Valley Wine Tours
Valley Wine Tours
Wine Tours & Tastings
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Valley Wine Tours (formerly Jake's Valley Wine Tours) offers Napa and Sonoma wine country visitors the real “inside” wine tour experience. We guide you through hard-to-find, small family-owned wineries. Taste award- winning wines and learn all about wine, vineyards and Napa and Sonoma viticulture.
Sonoma, California

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

271 reviews
Very good

Boston, MA37 contributions
Aug 2017
We got pick up by our driver Peter (Tour guide) right outside of our Hotel. We have seen about 5-6 different wineries. Tasted wines all day and got an inside of the whole process of making wine. Purchased wine at almost every winery.
Peter provided us with a very nice lunch. Our last stop was the Korbel Champagne company, which was amazing.
Overall we had a very nice day,met nice people and had a great tour guide.
Written September 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brad A
Oakville, Canada6 contributions
Jun 2015
This is something that we have done several times before, and we always opt for the private tour. This allows us to customize the tour, prevents us from having to spend time with drunken buffoons (present company excluded) and usually allows us to glean some local knowledge from the guide. The best way we have learned to book a guide is to look at the ratings on Trip Advisor. Valley Wine Tours had a majority of 5 out of 5 stars.
For $135 each we would be picked up at 10 AM, and dropped off at 4 PM. All of the tasting fees would be included (usually $10-$25 each tasting/ per person). It would include 4-5 tastings, and a charcuterie lunch of local meats,breads and cheeses on silver wear, China and linens. This was such great value that our friends were wondering if it wasn't $1,035. Nope just $135. This was all falling into place, and I couldn't believe our luck. Because of the Williams Selyem tour, our tour would focus on the Russian River region of Sonoma. Dr. Bob (as his name tag read) promptly picked us up at our house on Monday morning at 10. We found out immediately that Bob was not a real Doctor, but received that nickname because he delivered his baby before the midwife could get there. Dr Bob arrived in California from Rochester in 1972 to visit his brother and never left. Bob's demeanour perfectly suited someone who had lived in California for 30+ years with his soothing voice, and laid back attitude. We visited 4 wineries with the last being the location of our picnic lunch. A lunch of Ceasar salad, fresh meats, breads, cheeses and caprisi salad was washed down by a bottle of Hanna Zin.
After a great day of wine and food and local knowledge, we were retuned home feeling like we had received huge value for our money.
Highly recommend this tour company
Written June 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Arizona269 contributions
Jan 2017
We had "Dr. Bob" as our tour guide. We were picked up at 0930. Most wineries open at 1000 and we were at one right at the time they opened. He was a very knowledgeable man who guided our tour by our tastes in wine. In short order he had us on the right track to find wines we liked. We signed up for a small group tour, but we were the only ones who were there so we essentially got a private tour. He took some pics of us while our day progressed. There are so many wineries to pick from, so unless you know what you want, I suggest you get a guide who knows the area and can guide you. We stopped at a cheese shop at the end of the day which was nice. Lunch was at a nice Italian place. The costs for lunch and tastings were included in the price of the tours. As you well know that most places charge $20 or even $30 to taste, it's well worth it. They can ship you wines home for you as well.
Written February 2, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Waukesha, WI65 contributions
Oct 2014 • Couples
We booked a wine tour with Bob after reading reviews here and emailing with him. We wanted to go to wineries enjoyed by those that know the area best, to learn area/winery history and about wine from an expert, and not have to worry about driving. We didn’t get what we hoped for.
We did get email confirmation that we were all set, but when we didn’t get picked up from our hotel on time, I suspected something was off. (Lesson: Call/email Bob one to two days before your tour to confirm it again.) After waiting 30 minutes, I left a VM at Bob's office number, sent him an email, left a VM on his cell and sent a text. Text hit the spot as he got back to me to me one hour after the time he was supposed to pick us up to say our tour was the next day, which clearly wasn't what my understanding! He said he'd check into it and call me back, which he did and acknowledged it was his error and asked if we could go the next day instead. We couldn’t because we were leaving to visit family. He said he’d look to see if we could get on a different tour that day and he’d call me back.

At that point, we started to quickly plan our own tour. I was tired of waiting and the back and forth calls, and we had already wasted some of the limited time we had in Sonoma. If I hadn’t planned on the tour, I would have researched the wineries we’d most want to visit, so I was annoyed. But, we got ideas/recommendations for wineries to visit by talking with hotel staff, doing some quick online review checking and texting friends who regularly visit Sonoma. Then we were on the road.

Bob called back after we left the hotel to say he had found a private driver for us, but at that point it would have just been more wasted time to go back to the hotel to drop off the car and meet the driver. Bob said to keep track of the tasting fees and he’d pay us back for those. Nice offer, but most of the places we went if we bought a bottle of wine, the tasting was free. I’m assuming his tours go into tasting rooms, which likely have a fee, but we didn't have that type of experience with it being just me and my husband. We did have a nice day, so I got over it and you can't stay upset in wine country long!

