Join-in Wine Tours FAQs
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
May we pick the wineries?
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 $20-$25 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 at hotels in San Francisco for the Join-In Tour?
No, (sorry). You are welcome to drive in and meet us for the tour. We have a central meeting location for each tour that has all-day parking & many restaurants where guests can grab a bite to eat & relax before heading back at the end of the day.
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 boxed picnic lunch served at one of the wineries we visit on the tour. It consists of deli turkey sandwiches on fresh sliced Ciabatta bread, 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.
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 & veggie sandwich for vegetarians. The rest of the lunch is already vegetarian.
Terrific Tasting Times
“This was our 4th time with Platypus. All trips have been a ton of fun and they have kept track of our visits to provide us with new locations each trip. The tour driver does a great job getting all parties to interact with each other, keep the day flowing and are just fantastic! Buses are always comfortable and clean. Lunch served is delicious and perfect for a day of tastings. Being picked up and dropped off at your hotel allows you to enjoy the day without having to drive. The tasting experiences are great as the wineries obviously take great care of the Platypus customers. We have found some great little wineries because of our tours!”
Our Concierge Recommended Platypus Tours, And They Were Great!
“We were in town celebrating our anniversary and wanted to do a tour of small boutique wineries. When we booked, they reached out to us to find out our preferences for wines. They also asked for a list of wineries we had visited in the past so they would be sure to show us something new. Finally, they confirmed any food preferences/restrictions for the picnic lunch provided.
Our driver and tour guide arrived at the pickup point right on time in a spacious bus. In all, there were 10 guests on the tour – small enough for personalized service.
Our first stop was AuburnJames Winery. We were seated comfortably in the intimate tasting room as Eric the winemaker poured samples for us and explained their philosophy and processes. This stop included a nice picnic lunch on their patio (with a little more wine).
The next stop was Madrigal Winery. Our tour guide Scott encouraged us to walk among the vines while tasting their wines and hearing stories about the area. Again, the facilities were very comfortable, and we never felt rushed.
The last stop was Merryvale, which is an impressive event venue with the original barrels and vats integrated into the decor.
It’s a very full-day tour (from 10:15 to almost 5:30), but well worth it. We will definitely tour with Platypus again when we’re in the area.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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 $20-$25 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 20 % gratuity.
What is your cancellation policy?
You may cancel the join-in tour reservation at any time up to 24 hours before the tour with no penalty. Cancellation fee of $35 per person will apply to any cancellations made within 24 hours of tour departure.
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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
May I bring my dog?
Registered service dogs are welcome on the tour. We restrict non-registered service dogs 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 $15 (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 $70.
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.
“Gary was extremely personable and knowledgeable. We got the most bang for our buck and he drove us all the way up to Calistoga to visit 3 family owned wineries with a lot of history. They also took care of dropping off 2 wine check bags to our hotel while we were out exploring the day before we left. We looked around for better prices but theirs really are the best. Highly recommend this tour!”
“We have done four trips with Platypus and have loved each one. Being picked up and dropped off at your hotel allows you to enjoy yourself without any worry. All our tour drivers have been lots of fun, engage the group well and have great relationships with the wineries. I found that we are well taken care of during the tastings and a nice lunch is served.”