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Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley
What could be more fun on your wine country getaway than to be whisked around in an authentic replica cable car with a professional tour guide at the wheel? Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley now offers two different full-day wine tours in vehicles modeled after late 1890s San Francisco cable cars. All aboard!
While competition for the region’s tourist business is healthy, and imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, company owner Tom Buck says, “we are the original Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley.” The project began in early 2007, and finally came to life in 2010 when Buck’s team finished their first cable car restoration. “Due to the demand for additional tours, and the increase in private charters, we are on target to add more motorized cable cars this year,” added Buck.
The new season for the trolley also brings a new “alternate” tour route: The Valley of the Moon Tour! On rotating days, guests can choose either the new tour or the original Sonoma Valley Tour! Or, take the tour on two days and enjoy two completely different experiences. Similar to the Sonoma Valley Tour, the Valley of the Moon Tour also features Sonoma’s history, but is more focused on the current winemaking families that have helped make Sonoma Valley a premiere wine and food destination.
These daily tours run from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Your tour guide will pick you up from most major lodging in Sonoma, or you can hop aboard at the Sonoma Plaza. Either way, be ready to enjoy a day of sightseeing, wine tasting and fun! The trolley’s friendly and knowledgeable guide will take you to four exceptional wineries known for their great wine and warm hospitality.
Each tour also includes a catered picnic lunch from the famous Girl & the Fig restaurant in Sonoma. They have consistently provided what many have said is simply the best food they’ve ever had on a group tour. Lunch is served “family style” so that everyone can choose from a variety of sandwiches, side salads and desserts.
Local historian and actor George Webber is the official voice of the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. Between winery stops, enjoy his upbeat, whimsical style and stories as the trolley takes you through Sonoma Valley’s rich history. Some of the historic landmarks on the tour include Sonoma and Swiss Hotels, General Vallejo’s Soldier Barracks, Mission San Francisco Solano (Sonoma Mission), Bear Flag Monument and General Vallejo’s Home and State Park.
The trolley stops at four wineries during each tour – two historical wineries and two boutique family wineries. While the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley operates all year, the spring season 2012 is kicking off with some new winery partners, including Ravenswood, Benziger and Paradise Ridge (to name just a few). Loyal partners from the tour’s inaugural year include Buena Vista, BR Cohn, Mayo Family and Sebastiani.
The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is available for private events. As May and June approaches, so does wedding season! Many brides have chosen the Wine Trolley as their vehicle of choice for wedding pictures, and for shuttling guests to and from hotels and the wedding site. The Wine Trolley is also perfect for group wine tours, and is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system and PA, including iPod/iPhone connections.
The trolley recently hosted the Bay Area Travel Writer’s Association in conjunction with the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. Delighted guests enjoyed a trip that included brunch at Estate restaurant, and a private wine tasting at VJB Estate.
Tickets for wine tours are just $99 per person (winery tasting fees not included). Purchase tickets online for the trolley at www.sonomavalleywinetrolley.com or by telephone, toll-free at 1-877-WINETROLLEY or locally at (707) 938-2600.
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