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Green Dream Tours Excited About Moscone Center Expansion

With the recent grand reopening of Moscone Center in San Francisco, the entire Bay Area is gearing up for what promises to be an upsurge in convention business. This fact is not lost on Green Dream Tours, which specializes in wine tours from San Francisco to Napa and Sonoma

“It’s always a good idea to take a day off from a convention and enjoy yourself,” says Elie Sasson, owner of Green Dream Tours. “Every trip to San Francisco should include a trip to the Wine Country.”

Green Dream Tours, a member of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame, has been helping convention attendees experience Wine Country for more than 10 years. Small-group tours feature pickups at most hotels near the convention center, and throughout San Francisco’s downtown and Fisherman’s Wharf areas. Public tours also include tasting fees, water, mints, planned stops for lunch, and knowlegable and fun guides.

Most convention attendees spend a few extra days in San Francisco before and after their events. Wine Country tours are a great way to explore beyond the city limits to take advantage of all the Bay Area has to offer. For those traveling with spouses, significant others or family members, wine tours from San Francisco provide those not attending conventions something to look forward to. (Convention attendees pressed for time may even be able to sneak away when sessions are light!)

Groups meeting in San Francisco often seek smaller venues to host private events during major conventions. A private group tour to Wine Country can fill this need, combining local immersion with ready-made entertainment.

Besides an anticipated increase in visitors coming to San Francisco for conventions, the Moscone expansion reflects a renewed commitment to sustainability. Moscone, which is seeking LEED Platinum certification, boasts the largest array of rooftop solor panels in San Francisco. The convention center also harvests water from fog and below the building, and has its own water treatment plant.

Green Dream Tours has been committed to sustainable tourism since its first tour to Sonoma Valley in 2008. Each year, Green Dream Tours purchases carbon offsets that go toward projects such as reforestation, which works to eliminate carbon from the environment. The company also visits many green wineries. In Sonoma, for example, Nicholson Ranch is committed to sustainable farming practices. Starmont Winery and Vineyard is a certified Napa Green Winery, generating electricity from solar panels.

Green Dream Tours is a partner of San Francisco Travel, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. As a locally-owned, small business, Green Dream Tours provides behind-the-scene experiences designed to showcase the vibrant wine regions beyond San Francisco. Among the new features at Moscone Center is a dedicated tourism center where conference attendees can learn about and book tours like those offered by Green Dream Tours.Green Dream Tours

Wine Country tours may be booked online or by calling 415-692-1644. An experienced tour consultant will provide advice on public or private tours, including winery selections, lunch, and visits to landmarks such as Napa’s Oxbow Market and Sonoma Plaza.

“You are guaranteed to have a great time on our wine tour, while escaping the convention routine for a day,” says Elie. “We are the best in the business.”

Private Wine Country Tours Make All Occasions More Special

What kind of Wine Country experience are you seeking? Green Dream Tours creates custom itineraries from San Francisco to Sonoma and Napa that are perfectly paired with your personal tastes and interests.

Whether you’re high on a specific winery or prefer reds over whites, Green Dream Tours will work with you to design a day you’ll never forget. You don’t have to be celebrating anything, but private wine tours are a sure-fire way to elevate all special occasions.

Teri and Daniel Hull took a private wine tour to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. They were visiting San Francisco from Illinois, while Teri’s mom watched their two sons back home.

“We decided to do a Wine Country tour because we had spent a week in Tuscany in the summer of 2016 and we wanted to see what the winery scene in the United States is like,” said Teri. “I had not been on a Wine Country tour in California before, just Italy.”

The Hulls visited two historic wineries in Sonoma: Buena Vista, the oldest commercial winery in California dating to 1857, and Gundlach Bundschu, the state’s second oldest winery. The Hulls also tasted wine at Nicholson Ranch, which is featured on Green Dream public tours.

“Our favorite winery was Nicholson Ranch,” said Hull. “It was a beautiful space both inside and outside. Loved the wines also!”

For lunch, the Hulls headed to Sonoma Plaza, which has more than a dozen eateries lining the historic square. They chose The Girl & the Fig, which is very popular with locals.

“It was delicious and just what we needed after tasting wines all morning,” said Hull. “We ended up buying some of their chutney to bring home.”

Barbara Valbuena is an experienced traveler who was visiting San Francisco from Delaware. She chose to do a private wine tour to the Dry Creek Valley area in northern Sonoma County. Joining her on the tour was her friend, Betty Sherburne.

