It is asked of all of our guests to submit an itinerary 24 hours in advance of their arrival. Traffic conditions in Napa & Sonoma Counties is an ongoing and ever changing issue that must be navigated properly in order to minimize the time spent moving from stop to stop. If your driver has a plan for the day he/she can focus more on safety and ensuring your tour is a memorable one. E-mail is the preferred form of itinerary submission. When making reservations be sure to allow enough travel time to be at the next stop promptly. Starting time is flexible but for the sake of advanced planning try to finalize it no later than 24 hours prior to your arrival. The drive from San Francisco Airport to downtown Napa is about an hour and 20 minutes with normal traffic. From Oakland a little less. The further north you go in the valley will add time (example: If you are staying in St Helena and another 20 minutes). If you are arriving during the morning or late afternoon commutes it can take considerably longer. We are not responsible for late planes or heavy traffic on the day of your tour. Tour charges commence at the agreed upon start time.
We can help you plan your itinerary if you like. If you are a return visitor chances are you know where you want to go. Recommendations from friends and family can be helpful but please take advantage of our expertise, we drive the roads of these valleys every day and there are places we recommend and places we avoid. Making more than four reservations in one day is a very aggressive plan and almost assures that you will be late at some point. We recommend two or three reservations and then fill in with non-reservation wineries when time allows. That generally works out great for our guests.
An itinerary should contain the following components:
- Meeting point name and address (Hotel, Airbnb, etc.). We are leaving our car at the place where you are staying so the starting point also has to be the ending point.
- Meeting time. This is determined by the time of your first reservation or planned stop. If you need help on determining travel time to the stop we can help with that. One of the map apps can also help. Example: If you are staying at the Marriott in Napa and your first stop is Caymus at 10:30 a.m., we should start the day at 10:00.
- Name of each planned stop, including meals, and reservation time if applicable. Even non-reservation stops should be listed. We understand circumstances can change during the course of a day and we will adapt as needed but starting with a plan is best.
- Optional: Tentative return time to meeting point. Many of our guests extend their day beyond what they had originally planned. This is common and not a problem. Our day is done when your day is done. We merely adjust the final fee to reflect the extra time.
Communication is a key component in making your Wine Country visit the best it can be. It is our goal to finalize all the information we will need prior to your arrival. Your driver will show up at the meeting point at least 10 minutes before the meeting time. Preferred method of notifying you of our arrival is a text to your cell phone. A quick response so we know you received the message is appreciated. We can meet you in the lobby, parking lot, etc. Each meeting point has its own circumstances that dictate where we meet. Communication is the key.
Some remote locations in the wine country do not have cell service. In that case we will announce our arrival at the lobby desk if possible. If electronic communication fails and it’s time to go, come to the parking area, we will be there.
We understand circumstances out of your control can arise that change your plans. However, when you make a reservation with us we are locking in a date and reserving a driver for you. Any subsequent inquiries for that date are not accepted. If you cancel more than 72 hours before the meeting time you will be refunded any payments already made. If you cancel less than 72 hours prior to the meeting time we will make an effort to secure a new booking for that date, but if we are unable to do so you will be charged a cancellation fee equal to 50% of the agreed upon fee. Cancellations cannot be done by e-mail or text. Please call 707-227-2648. If it goes to voice mail it is okay to cancel via voice mail.
Wine Tours Services & Hours Used
Most of our Wine Tours are reserved at a six hour minimum. It is difficult to secure a driver for less than a six hour day. Some low season or mid-week deals are offered and are spelled out in detail. If your reservation carries a minimum you will be charged for the minimum number of hours even if you are done before that minimum is reached. We also offer a cash discount. If you opt for the cash discount but at the end of the day decide to pay by credit card you will be charged at the higher rate. Our drivers are well trained and professional wine tour drivers. The customary gratuity for their service is 20% but it is optional and up to your discretion. We are confident in their ability and in fact most gratuities are more than 20%.
Drinking Responsibly Is Your Responsibility
We want your experience with Napa Driving Services to be the best possible, so you will not only return and use our service again but you will recommend our service to friends and relatives. One of the reasons you are using our service is because wine tasting means alcohol consumption and a sober driver is a key component for a safe end to the day. However, some things are out of our driver’s control. Simple acts like getting in and out of the car can be challenging when wine tasting. Keep an eye on each other and lend a hand when necessary. California has an all passenger seat belt law so please buckle up. California does not allow an open container of alcoholic beverage in the driver or passenger compartments. Violations of any California laws or injuries as a result of over imbibing are not the responsibility of Napa Driving Services. In the event of extreme inebriation and/or bad behavior of any kind our driver has the authority to end the tour early and return to the meeting point.