FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – JOIN-IN TOURS
Visit our Private Wine Tours FAQs page for more information about our custom private and charter tours.
Which wineries will we visit?
There is no set schedule of wineries. Our tour guide/drivers like to customize their tours to take advantage of the best winery experiences available on that day, including special events or limited time programs that we’ll go out of our way to take part in. Our guides take a great deal of pride in the winery itineraries they put together. With so many wonderful wineries in this area, there is no reason to put on a canned wine tour.
May we pick the wineries?
If your group occupies the whole vehicle, we are happy to take you to the wineries of your choice, as long as those wineries permit us to visit that day. If you are sharing the bus with others, your tour driver will take responsibility for planning the best tour day possible for the entire group. We are careful to avoid taking people to places they may have already visited, so be sure to let us know if this is the case.
How do you determine which wineries would be best for our group?
- Rave reviews from previous tour groups.
- Smaller, non-touristy locations
- Excellent wines, moderately priced
- Warm & friendly service
- Perks available (cave tours, barrel-tasting, wine-maker available, etc.)
- We try our best not to visit wineries whose tasting fees exceed $15 per person, though this is not always possible.
How long will we spend at each winery?
No set time. Some winery experiences take longer than others. The average is about an hour at each winery. We’ll spend a little longer at whichever of the wineries we use for our picnic lunch.
Will you pick us up from San Francisco for the Join-In Tour?
No. (sorry!) On certain days of the week, though, you may join us by taking the ferry from Downtown San Francisco to Vallejo. We’ll pick you up at the Vallejo Ferry terminal. More information on our San Francisco Napa Wine Tours by Ferry page. You also have the option to drive in and meet us for the tour.
If we drive in to meet the tour, won’t we be too tipsy to drive at the end of the day?
We advise people who drive in for the day to arrange to hang out and have dinner in the neighborhood in which you’re parked before driving back to your destination. Better yet, you might consider staying at a local inn or B&B. Please contact us for suggestions.
Can we get to one of your pick-up locations by public transit?
This can be challenging, but possible. Please check out these websites for suggestions: http://www.ridethevine.com/regional-routes-schedules/route-11 or www.sctransit.com
What will you serve for the picnic lunch included in the join-In Tour?
This is a light & charming picnic buffet lunch served at one of the wineries we visit on the tour. It consists of deli sandwiches on fresh sliced Ciabatta bread (turkey breast, ham or salami), home made fresh pasta or grain salad, sliced fruits (some combination of apples, pears, Asian pears, pineapple and/or watermelon), a rolled-oat dessert cake and bottled water. Sandwich condiments are served on the side: sliced cheeses, fresh-sliced tomatoes, fresh lettuce, mustard and mayo.
Will you accommodate vegetarians and other dietary restrictions?
Yes! We are rather good at accommodating a variety of dietary needs, particularly dairy and gluten restrictions. Please give us advance notice. We’ll serve a hummus sandwich for vegetarians. The rest of the lunch is already vegetarian.
What’s on the free cheese platter?
Usually three or four savory cheeses. Some of our favorites are Havarti, Gouda, Mediterranean Jack, Romano, Irish Cheddar and Baby Brie. Also on the platter is an assortment of crackers.
Yes. Chilled, bottled water is served on the bus and also with the picnic lunch.
May we have wine with our picnic lunch?
Yes. If you purchase a bottle of wine at the lunch winery, they will open it for you and provide you with glasses.
Your pasta and grain salads are so good! Can I get the recipes?
Will you add any taxes or fuel fees to our tour price?
No taxes. No fuel fees.
What about winery tasting fees?
You should expect to pay tasting fees at the wineries. These fees are charged by the wineries, compensating them for the wines they pour for guests, and typically run about $15 per person, per winery. For more information, please read about Wine Tasting Fees and Coupons.
How about driver gratuity?
For any reservation of four or fewer guests, tipping is at your discretion. If you are pleased with the service and effort put forth by your tour guide, you are most welcome to offer him or her a gratuity. Your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated. For larger groups, we’ll include a 15% gratuity.
With what sorts of people might I expect to share our Platypus Join-In Tour?
You will encounter easy-going, social people who are interested in wine, even if they don’t know much about it. They tend to become even more friendly once they’ve started tasting.
Am I going to look like some kind of a rube if I don’t know how to hold my wine glass?
We’re not sure. Please send us a photo of yourself holding a wine glass so that we can make that determination.
May I bring my child?
Sorry, no. Your child would be confused by a group of tipsy adults singing, ‘Come on Eileen’ when they really don’t know the words. (no one really knows the words…) Fun, yes, but not pretty. Seriously, sometimes we can accommodate children, but most often not. Please give us a call if this is an issue for you.
May I bring my dog?
Service animals are welcome on the tour. We restrict non-service animals because some of our guests are allergic to animals and because many of the wineries have dogs that are sometimes unfriendly to other animals.
Is there room on the bus to store any wine that I buy?
Yes! We have plenty of room. By all means, buy as much wine as you like.
How will I get my wine home?
You may ship wine from the wineries – most of the wineries we visit are able to ship to almost any state. You can buy a wine shipper box from us on the bus for $10 (holds up to 12 bottles), fill it up and check it on your return flight like luggage. You can also buy a fabulous Wine Check from us for $65.
What is the minimum number of people you will pick up?
How many guests are normally on your tour?
It varies. Our Join-In Wine Tours usually have between eight and twelve guests on board.
Will you cancel a tour in the event that too few people book it for that day?
No way, baby! We never cancel a tour for that reason. We almost always have a good-sized group on board, though.
Do you offer half-day tours?
Sorry, no. We can’t possibly show you enough in a half-day tour. If you would like to join one of our tours late, or leave it early, that is possible. You can also request a price quote for a half day Private Wine Tour.
What sort of vehicles do you use for these Join-In Tours?
Our vehicles are small tour shuttles. They have perimeter seating, like a conversation pit, so guests can better get to know each other.
How do your vehicles differ from a traditional limousine?
Our shuttle buses vary in length, and are taller in height than limousines. You will be able to stand in, and walk on and off them. They have large, tinted windows, so that the views from any side of the vehicle are visible.
Can this tour really be as fun as it sounds?
Incredibly, yes! Even we are amazed by how fun it is.