street performers, shops, sea lions, and great resteraunts down there that are worth checking out.
Hmm, What about the wine estates in Sonoma Valley? Is that not near San Francisco?
If memory serves me both the Sonoma and Napa Valleys are right around 1 hour each way from San Francisco.... I believe the Sonoma is on the way to the Napa or maybe the other way around... either way they are both about an hours drive from there
My friends and I drove up to the Napa Valley from SF a few years ago. I recommend hiring a car in SF and doing it that way. Some of the tours looked a bit intense, to be honest. We just visited a few wineries (the staff in the wineries were just as helpful to us as to the tour groups, let us taste as much as we wanted, and answered any questions we had) and when we got bored we explored some of the area ourselves - stopped off for dinner in a great little restaurant...cant remember where it was, just that I had the best burger Ive ever had with Monterey Jack cheese and some fabulous local wine. YUM!
It's the kind of place that's actually really nice to spend a night in. You should book into some little place in the valley for the night and get talking to some of the locals. It's quite a nice detour from the hustle and bustle of SF.
I enjoyed it anyway, and I dont really claim to know a thing about wine, other than I Like It!
I second what Ian says about SF - Fisherman's Wharf is really lively. Try the sour-dough chowder - sounds not so great, it's delicious!
SF is great - you will love it!
Try to rent a car (however many rental agencies require you to be 25 y.o. or pay extra or something like that). The tour buses will be filled with people in their 50s or older.
I live in San Francisco and have been to Sonoma and Napa often. The benefit of having a car is that if you show up at the winery and have to pay, dont like, or its too packed, you can get in your car and drive to the next one. The tour bus is to structured -- meaning you come and go on their schedule.
I also think you will visit less wineries than is possible if you take a tour bus. If you drive, you should be able to visit 8 wineries in about 5 hours. Some wineries have food to buy, but do some internet research for restaurants. Some will say don't drink or drive, but if you pace yourself, know your limits, and be safe -- you will be ok. Remember Sonoma and Napa counties make their money off selling wine, so the police aren't looking to bust tourists -- that said, if you are driving like a maniac -- you'll get nailed.
Most wineries are free, but some charge $5 or up (sometime you get free stuff).
Send me an email if you'd like more info: firstname.lastname@example.org