While exploring the world-renowned vineyards of Napa Valley and sampling some of the finest wines in the USA is an experience that would excite any wine lover, there is one flaw – how to ensure you both enjoy wine tastings and travel safely?
Napa Valley attracts close to five million visitors a year with the lure of sun-kissed Californian weather, picturesque scenery and over 450 wineries scattered across 45,000+ acres of vineyards – not to mention the region’s outstanding restaurants, hotels and luxury spas.With so many fine wines to sample and an equal number of attractions in the Golden State, appointing a designated Napa wine tour driver has become an increasingly popular way to discover the region accompanied by a seasoned professional guide – without putting anyone at risk.
Personalised drivers are often available at a fraction of the cost of standard wine tours, and can be hired to either drive the vehicle that you are using or a car from their own fleet – with options ranging from standard sedan rentals to VIP style limousine services.As well as guaranteeing against the dangers of driving under the influence, a Napa wine tour driver can take care of navigating and will know where preferred wineries in the Valley are – while also arranging advanced wine tasting appointments if necessary.Although vineyards in Napa are home to some large-scale producers such as Beringer, Robert Mondavi Winery and Sutter Home, most of the wineries are small, boutique estates specialising in hand crafted premium wines.
The region is famed for its Cabernet Sauvignon, known locally as the classic ‘Nap Cab’, defined by its savoury, smoky and peppered undertones with dark berry and mocha flavours. Among the other main grape varieties that are grown in Napa Valley vineyards are Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah, while white wine styles include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.That is quite a collection of wines to work your way through, making the opportunity to use a Napa wine tour driver eve more appealing – especially when many will collect you from wherever you are staying and can take you to wineries, breweries, dinner parties or nightclubs of your choosing.
All drivers are licensed and insured to drive your personal vehicle, while the logistics of driving, directions and parking can be ignored so that you can enjoy your wine tasting experience without stress. Many companies offer local Napa wine tour drivers who are well schooled in the ways of wine and will be able to explain the characteristics of the region and its wines while recommending the best Napa wineries to visit and answering any questions that you may have.There are 16 designated sub-regions (including two that creep into the neighbouring Sonoma and Solano Counties), which can be explored – among the most important of these are Oakville, Stag’s Leap, Howell Mountain and Rutherford.The region is also revered for its world class dining, with more than 14 restaurants carrying at least one Michelin star, and two restaurants having three stars each. Several celebrity chefs such as Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence and Masaharu Morimoto also own restaurants in the Valley – creating more opportunities to use a designated driver.
Wine tasting in Napa Valley is considered to be less formal than typical degustations in France, although most wineries have impeccable tasting rooms where premium wines can be sampled – often accompanied by some of the gastronomic food that the region is also renowned for.
If you are interested in hiring a Napa wine tour driver, contact Wine Paths for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke trip that can be enjoyed from the comfort of the back seat.
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