March 2013 Trip to California: Napa Valley Wine Train

After our first wonderful night at the beautiful Westin Verasa Napa (I love sleeping in a Westin Heavenly Bed) we headed over the Wine Train Station and checked in for our Ambassador Tour that we had booked from home. We received our tickets and stickers that we were supposed to put on our jackets or whatever.

We then received some information about Napa Valley, the train, its history, and everything inside the station building before boarding was called. We belonged to the first group and headed through the exit and towards the train. On our way pictures were made of each tour member. Yeah, sure, you could have bought the photos afterwards for lots of money, which we, of course, did not do.us-spring-13-0151lg

Waiting area inside train station

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Inside train station

Inside the train we were shown to our table and sat down. We were lucky to have a table for our own and did not have to share it with another couple. Though there is no guarantee for that. The train and the tables were nicely decorated with a fine tablecloth, glassware and silverware. It was amazing!

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Dining car in train

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View of train station

We then ordered our food and decided to taste some Chardonnay (one sample was free). For the first course one could choose between a salad and a soup. Karin had the soup de jour while I had the salad with lettuce, candied walnuts and smoked goat cheese. It was delicious! The soup was also good but I don’t remember what it exactly was.

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Soup

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Salad

For the entree there were five different choices. Roasted beef tenderloin, grilled pork tenderloin, coriander seared breast of chicken, grilled salmon, and winter squash polenta.

Karin had the salmon that came with banana fingerling potatoes and sauteed baby spinach in a coconut curry broth topped with calamari salad. It looked fabulous and was delicious.

 

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Grilled salmon

I decided to have the beef that was nicely presented on black truffle potato cake with onion ribbon and some cambozola cheese. Gosh, that meat was so good! Yummie! I didn’t know that gourmet food could be so good 😉

 

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Beef tenderloin

After lunch we were led to a different car where we sat right in front of a window so we could enjoy the views from our leisurely traveling train (it did not run much faster than 20mph). There we had some tea and our dessert.

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Lounge car

We left the train right next to the Grgich Hills Estate which was nicely decorated in honor of Mike Grgich who celebrated his 90th birthday. Wow! Near the train a motorcoach was waiting to bring us to the Raymond Vineyards and then on to ZD Wines. After touring both properties and tasting their wines we were brought back to the train station in Napa.

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Mike Grgich’s 90th birthday

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Motorcoach

The tours at Raymond and ZD were both very interesting, informative, and entertaining. And I thought that their wines that we were able to taste were indeed very good.

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Raymond Vineyards

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Raymond Vineyards

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ZD Wines

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Wine glass with zero defects

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Leaving ZD Wines

We had a great time and are happy we took this tour. The wine train itself is truly amazing. The Ambassador Tour is not the only tour offered and I guess the others are also very good but I can only speak for this specific tour and have only the best to say about it.