“We have realized the importance of having a knowledgeable, friendly and courteous guide,” said Valbuena. “We wanted a private car with guide/driver for the two of us. As senior citizens, we prefer our privacy and the opportunity to make our own choices of two outstanding wineries.”

Barbara says she selected Michel-Schlumberger Winery Estate for its attractive garden, Hispanic-style estate and wines. They also tasted wine at family-owned Lambert Bridge, which has a woman winemaker, lavash gardens and a redwood tasting room.

“Delaware law does not allow wine/liquor to be shipped into private homes, which is unfortunate because I would have bought a case of that Chardonnay,” said Barbara. “It was superb when I tasted it again for Thanksgiving dinner. The Lambert Bridge Chardonnay was full of flavor and well bodied with a nice aftertaste.”

For lunch, Barbara and Betty stopped in quaint yet trendy Healdsburg Plaza. They enjoyed an informal lunch at the Costeaux French Bakery. “It was very good and was just the perfect type of place we wanted,” said Barbara.

Besides Wine Country, the tour also featured a drive past San Francisco homes with spectacular bay views, a drive along the Embarcadero, and photo ops at the Palace of Fine Arts and Golden Gate Bridge. 

“The staff at Green Dream Tours was extremely cooperative and helpful in organizing our visit according to our wishes, and they answered my emails promptly,” said Valbuena. “We carry happy memories of our day with our tour guide.”

7 Reasons to Book a San Francisco Wine Tour During the Holidays

San Francisco wine tours are awesome all year long, but the ambience becomes especially celebratory amid the holiday seasons.

Green Dream Tours runs small-group tours from San Francisco to Napa and Sonoma year round. Consider booking a Wine Country tour as a gift to yourself, or better yet, bring along your friends or office mates for a stress-free holiday party.

Here are 7 reasons to book a Wine Country tour over the holidays. 

1. Instant Holiday Party: Whether you’re looking for a girls-day-out activity or a year-end office celebration, a Wine Country Tour is a stress-free way to get the gang together.

2. Great Weather: For those living in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States, you’ll find Wine Country weather very enjoyable. Temperatures often range in the high ’50s and ’60s even in the winter.

3. Wine Country Gifts: Get your holiday shopping out of the way. Our tours visit either Napa’s Oxbow Market or Sonoma Plaza, where a variety of shops feature unique Wine Country gifts for your friends and family.

4. Wine For You & Friends: Speaking of gifts, wine makes a great present during the holidays. Who doesn’t love getting a bottle of wine as a present? And if you have an extra special bottle of wine on hand, it will no doubt be put to good use during planned or impromptu holiday gatherings.

5. Make the Most of Vacation Time: Lots of people have extra days off from work in November and December. A Wine Country tour makes for an easy, fun getaway, whether you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or visiting from afar.       

6. Stress Management: A Wine Country tour will help you cope better with annoying house guests over the holidays. Wine has a way of making every situation better and provides a great excuse to indulge in guilt-free day-drinking.

High-end Wine Tasting7. Festive Cheer: Many wineries decorate for the holidays, so a Wine Country tour will boost your holiday spirit, even if your name is Ebenezer Scrooge. 

Green Dream Tours has taken more than 40,000 guests to Wine Country over the past 10 years. With a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee, Green Dream Tours is a member of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and regarded as the top San Francisco wine tour.

Green Dream Tours Earns Prestigious Spot in TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame

Trip AdvisorGreen Dream Tours has qualified for the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame after earning the Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years.

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in June 2018, San Francisco-based Green Dream Tours has guided more than 30,000 guests to Wine Country. The Certificate of Excellence is based on TripAdvisor’s guest reviews.

“We are very proud to have achieved Hall of Fame status with TripAdvisor,” said Elie Sasson, owner of Green Dream Tours. “We feel that we have worked very hard to achieve this, and that we deserve this recognition.  We also feel that prospective clients will recognize this achievement and want to book with us.”

Green Dream Tours specializes in small-group tours to Napa and Sonoma. All public tours are limited to 14 guests on new luxury buses. The company also offers private tours throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, ranging from one to 25 people. (Larger groups can be accommodated upon request.)Green Dream Tours Vineyard

“We got here because of all of the hard work put in by our team over our 10 years in service,” said Sasson. “We have listened to what our customers want and expect from a wine tour, and have made many improvements over the years.”

According to veteran guide Dylan Haas, the Green Dream Tours ownership allows each guide’s unique personality to flourish and enhance tours, rather than force guides to fit into a specific mold.

