We continue our “Driver Spotlight” Q&A series where we introduce you to some of our top-notch Napa and Sonoma wine tour guides, provide some insights as to why they love working for Platypus and what makes their tours so special.
Today we would like you to meet Greta Yerian, who is one of our newer tour guides for Platypus Wine Tours and is already performing like a seasoned veteran.
Q. Where are you originally from? How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
A. I’m from Tracy, CA which is about 90 miles from Napa. I still have a home, family & husband there, and go home on my days off. I stay with a dear friend in St. Helena while I’m working. This is my dream job that I’m treating myself to after spending 38 years raising children. Fortunately my husband agrees that I deserve it!
Q. What do you love best about the Wine Country?
A. The serenity and the peaceful feeling I get when I travel through the countryside, and the fact that it’s a tourist destination means everyone is in a great mood while they’re visiting. The wine helps that state of mind too of course!

Q. Why do you enjoy working for Platypus Wine Tours?
A. The entire staff, from owners Don & Kathy, the management and office staff, the kitchen workers, the guys that clean and maintain the vehicles and all the driver/guides are always in an upbeat and happy state of mind. It’s because we all genuinely love what we do every day. Making memories for people, and helping small wineries stay in business is a great feeling. I feel privileged to be a part of that.

Q. What makes your tours so successful? What do you strive for to make your wine tours truly unique and special?
A. When we plan a Charter Tour we really get to know the customer in advance and what their goal for their trip is, but the Join-In Tours are unique because we don’t know anything about our guests until they get on the bus. I do know one thing for sure… the group starts out as strangers, and leave at the end of the day “best friends!” It’s the perfect way for a couple or small group to enhance the wine tasting experience. It’s far more fun to go tasting with a small group, than it is alone. My philosophy is shared by all of the guides. We plan our schedules each day with our guests’ ultimate experience in mind. We never repeat a schedule from day-to-day, which keeps us fresh and entertained as well. We love the fact that we can show our guests unique, back road wineries that they’d never know existed. Anyone can stop at the big wineries dotted along Hwy 29, or the Silverado Trail, but we expose them to the true heart of the Napa Valley – the actual individuals and families with a passion for wine making, not a corporation.

Q. What are some of your favorite wineries to bring people to, and why?
A. Tedeschi Family Winery in Calistoga is a great one. I compare the experience of visiting Tedeschi to the movies. You can go see one of the blockbuster hits that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make and really like the movie, but then you happen onto a small independent film, that the filmmaker had to sell all his worldly possessions to make, and it tugged at your heart-strings, and you always remember it as one of your favorite movies. That’s how I feel about Emil Tedeschi, and his two sons Emilio and Mario, and their love for each other, the vineyard they farm and their passion for making great wines.

Domaine Charbay on Spring Mountain is another favorite. They are the only distiller in the Napa Valley. Owner Miles is a 13th generation distiller, who also makes great wines that are unique.
And Hopper Creek in Yountville is where we all know will be the ultimate fun experience for even the hardest to please customer. Dan is a classic, and Darren is the most knowledgeable taster in the valley. He can mesmerize you with his pallet for wine, and his personality is priceless. Last, but certainly not least is Chili Dog, resident winery dog, and my beloved best friend in the valley!

Q. Do you have any particularly memorable wine tour experiences that stand out that you would like to share?
A.  I’m still so new that I don’t have one of those crazy stories yet to tell like Sue did! I can say that picking up 11 people in San Francisco the morning of Bay to Breakers, and the Tour de California bike race over the Golden Gate Bridge, was quite a challenge. It did end up being one of my favorite groups. Loved Tori and his wonderful employees from New York!

We all love what we do. We aren’t pretending to like our customers to get a bigger tip – we genuinely like our customers. It definitely helps that we are in control of what we do, where we visit and what we wear each day. We are encouraged to let our personalities be a part of the tour experience, instead of just being a stuffy chauffeur!
Here’s what a few of our customers have to say about Greta and her tours. Additional customer reviews/comments about our Platypus Wine Tours can also be found on Google+, our website, Yelp and TripAdvisor.

“We had a wonderful time!! The wineries that Greta took us to were amazing. Greta was very knowledgeable and made the tour fun. She even went out of her way to get me a stain remover when someone accidentally got a couple drops on my shorts! Staying at The Marriott Hotel And Spa was perfect as Platypus Tours picked us up and dropped us off there. I have already shared this with a friend who is planning to go to Napa. Thank you!!!”
“We were picked up from our accommodation at about 10am in a van which had been converted inside to like a Hummer set up (seats facing each other). After picking up the other 8 people, we headed to three wineries throughout the day. All wineries selected were boutique style which was great. There was special tasting areas at each of them and we were made to feel very welcome. Lunch was provided at the second winery by Platypus Tours and was delicious (even my vegetarian option was great). Greta, our tour guide was amazing. She gave us details of the history of the area and was more than happy to answer any questions we had. I would definitely recommend this company for a wine tour in Napa.”
“From Greta’s introduction to her thorough knowledge of the winery’s….it’s the only way to tour the region. She is also extremely nice too….”

Additional photos of Greta and some of our other tour guides can be found in our Photo Albums on the Platypus Wine Tours Facebook page.