But, I was glad I looked at our credit card charges closely when the bill arrived, as we were still charged for the tour we didn’t get to go on. Another call to Bob. He was prompt in getting the charge credited.

Wish this had been a better experience and believe it can be for others despite what we experienced.
Written December 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review of our business. I take full responsibility for confusion on the date. At the time I was not clear on what exactly happened but within a week of the missed tour we set up checks on the booking procedures to insure that it will not happen again. Basically two sets of eyes now see the calendar. After you brought the situation to our attention I did not ignore the it and attempted to rectify it as quickly as possible by quickly finding another driver for a private tour.The tour was to be complimentary. I appreciate the fact it was late but assure you not ignored.
Written December 9, 2014
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

denver, colorado2 contributions
We booked Jake’s Valley Wine Tours based on TripAdvisor reviews. Things started badly when we arrived at Larkspur for our Sonoma tour and nobody was there to pick us up as promised. We couldn’t reach Ed Solari - no answer to calls and texts. When he called back 2 hours later he said he’d booked wrong date (we had email confirming the date) and offered the next day. We foolishly accepted.

The next day we were met not by Ed but a stand-in who took us to 5 average to awful wineries that either didn’t charge fees or had “arrangements” with Valley Wine. This is NOT a good thing - we’d have paid large to avoid some of them. One was basically a home brewer with absolutely undrinkable wine. Another disappointment was Bartholomew Park. Earlier our guide had said that he didn’t do the tastings but would “have a glass of wine at lunch” so we assumed lunch included wine. At Bartholomew Park however, he said it was ‘expected’ that we buy wine for lunch on their grounds. Seemed odd for all-inclusive tour, but worse was a pourer so busy drinking his own samples and socializing with two casual visitors that he acted annoyed when we asked (yes “asked” – he didn’t offer) to taste 3 wines. Even so, we bought a $38 zinfandel for lunch – and later noticed an added tasting fee! Final visit was Cline winery where our guide led us through a California mission exhibit (why?!), a petting zoo (why?!), and feeding carp (you’ve got to be kidding) before we finally reached the tasting to end the day.

Bottom line, this tour had nothing described by reviewers – no information about order of tasting, fermentation process, preference of wineries, etc. Whether we had the wrong person, a bad day, or other hiccup doesn’t really matter – we spent a day of vacation and $135 each. Let me correct that - $135 plus $38 for lunch wine plus an unnecessary $47 ferry and a morning at the Larkspur landing - what a deal. Book this company at your own risk.
Written August 30, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Amy W
Mooresville, North Carolina, United States25 contributions
Oct 2015
Booked this because it was a small tour vs. the big bus. Told me they would be using a "van" did not specify mini van as in Dodge Caravan that required folding down the seats and climbing over them at every stop! Was told we would visit some smaller family wineries - the worst I have ever visited -not small and awful wines starting with Cline and Jacuzzi. Picked up at1030am and we were dropped back at our hotel at 240pm - not exactly what I would consider a "day" of wine touring. Do not waste your money on this company.
Written November 12, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your review and I am sorry your tour was not to your satisfaction. Part of what we do is to enhance our clients knowledge of wine. All the wineries visited including Cline and Jacuzzi have won many awards for their wines. I am fully aware of the fact that an individual’s opinion of wine(s) is very personal and highly subjective so it is quite possible wines were not to your taste. Better communication with the guests might have revealed a potential problem. We do like to visit Cline because they introduce people to types of wine like Viognier, Mourvedre, and Carignane. After that we then go to smaller wineries. Any winery that produces less than 50,000 cases per year is considered “boutique” and Jacuzzi despite the size of the winery makes 30,000 cases. The rest of the day was spent at even smaller wineries We do explain that the day will include 4-5 wineries and approximately 10-4. Part of our responsibility is to balance the day. If the time at each winery maintains a brisk pace the tour may well end before 4pm. The reasons are: By visiting five wineries (Most in the industry) the sum total of wine consumed will be greater than a bottle and a quarter per person. Also, by that time all wine begins to taste the same. While we do not keep records of pickup but guides do log pickup times. Our records indicate the driver was on site by 10. Could well have been the inability to connect at that location He could have ended early if the wineries were visited. As far as the vehicle is concerned, Minivans or a Suburban are the industry standard for parties of 4 people or less. Beyond 4 we do use 9 passenger vans. The middle seats flip up with a slight pull on the release folding against the front seats and allowing approximately five feet of space for entering and exiting. We always strive to improve the level of service that has with a 95% excellent rating on Trip Advisor. We will use your comments to help us do that.
Written November 15, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Charlotte, NC21 contributions
Sep 2015 • Couples
Highly recommend Valley Wine Tours!
This was our first trip to San Francisco (35th wedding anniversary trip) and at the top of our to-do list was a trip to Sonoma. We originally booked with chain tour company, but decided we wanted a smaller more intimate experience. After reading the reviews on Trip Advisor we changed our reservation to Valley Wine Tours. Excellent decision!
Our wonderful tour guide Ron picked us up promptly at 9:15 at our hotel ... there is an extra fee for that, but we gladly paid it. He provided lots of information/history beginning on our ride out of the city, all through Sonoma, the wineries, back through the city and to our hotel.
We visited 4 very different styles of wineries, tastings included in the tour price, and bought a lot of wonderful wine! After we finished our tasting at the 3rd winery, Ron invited us out to a beautifully set table with tablecloth, cloth napkins, china and a delicious, healthy gourmet lunch. We bought a bottle of wine, sat in the shade, talked with Ron like we’d known him for ages and enjoyed an amazing meal. (FYI, he only drank water)
If we ever get back to the San Francisco area, #1 we will stay in Sonoma (beautiful!) and #2 we will definitely call on Valley Wine Tours!
Written September 9, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Scott A
5 contributions
Aug 2015 • Couples
My wife and I just wrapped up four wonderful days of wine tours guided by Bob. Every day was better than the one before. My wife studied wine as part of her curriculum in culinary school, yet we both learned a LOT during these amazing wine tasting experiences. Bob provided lunch each day either by bringing a delicious meat and cheese basket or by taking us to a restaurant where the food was delicious. Bob is very knowledgeable and is an excellent driver. He can talk about almost any subject and seems to know every wine maker in Sonoma and Napa. Most places we went to were family-owned wineries that offer exclusive, amazing wines you will not see in any stores or restaurants. These wine makers take such great pride in their craft and it shows in how they talk about their wines and the care they put into each bottle. Imagine going into a tasting room and meeting the owners or members of their family, or both! That was our experience time and time again over the four days. We did visit a couple of places that were larger operations, but Bob's connections at these places helped us bypass the lines of people that were not clever enough to hire Valley Wine Tours. One of the highlights of the week was the barrel tasting at Sunce Wineries. If you go there, ask for Riad as your guide. He is one of the most knowledgeable wine experts we have ever met.
This experience has changed our wine-buying habit forever. We may never buy wine from the supermarket again even though our local market has a very large selection. We can hardly wait for our shipments to arrive and it will be hard to wait for the wines to settle down from the shipping before we open them and enjoy some of the best wines in the world. We owe a big THANK YOU to Valley Wine Tours, specifically to Bob. We will send our friends and family to you and we will be back again as soon as possible.
Written August 18, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kecia S
Phoenix, AZ3 contributions
Jun 2015 • Couples
We made a last minute (few days) inquiry regarding arrangements for our 25th Wedding Anniversary weekend. We selected Valley Wine Tours due to the great reviews and ‘all inclusive’ package. Bob was quick to respond to our email and worked us in.