“We each have a unique passion for service, guiding and wine that is rooted in our unique personalities,” said Haas. “So each guide and each tour is different, but each has the common theme of passion for quality and service.

Tour group, Green Dream Tours, inside the bus“We love and strive to give our guests the best tour of their lives,” said Haas.

Green Dream Tours relies on close relationships with Napa and Sonoma wineries to deliver amazing tours. Wineries range from family-owned estates to organic vineyards to boutique tasting rooms.

 

Here are a few examples of recent guest reviews:

The day was beautiful. The tour guide Robin was knowledgeable and friendly. My husband and I learned a lot about wine. We visited small wineries not the bigger more commercial ones, which I really enjoyed because I felt you had more of a one-on-one service. I would highly recommend this tour!
It was a superb tour where we visit 3 different wineries with diverse perspectives. Skip (our guide) was always helpful, funny, and taught us a lot about Napa, its history, people, etc. We strongly recommend.
This tour exceeded our expectations! Dylan, our tour leader and driver not only made us laugh for 5 hours but he was kind, helpful, and made sure each of us had what we needed. We have been raving about the tour since we got back! Larson Family winery was our favorite spot and the weather was absolutely perfect! Thank you!!!!

 

Fall in the wine country — a special time to visit

Erin Troy, Green Dream tour guide, toasts fall in the vineyard.

Green Dream tour guide Erin Troy toasts fall in the vineyard.

Erin Troy has been leading wine country tours for Green Dream since May of 2012. We spoke to her about what’s going on in the vineyards now.

Can you give us a preview of fall in the wine country?

Harvest is my favorite time of year to be up there. They call it the crush and it’s when Napa and Sonoma are buzzing.

You get to see production going on – from workers hand-picking grapes to truckloads of fruit being delivered to the wineries. It’s one of the most beautiful times in California wine country. The leaves on the vines are turning gold, orange and rust. The angle of the sun produces that golden glow and the air smells like wine.

What questions do your groups ask about the crush?

People want to know when grapes are harvested. It’s an ongoing process starting in late summer and continuing into early fall. The wineries measure the sugar levels of the grapes to decide when they’re ready to pick. In warmer seasons they harvest earlier and when it’s been cooler, they harvest later.

Are there advantages to visiting at this time of year?

The vines turn beautiful oranges and rusts in the fall in California's wine country.

Wine country vineyard wears brilliant fall colors.

It’s a little past the peak summer tourist season, so tasting room visitors get more personal attention. And because it’s harvest time, you’ll see more of the winemaking process. There’s a sense of change in the air as the grapes come to the end of life on the vine and begin the transformation into wine.

What do you like most about leading wine country tours?

I love taking daily tours up to wine country because it’s beautiful and consistently better weather than San Francisco. And, it’s fun meeting visitors from all over the world who are on vacation and in a good mood.

When people have a special request, Green Dream arranges a private tour, so I often get to visit wineries that are not on our usual itinerary.

I’ve always been interested in wine, but being a tour guide has given me more appreciation of what goes into each bottle. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with my tour groups.

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About Green Dream Tours

Discover Judd’s Hill on our
Napa Valley wine tour

We chatted with Todd Rickhoff, wine educator and tasting guru at Judd’s Hill winery in Napa. Here, he shares his insights from more Wine educator at Napa Valley's Judd's Hill Winerythan 30 years in the industry.

Tell us a little about your background in the wine biz . . .

I started in the late 1970s when my brother-in-law bought the Franciscan Winery. Later I went to Durango and Denver, Colorado, and operated retail wine stores there. In 2004, I moved back to the Napa Valley and worked at several prominent wineries.

And then you decided to join Judd’s Hill – why?

After spending time at corporate wineries, it’s fun to be part of a family-run boutique winery. We produce just 3,000 cases a year for our own label and custom-bottle for individuals and grape growers.

Give us a quick family history . . .

In the 1960s, architect Art Finkelstein started making wine at home in LA. He began winning awards and soon his hobby outgrew his garage. That’s when he came to Napa, bought some land and designed and built Whitehall Lane Winery.

But Art really wanted to be a small, custom winemaker, so he sold Whitehall in the mid-80s. A few years later, he started Judd’s Hill which he operates with his son Judd and the rest of his family.

Do you have special events at the winery?

For people who want to go deeper into winemaking, we host Bottle Blending Day Camps. We teach how to make French Bordeaux blends from four different varietals. At the end of the day, they get to cork and label their bottles and take them home.

What is Judd’s Hill known for?

We’re proud of all 18 wines but the mainstays are our Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, Napa Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Learn about