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“The Perfect Trip with Manny” 5 of 5 stars
Review of My Napa Valley Private Driver

My Napa Valley Private Driver
2058 Kathleen Dr., Napa, CA 94558
+1 707-254-5115
Website
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Ranked #20 of 216 Activities in Napa
Type: Tours, Food & Drink
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Owner description: Relax and enjoy the best that Napa and Sonoma have to offer. No need to be concerned with driving, navigating, setting appointments, or knowing where the preferred wineries are. As your guide and driver we'll gladly take care of all the logistics, accommodate your specific requests & winery choices, as well as offer suggestions of locations that you might want to experience.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“The Perfect Trip with Manny”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

My wife and I just came back from our honeymoon trip to San Francisco and Napa this past week. We spent the last 3 days in Napa and used My Napa Valley Driver since we already had a rental car from SF to drive over.

Right off the bat I would have to recommend this company for anyone making a visit to Napa and wanting someone to take them around and also recommend the best places to go. Our driver was Manny and he was the absolute BEST. Manny was always punctual, courteous, professional and just a blast to spend time with. He has a great personality and is always doing whatever it takes to make the trip as fun as possible. He asked us where we wanted to go (specific wineries or just regions) and took note of any eating reservations we had and made sure to fit everything around that.

We initially had a list of vineyards we wanted to see and that were recommended to us but didn't have a strong attachment to the list which worked out well because Manny knew places that you just wouldn't find on your own or be able to get into. He took us to places where he knew the employees first hand and got us free tastings, private tours/tastings and into some vineyards that are by referral only. These places were all a cut above the rest, the tastings were personal and friendly, the staff was always so nice and welcoming and more importantly... the wines were amazing. If you are looking for the cookie-cutter, mass produced vineyards that you can find back home then the drivers are happy to take you there, but the off the beaten path places he took us to were just leaps and bounds better in all facets of the experience.

Manny is quite the character and has a great sense of humor, it was great to be greeted by him upon the start of each day and know it was going to be something to remember. He took us to about 4-5 places each day and always made our reservations for lunch and dinner on time, he even called and changed some of the reservations when we got better recommendations on where to go. He had an intimate knowledge of everything in the region and knew so many places with great views, great people, and great wines (which are the 3 things we said we were looking for in the wineries) that we just fell in love with.

If you are visiting Napa and need a driver, need some winery recommendations, or just want to have a good time then you need to use My Napa Valley Driver and make sure that Manny is your driver. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Visited September 2013
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  • English first
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English first
Pacific Palisades, CA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Our driver, Don, was fabulous!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

We were so pleasantly surprised with our driver, Don, on our recent trip to Napa. Being "foodies" we travel to Napa frequently but had never used a driver until this last trip. We're sold! Why drive when you can use My Napa Valley Private Driver and Don?

Don was so professional and knowledgeable. He was on time (early) for our pick up. Don is, also, a Sonoma County native which made visiting with him so much fun. We thoroughly enjoyed his stories and the history he shared with us about both the Sonoma and Napa Valleys.

We, generally, visit some fairly obscure and boutique wineries that can be impossible to find. Don knew where every winery was. He even introduced us to a couple of new, wonderful, wineries that we hadn't visited before. With a simple phone call he got us in without an advance reservation. Don had a very "can-do" attitude.

All of this, and, icy cold water waiting for us when we would come back to our car after tastings; which was really nice since it was very warm the day of our visit.

If you want something not printed in the brochures and a little insider info, Don at Napa Valley Private Driver is the guy for you!

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“A great experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013 via mobile

This is a terrific company. It's the only one of its kind that doesn't charge extra for a San Francisco pick up. Our driver was Don, a longtime Napa resident and wine expert, and he was a great guide for the day. Bev was always responsive on email during the booking and answered all my questions. I highly recommend My Napa Valley Driver!

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Poor experience with our driver”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

I thought long and hard about giving a terrible rating for this company, but at the end of the day we truly did have a horrible experience and so I feel it is justified. To be clear, I think hiring a driver is an excellent idea and I highly recommend it in general. My displeasure is specific to our driver and his unprofessional and downright rude behavior.

I traveled with three girlfriends to Napa/Sonoma at the end of August. Another girlfriend was the point person for the itinerary and organizing the driver - she worked exclusively with Chris. Therefore, it was a bit of a surprise when our driver ended up being Don. We had expected Chris and had given Chris' information to our rental car company. However, this was not a big deal so we continued on. We had arranged to have a driver for two separate days - Friday and Sunday.

The first sign that something was wrong was when our driver Don told us about 10 minutes after departing our hotel that there would be a 6% charge for using a credit card. This greatly upset me because it was the first I'd heard of it and it was not consistent with how I'd budgeted for the trip. Plus, 6% seemed excessive - I'd heard of a 3% charge, but whenever this happened I was always made aware of it well in advance. However, it was the surprise tactic that displeased me the most. After discussing this and expressing my unhappiness with the policy and not knowing in advance, Don said that he would waive the charge. We thanked him profusely but then he continued to talk about it, saying that it was fine that he would just eat the charge himself. He went on about this until we all started to feel guilty and told him we would work it out with cash. The rest of the day was rather uneventful. But Day 2 was when all the drama would go down.

