Private Wine Tours Skyrocket During Pandemic
First, the Covid-19 pandemic shut down most tour operators like San Francisco-based Green Dream Tours, and then it reshaped the industry for the foreseeable future.
The silver lining, at least for Green Dream Tours, is that private wine tours have become more popular than ever. In 2019, the last full year of business prior to the pandemic, Green Dream Tours ran less than 150 private tours.
In 2021, that number more than doubled as families and friends crawled out of pandemic hibernation looking for a fun, safe way to gather, often for the first time in a year.
“We are in the business of making memories,” says Elie Sasson, owner of Green Dream Tours. “It makes me take a step back and realize and appreciate the gratifying part of my job, which is to set up trips and tours for people coming to visit San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma. It’s a great feeling to help others have a good time and enjoy their hard-earned vacations!”
The increased number of private tour requests has created an even greater reliance on winery partners. While some wineries in Napa have been slow to open to tour operators and still restrict group sizes to six guests, Green Dream Tours has culled a small group of partners to continue to offer the best Napa Valley tours from San Francisco.
Napa Valley wineries that frequently host Green Dream Tours guests include Bouchaine Vineyards, St. Supery Estate Vineyard & Winery, Domaine Carneros, Castello di Amorosa, Beringer Vineyards, Reid Family Vineyards, The Caves at Soda Canyon and Kieu Hoang Winery.
Green Dream Tours has also expanded partnerships beyond Napa and Sonoma Valley to the Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley wine regions. For large wedding parties based in Santa Rosa, for example, Green Dream Tours relied on Roth Estate Winery, Notre Vue Estate Winery & Vineyards, and Christopher Creek Winery. Roth Estate has become a go-to destination for picnics thanks to its great wine, picnic lunch boxes and amazing hospitality.
With an average of three winery reservations per tour, Green Dream Tours is on track to make close to 500 appointments for private tours in 2021. The Green Dream team spends hours calling wineries throughout Northern California to accommodate the influx of requests. And that doesn’t include lunch reservations and changes in group sizes that require further coordination with guests and wineries.
“Elie is amazing,” says Julia Hellman. “We truly enjoyed our experience with Green Dreams! We got a custom tour with the party bus including an airport pickup. Elie made our vacation unforgettable and we are so thankful for his helpfulness and kindness.”
Green Dream Tours organized two tours for Anthony Domingo when he and his family visited San Francisco. This included a very early morning pickup from his downtown hotel for a hot air balloon ride in Napa Valley.
“Five stars and moons, pop the champagne, high fives all around, stick a fork in it, we thoroughly enjoyed the adventures we had with Green Dream Tours, would do it again in a heartbeat, and we highly recommend their services to others,” says Domingo.
Reviews like these are not lost on Sasson, who works tirelessly to ensure that Green Dream Tours continues to operate the best private wine tours from San Francisco.
“Thank you so much for such wonderful and outstanding reviews. It truly sends chills down my spine. I am so happy that you had such an amazing time and experience, and that I could be a part of making that happen!”