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Highlights and Inclusions

  • This tour includes 3 nights accommodation at Fishermen’s Wharf San Francisco, 4 nights in Yountville Village in Napa Valley, 2 nights at South Lake Tahoe and 3 nights in Las Vegas. All hotels are 4 star plus and include breakfast.
  • All transfers and 2 internal flights are included
  • 2 premium wine tasting tours, 1 in Napa and the other in Sonoma. These tours are inclusive of a picnic lunch and tasting fees.
  • A gourmet lunch on the historic and luxurious Napa Valley Wine Train.
  • Also included is a wine tasting cruise on a Venetian Cruiser on Lake Tahoe and a dinner cruise on The Lake Tahoe Paddle Steamer.
  • 1 day San Francisco City Hop on - Hop off Tour pass is included.
  • 3 day transport pass for San Francisco.
  • 2 day transport pass for Las Vegas.
  • Plus 3 evening meals, 1 in Yountville Napa Valley,1 at Lake Tahoe and the other in Las Vegas.
  • Gratuities for all group activities.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrivals Day

We take a shuttle from SFO and get checked in to the Holiday Inn Express, North Point Street, Fishermans Wharf. Your 3 day public transport pass and your 1 day Hop On – Hop Off pass will be available from reception shortly after check in.

Maybe take the 5 minute walk to the harbor front to get orientated. At 6.30pm in the conference room, welcome drinks, introductions, question time, and uncollected travel pass handouts.

For a light evening meal that is a specialty on Fisherman’s Wharf, try the seafood chowder served in a crusty sourdough bread bowl.

Day – 2 & 3, San Francisco

Spend the next two days exploring San Francisco. Your 3 day transport pass will allow you unlimited travel on all city trams, cable trolleys and bus’s to all parts of the city. The tram stop is an easy 5 minute walk from the hotel making for easy access to Union Square for shopping (that’s where Macey’s is located) China Town and The Castro. Many museums, galleries and parks will also be easily accessible.

Golden Gate Bridge

Your 1 day Hop On – Hop Off City Tour pass on an open top double decker bus will provide 4 different city tours with informative commentary. You will be able to travel over the Golden Gate Bridge and spend time in beautiful Sausalito.

An optional extra would be a day trip to Yosemite National Park. The scenery is spectacular and the granite mountains and waterfalls are on a mammoth scale.

Yosemite National Park

Day 4 - Yountville, Napa Valley

(travel time 1.5hrs - 100km)

Once the traffic has cleared our transfer bus will take us over the Golden Gate Bridge and onto Yountville, traffic permitting about a 1.5hr trip.

Once you are checked into the North Block boutique hotel, you are free to enjoy the delightful village of Yountville. There are some wonderful restaurants and cafe’s in the village but my favorite is the crusty sour dough bread sticks with a soft Brie on sale at the local general store.

Inclusive to the tour this evening is a 4 course dinner at Restaurant Ad Hoc. This restaurant was established by Thomas Keller who also set up the nearby well known and famous French Laundry, that was awarded 3 stars by the Michelin Guide in 2016. If you want to dine at the French Laundry be aware that there is a 3 month waiting list to book a table!

Day 5 - Premium Private Wine Tour, Sonoma County

Pickup time for this tour will be about 10.00am and we should get back to Yountville around 5.00pm.

The first winery we visit is Buena Vista Estate the oldest winery in Sonoma. The tour and tasting will take about 2.5hrs. In my 15 years in the wine growing business I have never experienced a wine tasting that has offered such exceptional wines. You will hopefully get to try my favourite wine of all time, The Sheriff of Buena Vista.

After lunch we will travel across the valley to Stags Leap Estate. This vineyard and winery are located on a small plateau in the hills above Yountville. The tour and tasting at this super premium winery is by appointment only and the tour will take about 90 minutes. After the tour a tasting will follow and then you will be free to walk and enjoy their manicured gardens and grounds.

Day 6 - Napa Valley Wine Train

Today we take the Napa Valley Wine Train and enjoy a wonderful 3 course Gourmet, Rail Express Lunch. The lunch is served in 100 year old luxurious dining cars. The dining experience includes 2 complimentary glasses of wine. The food and service are world class, not to mention the pristine vineyards and wineries that glide past your carriage windows.

By late afternoon you will be back at your hotel and this would be a great opportunity to enjoy the pool. Expect temperatures in the mid 30’s but the humidity will be low by the standards you may used to.

