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.
What should we expect in wine country during COVID-19?
Nothing is more important to us than keeping safe our guests and our staff! Please visit our COVID-19 page for more information. CLICK HERE
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 free 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.
“I’ve done this tour with Platypus at least 4 times over the last 8 years or so. I’ve NEVER been disappointed. The drivers are always very knowledgeable, friendly, and accommodating. If you’re going as a couple or with just one other person, it makes it so much fun!”
“We went to 3 small wineries and a very small group. Only 10 people. Our tour guide Steve was awesome. Very knowledgeable and seemed to love his job. My son and his girlfriend arranged this trip for my husband and I and themselves. The 4 of us had a wonderful day. Everything was perfectly timed and organized. We had lunch at our 2nd winery. We visited the Varozza, Hans Fahden and Madrigal wineries. Steve said they were selected because they were small wineries, and we could sample some small batch wines. Everywhere we went the service was excellent and very individual. I would highly recommend Platypus Tours and especially Steve!”
“Chris was awesome! Each of the three wineries he chose were different and great in their own way. Throughout the day, Chris shared relevant and interesting information about wine and the region. This was the perfect way to experience Napa for the first time and celebrate our anniversary.”
“Amazing experience! What an awesome day! This tour was the highlight of our trip. We were taken to three smaller, scenic vineyards and had a tasting at each. Platypus works to either have the tasting fee discounted or even waived entirely if you buy a bottle. We learned so much from our tour guide Chris, as well as had a blast hanging out with him! We are recommending to everyone.”
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 48 hours before the tour with no penalty. Cancellation fee of $35 per person will apply to any cancellations made within 48 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 $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.
“Fantastic tour of small, family-owned wineries where you’re made to feel like part of one. We learned so much about the region, the history, and the process of Napa Valley wine making. Led by our wonderful guide Linda who promised we would be singing “Sweet Caroline” by the end of our trip…and we did! We had a wonderful time. The only disappointment was that the day had to end.”
“We just returned from Napa. We booked two tours with Platypus, one for Napa Valley and one for Sonoma Valley. Bob took us through Napa Valley with three stops at all beautiful wineries. We learned so much from Bob about Napa’s history and geology. The next day we toured Sonoma Valley with Sam. It was equally great! We learned so much about farming in the vineyards from Sam and toured another three beautiful Sonoma Valley wineries. Both Bob and Sam picked terrific wineries, both days with wine caves and beautiful vineyard tastings. We met a great group of people on both tours. I highly recommend Platypus Tours, and especially Bob and Sam!”
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