First time coming out to Wine Country? It can be overwhelming to navigate logistics; etiquette; price expectations; food offerings etc. during the pandemic. Here’s some general tips to make your day something to remember:
-Due to the current Covid crisis appointments will be required and wineries cannot accommodate anything more than groups of 6 at a time. Most wineries that close at 4-5 p.m. will have a last tasting scheduled at 3-3:30 p.m. so it’s generally not possible to schedule a last minute drop in or tasting beyond that point. The handful of wineries that stay open till 6 p.m. will have a last tasting scheduled at 4:30-5 p.m.
-Picnicking at wineries is generally prohibited so best to schedule a sit down lunch somewhere else unless the winery offers a food/wine pairing.
-Be aware that tastings are exclusively outside and conditions in the afternoon can be anywhere from the 80s in temperature to the mid 90s from May to October. Best to plan for afternoon tastings in the southern napa valley or southern sonoma where it can be cooler
-Tasting fees in Napa will average from $45 pp on up. Also bottle prices can range from $35-300. Club signups will avoid some tasting fees but keep these costs in mind when booking a Napa visit. Sonoma County is still in the $25-$45 pp range for tasting fees depending on the experience and bottle prices range from $20-175. The policy for refunding tastings with purchases is also much more liberal in Sonoma than in Napa Valley. This does not mean quality is better in one area than the other or that one is more greedy than the other. These are the general costs and worth thinking about when planning a wine country visit.
-Tipping in tasting rooms is generally not expected (though appreciated). Wine club signups and purchases are a way to show how much you enjoyed the experience if someone did a good job. So if you feel like tipping feel free but it is not a common practice.
April 11, 2019
John is the best driver I’ve ever had in the Napa/Sonoma region. He is extremely knowledgeable, professional, courteous and kind. He picked up our picnic lunch while we were at a winery and while we were at the second winery, he set up a beautiful picnic table for us with plates, placemats, etc. He could answer all our questions about the region, agriculture, etc. He was also very helpful with the itinerary, timing, etc. and suggested a wonderful winery that we truly loved. He made my mom’s big 70 birthday very special! He’s the only driver we will ever use again!
WINERY OF THE MONTH
May 8, 2019:
I’ve been to wine country quite a bit and there’s no shortage of bad drivers. (Picture it, one time we were having lunch at a fancy grocery that had outdoor picnic benches and one driver came and sat with us and started talking! We were there to catch up with each other, it was so odd. Another time a driver was practicing his comedy routine. All I can do is shake my head). But John! John was PERFECT. He was better than perfect. He was polite, considerate, accommodating when a plan changed, and just lovely to be around. My search for drivers in the wine country is over. Can’t say enough good things. You won’t be disappointed.
When you’re up in Howell Mountain make sure to visit Steve up at Bravante Vineyards. It is still possible to have a unique boutique experience without breaking the bank. I find the price to quality ratio to be one of the best in Napa Valley. You won’t regret it!! My favorite is their Cabernet Franc.
March 12, 2017
John was a fabulous and gracious host. Handled every detail and allowed us to build in the stops we wanted and made great suggestions on what else to add. Very knowledgeable about the area and made our trip easy, fun and memorable. I would highly suggest!!l
Wine Tour Services & About us
Our rates are very simple. Monday-Thursday it is $75/hr. Friday to Sunday it is $85/hr.
We do have a 4-hour minimum. There are no other taxes or fees. Gratuity is not included and at your discretion. The only surcharge is a 3% one if paying by credit card. That’s it!!
Long-distance pickups to San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento or Santa Rosa incur an additional $60 fee. Weekday pickups in San Francisco are not offered at this time.
Itinerary preparation services are included in the price. If you’d like us to plan the entire day, fill in some gaps or just drive according to your own itinerary we’re happy to tailor the day to your liking. Please read our previous Trip Advisor reviews on our testimonials page.
Looking to book a larger group tour? Please visit our sister website at
Napa Sonoma Blend Wine Tours
PH: 707-812-3666, Fax:515-724-6112
We will transport you during your wine country excursion in a luxurious 2017 Ford Expedition SUV which will comfortably seat 7 passengers, not including the driver. It comes with Sirius XM radio, all audio hookups and complimentary water, beer (1 per passenger) and soda. We are fully compliant with all State of California commercial licensing and insurance requirements.
Owner John Kopilow began his wine journey in 2005 while working in the tasting room at Chimney Rock Winery. He caught the wine bug and decided to apply his wine knowledge to the wine tour and transportation world. He worked for a larger Sonoma wine tour company from 2007 to 2014 eventually becoming a top chauffeur and Chauffeur Manager from 2012 to 2014. He then became an independent operator in 2014 and is now the sole proprietor of Napa Sonoma Blend Wine Tours as well as the sister company Bacchus Wine Experiences.
John continually strives to improve his wine knowledge and offerings through education and visits to find those hidden gems. His laid back yet fun and informative service-driven demeanor continues to serve his clients well and provides an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.