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Savor Fruits of the Vine on These Wine-Lover Train Trips

Sip and enjoy the view aboard these trains across the country

spinner image the napa valley wine train driving past vineyards and mountains in napa valley california
Passengers can enjoy views of the vineyards while sipping vino aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train in California.
Napa Valley Wine Train

There’s a certain scent in the air during harvest season in the Napa Valley. It’s a bit fruity, a little yeasty and earthy. It’s the essence of wine country. 

Spend any time in Napa during this busy and bursting time of year (August through October) and the aroma is as pervasive as the California sunshine, lingering just as the grape leaves start to glimmer crimson and gold. 

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While there’s no bad time to visit the world-famous region, the nostalgia and beauty of harvest is nothing short of magical. But seeing the undulating rows of vines from the window of a train brings the experience to a whole new level of wow.

The Napa Valley isn’t the only place in the country to sip in the delights of rail travel. From coast to coast, here are four oenophile-inspired rail rides to satiate your wine-loving wanderlust. 

spinner image a couple sharing food and wine on the napa valley wine train
Wine tasting and gourmet meals are offered on the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train, California

The Napa Valley Wine Train, established in 1864, once took tourists from downtown Napa to the spa town of Calistoga. It now takes wine lovers on a 36-mile round trip (to St. Helena and back) through the heart of the wine valley.

​There are different ways to sip and savor the scenery aboard, including the full-day Legacy Experience with a four-course gourmet meal prepared by an onboard chef, and tastings at two classic Napa Valley wineries, Charles Krug and V. Sattui (from $595). 

The popular Grape Stomp at Grgich Hills Estate package is a unique four-hour outing that includes barefoot stomping in a barrel of freshly picked grapes (from $535). 

Napa Valley Wine Train tickets start around $200 per person for a daytime experience.

spinner image left the delaware river railroad wintery train right a vineyard
The Delaware River Railroad Winery Train travels past historic sites and vineyards on the way to a winery.
Delaware River Railroad Excursions

Delaware River Railroad Winery Train, Phillipsburg, New Jersey 

Pull out of the train station in Phillipsburg and chug for two hours along the Delaware River in the historic train cars pulled by a 154-ton steam locomotive.

​Scenic hamlets and historic sites pepper the route, including Susquehanna Mining Company, where you can stop and pan for gemstones. At the historic Riegelsville train station, a shuttle bus takes passengers to Villa Milagro winery to sip red, white and specialty wines at the source. If you feel like staying the night, the Riegelsville Inn, built in 1838 by the town’s founder, Benjamin Riegel, sits on the banks of the river in neighboring Pennsylvania with a restaurant and pub serving up live music and solid American fare. Catch the train back to town the next day. Tickets are $45. The Winery Train runs through October and resumes in the spring. 

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Travelers can sip specialty wines while rolling through New York’s countryside on the Adirondack Railroad.
Andre Jenny / Alamy Stock Photo

Adirondack Railroad: Beer & Wine Train, Utica, New York

​Travel from Utica’s Union Station north to the small town of Remsen on a historic railroad that, in its heyday, transported freight as well as Vanderbilt, Whitney, Roosevelt and other prominent American families to their camps in the Adirondack Mountains. 

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​These days, visitors and residents hop aboard for a leisurely 2.5-hour evening roll through New York’s countryside while sampling local beer, such as Saranac and Utica Club, as well as white, red and specialty wines from Thousand Islands Winery. 

​Tickets start at $38. This event is for those who are 21 years and over only. The train runs on select Fridays through October and resumes in the spring.

spinner image passengers on an outdoor terrace car on the royal gorge route railroad in colorado
Oenophiles in first class have access to an outdoor terrace on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Colorado.
Efrain Padro / Alamy Stock Photo

Royal Gorge Route Railroad Lunch and Dinner Rides, Cañon City, Colorado

​This former silver-mining railroad route is now the backdrop for a sophisticated and elegant two-hour dining excursion. All first-class lunch and dinner guests are welcomed with a glass of bubbly, and first-class riders are seated in the Vista Dome, where oversized windows take in the passing 1,000-foot rock walls, tumbling Arkansas River and wildlife outside. (Another reason to consider the splurge: access to an outdoor viewing terrace.)

​For oenophiles, each elegant three-course meal has a choice of entrée (from $199 per person) and can be upgraded with a flight of four wines from the award-winning Winery at Holy Cross Abbey or bottles from the conductor’s reserve wine list, such as a crisp Napa chardonnay or celebratory French champagne. ​

The train offers up to four departures a day. Dinner rides are available on select dates year-round.

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