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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.”

Fall Crush Creates Buzz in Wine Country

Fall is a magical time of year in Wine Country, which is why everyone who visits San Francisco should make sure to head north to Napa and Sonoma valleys.

Just when summer vacations come to an end and tourist season begins to slow, fall crush takes over Wine Country, adding an exciting burst of color and vibrancy to the region. You probably won’t witness women in long skirts stomping grapes, but you’ll likely see workers in vineyards handpicking fruit and bins of grapes waiting to be crushed by machines that can even remove the stems.

“Fall is not only an incredibly stunning time of year to plan a Wine Country trip, but it is potentially the best time of year for visitors to catch an in-person glance at the winemaking side of things,” says Marissa Napierski, who works in hospitality and sales for Hagafen Cellars in Napa. “It’s one thing to hear stories and explanations, but it’s even more engaging to be able to see the winemaking teams in action.”

Green Dream Tours - Wine making, David stirring grapesAt Homewood Winery in Sonoma, our guests got to see David Homewood stirring Pinot Noir grapes picked from the property that morning. He made the punch-down instrument himself. After the grapes were punched down by Dave, he lets the juice sit with the skins until it morphs into the exact right color and flavors before being put into barrels. Then from barrels to bottles!

When our small-group tour recently visited Peter Cellars in Sonoma, harvest was also in full swing. Newly picked grapes were being moved from bins to cylinders for crushing. Peter Cellars relies on Old World winemaking techniques, which Peter learned in France before settling in Sonoma Valley.

At Hagafen, the extra work that always accompanies harvest brings out the best in everyone who works at the boutique winery from top to bottom.

Green Dream Tours - Grapes“If there is one thing we pride ourselves on at Hagafen, it’s teamwork,” says Marissa.  “From the vineyard and cellar team to the front of house staff, we all seem to be in a happier state of mind. It must be something in the air.”

To learn more about the fall crush in Wine Country, book a tour today. Green Dream Tours is a TripAdvisor Hall of Fame member and has helped more than 40,000 guests experience Napa and Sonoma valleys over the past 10 years.