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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.”

Get to Know the “Wise Guides” from Green Dream Tours

Green Dream ToursMeet the Wise Guides.

Green Dream Tours is blessed to have great guides, who are crucial in helping our 10-year-old San Francisco-based company offer fun, small-group tours to Wine Country. Our guides are so popular that we get calls from total strangers asking if they can do a tour with Dylan, for example.

Based on TripAdvisor reviews, Robin’s knowledge of California history is quite impressive. Aaron is regularly applauded for his professionalism. And Heather, who also serves as our fleet manager, knows all the San Francisco hotspots since she was born here.

We thought you’d enjoy getting to know our guides better, so we asked them a few questions to find out what makes them tick. Here’s what we learned:

Heather has worn many hats at Green Dream Tours, but it’s her own travels that have helped shape her guiding style.

“I was born in San Francisco in the Summer of Love. Both my parents were hippies and I lived in Haight Ashbury for the first four years of my life. I started traveling at a very early age. I lived in Greece for a year before moving to Canada to start school. I have lived in many places and in doing so have been able to meet, and can relate to, a wide variety of people.”

Green Dream Tours - Passenger SelfieDylan has been guiding for four years. He’s a rock star, literally. His band is called Midnight Snackers.

“I just knew that I wanted to do anything but the corporate role I was trapped in. I tried some guiding on the weekends at the recommendation of a friend and quickly fell in love with it.  More than any other aspect of guiding, I love the idea of helping someone have a really great day.”


Robin takes pride in tours that are fun and informative.

Green Dream Tours Tour Guide“Being a tour guide, I get to perform before an audience. That may sound conceited, but telling stories is something I enjoy. I realize some people are more interested in the alcohol content than the historical content. I try not to talk too much, but when somebody I’ve only just met comes up to me and says, ‘I wanted to ask you about something you said’—as they say in the old MasterCard campaign, it’s priceless.”

Aaron is a real people-person.

“The thing I love most about guiding is the people I meet and having the opportunity to share their experiences as they visit San Francisco and Wine Country. Being able to listen to their stories and share their experiences here is almost always interesting and refreshing.” 

We asked our guides what they liked most about guiding. Their answers had one common denominator: The People.

Heather says: “I call tour guiding ‘traveling in place.’ I treat every day as a new opportunity to not only make new friends but also to learn about life in other places. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world and bringing them together. Enjoying great wine is a bonus!”

Heather

Green Dream Tours Celebrates 10 Years of Wine Country Tours

High-end Wine TastingHigh-end customer service and a focus on Wine Country have helped San Francisco-based Green Dream Tours carve out a niche in the competitive Northern California tourism space.

Since offering its first Wine Country tours 10 years ago, Green Dream Tours has guided more than 40,000 guests from around the world to Napa and Sonoma valleys. Using 14-passenger luxury buses, the small-group tours visit boutique and family-owned wineries, with a blend of education and fun.

“We are a small operation that focuses on quality over quantity,” says Elie Sasson, owner of Green Dream Tours. “Many companies offer a variety of tours: city tours, Muir Woods/Sausalito, Yosemite, etc. We’ve found that specializing in one area has allowed us to develop the best possible product. It’s easier, in my opinion, to do one thing and do it well than to try to keep too many plates spinning at once.”

Green Dream Tours is regularly recognized for its customer service, including recent qualification for the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame. Based solely on guest reviews, the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame is given for earning the Certificate of Excellence five consecutive years.

Erin Troy is a partner and operations manager at Green Dream Tours. Once a guide herself, Troy has helped shape Green Dream Tours by recruiting tour leaders with personality and passion.

Green Dream Tours, inside the bus“Our guides are awesome, not to mention experienced and knowledgeable,” says Troy.  “It’s incredibly gratifying to receive the continuous stream of amazing feedback and reviews from happy customers.”

Like a fine wine, Green Dream Tours doesn’t rush guides into handling tours solo.

“We want to ensure that they are fully prepared to lead great tours before we send them out on their own,” says Troy. “I don’t know what we would do without our ‘Green Dream Team’ of guides. They are the front and center or our company, and I couldn’t be more appreciative.”

Troy says Green Dream Tours scores high with guests thanks to the Sonoma and Napa wineries the tours visit. Because Green Dream Tours uses smaller, luxury buses, groups are able to visit quaint, off-the-beaten-path vineyards.

Green Dream Tours facilities“I feel so fortunate that we have developed such great relationships with the wineries over the years,” says Troy. “They take such good care of our customers on a daily basis. We’ve become regulars at wineries and it’s nice to receive special treatment for being reliable customers. You can’t offer a wine tour without the wine!”

While Green Dream Tours has made its mark with Wine Country tours, the company may be ready to expand in other areas to take into account changing desires and requests, according to Sasson. For example, Green Dream Tours is already committed to sustainable tourism and may add an experience that combines tourism and volunteering.

“I think the next 10 years will bring more learning and more growth to the company,” says Sasson. “We expect to broaden the scope of our offerings to include the emerging cannabis market. We also want to capitalize on the growing craft beer industry by offering beer tasting and brewery tours.”