Day 2 started rather uneventfully but in hindsight there were a few small things that were off. Don knew through conversation that I was a road cyclist. Therefore, it was more than a little odd when later he started to express his disdain for cyclists as we were passing them on the road; he even started to say that he hated them (I know this was where he was going) but stopped short. Why would he do this when he knew I was a cyclist? It made no sense. He was either completely clueless (um, he does work for tips doesn't he???) or trying to press my buttons. The second odd incident is when he may have made a racist comment when referring to the type of vacationers that visited a specific winery. All of us just looked at each other - it was a term we'd never heard of before so we were unsure and let it go. But in general it gave us the ick factor. All of this, however, pales in comparison to the end of our experience. Towards the end of the day we had to go to the ATM so we could pay Don in cash. When he told us how much it was we were a little taken aback because we were unsure of the hours we'd had in total (after all this was over 2 days and 10 - 11 wineries). As we started to talk about it, trying to remember exactly when we'd gotten back on Friday and total up the hours, Don started snapping at us. We politely told him we were just trying to sort through it and to please just give us a minute. But he continued to snap - telling us to just give us a number. He said 'You want to just say 4 hours? FINE. Just say 4 hours then.' We told him we were just confused and needed a minute as we recalled our agenda on Friday. We had spent well over 4 hours with him and we knew that - we were not trying to cheat anyone we were just trying to spend 5 MINUTES talking through it. Don's tone was ridiculous and unprofessional. He continued to snap and badger us until my friend said in a stern voice that she did not understand why he was being so rude, that all we were doing was trying to remember the hours and that quite frankly he was being an a-hole. He then very sarcastically replied and thanked her for the lecture. At this point my blood was boiling. I am rarely talked to like that, let alone by someone in the hospitality industry. It was so uncomfortable and upsetting that one of my friends, who is not good with confrontation, started crying. All around, a truly horrible experience.

I am the first to admit if I was party in the wrong about something. However, in this instance Don was at fault. I honestly feel that he is a bit unbalanced. If he had given us the time to sort through our hours then we would've realized within 5 minutes that his hours were right and paid him and given him a handsome tip to boot because that's the kind of people we are. I have no idea why he snapped the way that he did.

The next day Chris texted my friend and asked us to call - he obviously had heard something from Don. I was elected spokesperson so I told Chris what had happened. I struggled with telling Chris everything because I do have a heart and didn't want the poor guy to get fired if this was an anomoly....so I tried to give a very balanced account of what had happened (Chris even commented that he could tell I was trying to be fair). Look, I understand that everyone has bad days. If at the end of the drive back to the hotel Don had apologized and said that he was having a bad day then all would've been forgiven. But he didn't. Chris, however, did apologize profusely. He also said it was NOT their policy to pass on a 6% charge for credit card usage, which really was just icing on the cake. At the end of the call Chris asked for my home address which made me hopeful that he would in some way make things right by giving us a partial refund or some other small token. However, it has not been over a week and a half and I have not heard anything. Do I feel like we are owed a partial refund? I don't know. Chris did go out of his way to apologize for the incident. However, we spent a lot of money on this vacation and our day was ruined because of the unprofessional behavior of the driver, therefore, a small token would've been appreciated (even if just a bottle of wine and his apologies). Who knows, maybe it's in the mail.....

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mynapavalleydriver, Owner at My Napa Valley Private Driver, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Lauren,

Thank you for expressing your concerns and frustrations regarding your two days touring with Don. As you and I discussed over the phone, hearing our guests' positive experiences are great and appreciated, but it's far more important and valuable for us to be aware of any and all feedback related to potential problems or concerns. The reason I refunded you 100% of your group's money for both days is that you clearly did not experience the same outstanding level of service that we always strive to deliver, and that should rightfully be expected by our guests. Despite over two years of enthusiastic positive feedback and replies regarding Don, your shared experience has
resulted in extensive productive discussion between the entire My Napa Valley Driver team.

Thank you again,

Chris
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great experience with Deb”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

We hired Deb to drive us (me and my husband, and another couple) around for a day of tasting in Napa. When we booked it we had mainly been thinking in terms of not worrying about drinking and driving, but the benefits went way past that. We came with a loose idea of the kinds of wineries we wanted to go to but nothing specific, and Deb was comfortable running with that, offering great suggestions and adjusting the plan based on wineries we liked the most. Our favorite stop was a winery that was available by appointment only and that we would have never experienced otherwise.

Besides driving and telling us about the wineries, she called Oakville Grocery to order lunch (and would have picked it up herself while we wanted, but we were right there anyway), brought snacks and water, and found a great winery for us to order a bottle of wine and eat lunch before going in for a tasting. She also used her insider status to obtain us quite a few 'bonus rounds' throughout the day. We were with her for 7.5 hours, and that is what she charged us for (I had been prepared for it to be rounded up to 8 hours). We enjoyed her company so much that we invited her for the free wine tasting at our B&B that night, which she came to for two tastes before she had to take off.

I had also spoken to Chris (the owner) prior to the day to make sure I understood how things worked, and he was very patient and knowledgeable in answering my questions.

We will definitely be using My Napa Valley Driver (and requesting Deb) when we come back!

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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