Unusual Pairings: Wine and Trains

napa valley wine trains travel pairing

Wine, as everyone knows, pairs well with a number of foods. White wines pair with fish, pasta dishes, salads, and other light fare. Red wines generally pair with heavier, darker meat dishes like steak and rack of lamb. But at WhisperKOOL, we believe that wine pairs with a lot more than just food. And so we have started up a series on our WhisperKOOL blog called “Unusual Pairings” to showcase the different activities which harmoniously pair with wine. Our first installment: wine and trains.

Wine and Trains: A Beautiful Pairing

Sipping wine on a train combines all the sensory pleasures of sipping wine with the visual splendor of train travel. There are numerous ways you can enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of wine on a train.

Amtrak serves wine in its café, dining, and lounge cars. Amtrak also allows passengers to bring bottles of their favorite wines on board, which they can sip in their private accommodations (not in any public area of the train). It’s difficult to imagine a more idyllic afternoon than one spent sitting in comfort in an Amtrak sleeper car, watching the scenic American countryside roll by and nursing a glass of one’s favorite sauvignon blanc or pinot noir.

Scenic Train Rides (with Wine)

In upstate New York, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s Beer and Wine Train departs from Utica’s Union Station and follows a three-hour route to Remsen Station. Passengers receive appetizers, snacks, and table service (for first-class passengers), as well as a complimentary beer or wine glass. A broad selection of wines are available for purchase by the glass or the bottle. The only catch is that passengers must drink their wine on the train. (Passengers can’t take them with them when they depart.) Tickets are $50 for first class and $30 for coach.

In North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has a tour called “Uncorked.” Passengers sit in a plush dining car and enjoy a selection of wines (as well as a gourmet meal) while the train rumbles along the Tuckasegee River or through the Nantahala Gorge. Tickets are $125 per person.

In California, the Sacramento River Train’s “Old Vine Express” follows a scenic route along the sun-washed Sacramento River. The tour features a live band and showcases Northern California wines at three different tasting stations. Passengers can sit at their assigned seats in tastefully appointed dining cars or wander through the train’s open-air observation cars. Tickets include a souvenir tasting glass, a 2.5-hour train ride, and 8 tastes of the passenger’s choice. Tickets are $75 for adults, $50 for designated drivers, and $10 for dogs.

These are just a few of the scenic train trips in the United States which allow you to easily pair wine and train travel. For more information about trains and train trips that are specifically geared toward wine, read on.

Wine Train Tours: Seeing Wine Country in Style

There’s one wine tour in the United States that is conducted exclusively on a train: the Napa Valley Wine Train. The train is a selection of Pullman rolling stock originally constructed in 1915 and lovingly restored to its original glory. There are dining cars and observation cars, including the famous “Vista Dome” car, which offers unmatched views of the Napa Valley.

The wine train offers various types of excursions: lunch and dinner trains, half-day and full-day winery tours, and special events like murder mysteries. The train hosts a gourmet restaurant with four dedicated onboard chefs. Its wine tours take in many of the Napa Valley’s most famous wineries. The train travels back and forth between Napa and St. Helena on a typical journey, passing the scenic towns of Yountville and Oakville.

The Napa Valley Wine Train is a splendid way to combine one’s love of trains, a scenic journey through California’s premier wine country, and the area’s delicious wine offerings.

The Rails Await

Wine is excellent by itself, but it’s even better when paired with delicious food. Wine and delicious food are even better when paired with gorgeous scenery and fine company. Scenic train tours are a wonderful way to bring friends and family together, see some of nature’s most beautiful scenery, sample some gourmet cuisine, and pair it with your favorite wines. Even if you don’t have any plans to board a wine train anytime soon, your local Amtrak station is waiting. Buy a bottle of your favorite wine, hop on board, sequester yourself in your private berth, pop that cork, and watch the scenery roll by. Wine and trains are truly a beautiful pairing.

WhisperKOOL will have more intriguing wine pairings coming up in the near future. For these and other informative posts about enjoying wine, be sure to visit our blog. And also make sure to stop by our brand-new, completely redesigned website for the latest in wine cooling solutions. And as always, thanks for reading.

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