Day 7 - Napa Valley Wine Trolley Tour

We have another 10.00am pickup this time traveling on a San Francisco Cable Trolley that has been fitted onto a bus chassis. The highlight and first stop on this tour is Castello di Amorosa. We spend about 3hrs tasting and touring in this 15th century Italian castle. The castle was purchased in Italy, dismantled and transported to Napa and re assembled, truly amazing! The estate has underground cellars, tasting rooms and even has an authentic dungeon.

From the Castello Estate we travel to 2 other nearby estates and have a picnic lunch at the first.

Napa Valley Wine Trolley Tour

Day 8 - Napa to South Lake Tahoe

(travel time 3hrs - 275km)

We leave Napa Valley mid morning for the 3hr drive to South Lake Tahoe and book into the South Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. The drive across the Californian Central Valley with its intensive horticultural land use is very interesting. Lake Tahoe is over 6,000ft above sea level and surrounded by ski-able mountains. If you like Lake Taupo you will love Lake Tahoe. During the afternoon take a walk down to the lake or a swim in the hotels heated pool. But be sure to be back to the hotel for the $2 a drink, happy hour from 4.30pm until 6.30pm!

Day 9 - Boat Cruise Wine Tasting Tour & Paddle Steamer Dinner Cruise

We spend at least 2hrs during the morning cruising and wine tasting on Lake Tahoe aboard a vintage 40ft Venetian Water Taxi the Golden Rose. Eight wines will be available for tasting, all from Northern California.

In the evening we board the Tahoe Queen for the Emerald Bay Dinner Cruise. The Tahoe Queen is a replica of a Mississippi River paddle streamer but powered by environmentally friendly green engines.

A must do for those who are not afraid of heights is to take the Heavenly Ski Resort enclosed gondola the 2.4 mile ride up the mountain to 9725ft, that’s 500ft higher than Mt Ruapahu! The gondola station is just behind the hotel and it operates from 9.00am to 5.00pm each day.

Tahoe Queen for the Emerald
Bay Dinner Cruise

Day 10 - Fly to Las Vegas, check into Hotel Paris

(flying time -1.5hrs)

In the morning a shuttle will take us to the Reno airport and we will board an aircraft for the 1.5hr direct flight to Las Vegas. On arrival in Vegas we will check into the Hotel Paris. This huge hotel complex is right in the center of Las Vegas Strip.

Days – 11 & 12 - Las Vegas

Las Vegas

We spend 3 nights and 2 full days in Vegas. Your Deuce, 2 day Hop On – Hop Off bus pass will allow you to travel the Strip whenever you please. Shopping at the North End Premium Outlet stores is a great way to spend a few hours. In the evening and way into the night, a visit to Fremont Street is a must do.

This is where middle America comes out to play. There you can find the world renown Tony Roma’s restaurant that serves wonderful spare ribs and great steak with crab or lobster, at very reasonable prices.

A day trip to The Grand Canyon and the Hoover dam is a worthwhile optional extra. Or take in a couple of shows, there are some great value Cirque de Soleil shows that include an amazing buffet dinner.

Hoover Dam The Grand Canyon

Day 12 - Farewell Dinner, Matorano’s Italian, American Restaurant

On our last night in Vegas I include a 3 course farewell dinner at Merano’s within the Hotel Paris complex as a thank you and a fitting end to 2 weeks of Wines and Views, California.

Day 13 - Las Vegas to San Francisco flight, then onward connections

(flying time – 01.05hrs)

Meet your guide

Hi I’m Ross, I was born in Taumarunui and raised on the family sheep and cattle farm where I started my working life. I then moved into fruit growing, owned a kiwifruit orchard, then an apple orchard finally moving into grapes.

My traveling started with time spent as a volunteer on a Kibbutz in Israel and evolved until last year when I led a group of 16 through Turkey and the Greek Islands. I now own and operate my own travel company in Napier, Vines and Views Tours. Feel free to check me out on Trip Advisor.

Ross Lepper tour guide

Prices and Conditions

The tour can be fully escorted from Auckland. International flights are not included. Priced from NZ $7695.00 per person (share twin) 50% deposit on booking (100% refundable on cancellation up to settlement date) Balance due 60 days prior to departure.

Travel dates depart 2017:

  • Sunday 16th July 2017 Depart - Sunday 30th July 2017 Return
  • Sunday 13th August 2017 Depart - Sunday 27th August 2017 Return

Travel dates depart 2018:

  • Sunday 15th July 2018 Depart - Sunday 29th July 2018 Return
  • Sunday 12th August 2018 Depart - Sunday 26th August 2018 Return

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