Frequently Asked Questions – Private Wine Tours
How can I determine if you have a tour vehicle available on my preferred tour date?
Please fill out the Tour Quote Form . We'll check the calendar, calculate a price quote and let you know right away (within 24 hours), that your date is available and how much your tour will cost.
How far in advance should I reserve my tour?
There is no set length of time to ensure availability. Saturday and holiday weekends fill up the fastest. Fall is our busiest season, followed closely by summer. Your best strategy is to fill out the Tour Quote Form as soon as you can. If your date is close to filling up, we'll let you know so you can plan accordingly.
From where are you able to pick us up?
We're happy to pick you up from your home or hotel, anywhere in the Napa or Sonoma wine country, in San Francisco, or any other accessible location within 50 or so miles of Napa or Sonoma.
How much will my tour cost?
Your tour cost is calculated hourly, with the hourly rate determined by such factors as your guest count and the day and season of your tour. Lunch is an additional expense, as are wine tasting fees. Gratuity is added on at a rate of 15%.
How many guests can you accommodate?
Our fleet can handle all different sizes of groups large and small, so theoretically there is no limit. However, groups larger than forty guests require us to get a little creative since nearly all of the area wineries have logistical issues hosting groups that large. Give us a call if this is your need.
What if I am not sure about how many guests I will have?
Wine tour group sizes are notoriously unstable. We are happy to work with you as best we can to establish a range of likely attendees and price the tour with that range in mind.
Is the picnic lunch available for the hourly priced charters?
Yes! The picnic lunch may be added to pretty much any wine tour. The price is $18 to $20 per guest, plus gratuity. This is a great way to keep your tour on schedule, since your tour guide can set it all up at a winery while your group is inside tasting.
What are the other options for lunch?
There are several other options for lunch. We can help you select a local restaurant, order your food from a gourmet deli, or arrange for catering. Box lunches are available, or you may elect to bring you own lunch and we'll help you select a suitable site to eat it.
What are wine tasting fees? How much are they?
These fees are charged by wineries to compensate them for the wines they pour. These fees can vary widely from one winery to another. The average tasting fee is currently about $25 to $45 per guest for anywhere from four to nine tastes (an ounce or two).
May I have the tasting fees included on my tour bill?
Yes. We charge a 5% surcharge for this service (on the tasting fees, NOT the whole tour).
How do we choose our wineries?
This process is part art, part science. If there are specific wineries you'd like to see, we'll start there. Some wineries are not group friendly, but may make an occasional exception. Otherwise, we help you select based on your wine preferences, some location considerations, our knowledge of great tasting experiences and a little bit of serendipity.
We like to visit very specific wineries. Is this possible?
Yes! We are happy to accommodate any special requests, providing we have the winery's permission to visit, that the property is accessible to the vehicle and that the itinerary is logistically feasible. Please give us a call, or include your desired wineries in your Tour Quote Form submission.
Which wineries are not group friendly?
These are very nice wineries – they just don't accommodate groups. This list is not complete but includes: Artesa, Cakebread, Caymus, Far Niente, Joseph Phelps, Plumpjack, Rombauer.
What are the best hours to plan for our tour?
The wineries tend to open at 10:00am. Closing time ranges from 4:00 to 6:00pm, with the majority of wineries closing at 5:00pm. Since most wineries get busier and busier as the afternoon progresses, the most successful tours start early: 10:00am to 4:00pm is usually ideal.
How many wineries should we expect to visit?
A typical wine tour lasts about six hours and visits three or four wineries, taking out time to eat lunch (optional). Groups who stay out longer, and/or get in and out of wineries faster can visit more wineries, but it has been our experience that longer visits to fewer, quality wineries usually make for a much more pleasing day.
May we drink alcohol on the bus?
This is not allowed and here's why: when combined with the wines you are tasting at the wineries, this extra drinking very often leads to some members of your group becoming inebriated, getting sick or passing out. Tasting rooms will refuse to serve intoxicated guests and your tour may have to end early.
May we eat on the bus?
Yes, by all means. Have at it! Please let us know in advance if you will need service utensils.
How can I make a reservation?
Start with our Tour Quote Form . We'll confirm that your tour date is available, and then we'll work up a price quote for you. If you like it, let us know and we'll put together a tour contract, then a winery itinerary.
What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellation fees vary depending on the size of your group.
What are your tour vehicles?
Intimate shuttle buses, limousine buses and vans, mostly. We also have access to large tour coaches.
Do you have limousines?
At this time, we do not operate any stretch limousines, sedans or SUVs. We know people who give excellent tours in these kinds of vehicles. Please let us know if you'd like a referral!
Can you arrange airport transportation?
We are not licensed for airport runs. We are happy to refer you to companies who do a great job at this sort of thing. Please drop us a line.
What make a Platypus Tour better than other tours?
We are known for the following:
- Friendly, personable, knowledgeable tour guides and drivers who are truly invested in your group having the best time possible
- Meticulously well-maintained vehicles and safety-focused drivers
- Long-cultivated fantastic relationships with a vast number of wineries, helping us to provide rich, value-added tasting experiences and superb wines for our guests