First, Valley Wine Tours is great with communications. They made sure we had numerous forms of contact information and they used it to keep us informed. The day of our tour, we received a call from Don, letting us know he was running a bit behind schedule (he was travelling from Napa to Sonoma). This was not a big deal to us. When he arrived (ON TIME) in a clean, brand new van, equipped with individual captain’s chairs, we were immediately welcomed and made part of a group tour with four other individuals. We have to admit though, all the kudos given to Bob, we were wondering if Don would live up to the Valley Wine Tour standard.

Boy did he blow us away! Don is very knowledgeable about all aspects of wine: history, chemistry, taste, distribution, family, etc., he was also able to inform us about the local history in a very engaging and unassuming way.

Don made the entire day great! His laid back-style and attentiveness to each of our every needs was wonderful. He was flexible in how we, as an entire party, wanted to spend the day. This was no ‘canned’ tour.

We visited four wineries. We could have done five, but we opted for quality time vs. quantity in wineries. We connected with the sommelier (staff) of the wineries and had a great time. Don prepared a wonderful lunch adjacent to a vineyard at our third stop. No cheese and crackers here. Fresh everything: organic tomatoes turned into a beautiful caprese appetizer; olives galore; handmade sun-dried tomato, pesto, cheese and pine nut tort with sourdough; hand-tossed salad; meat platter with salami and turkey.

Don recognized we were having a great time and kept the tour late at our last winery. Thinking the day was done, Don gave us a suggestion to visit a cheese factory or brewery on the way home. The group chose the brewery. Nice way to end the day.
We made great friends, memories and plans to visit Sonoma and use Valley Wine Tours again in the future. Every tour is unique, engaging and memorable.

Thank you Valley Wine Tours, and especially Don.
Written June 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Washington DC, DC12 contributions
Feb 2015 • Couples
First I should say that I'm not sure our experience was typical but it was definitely perfect. I had scheduled a group tour but my boyfriend and I ended up being the only two that scheduled that day. We were picked up and greeted by "Dr.Bob" at our hotel and he pretty much left it up to us where we wanted to go. We were staying in Healdsburg so Dr. Bob got out a wine map and highlighted the various areas we could go- we decided on Dry Creek since it was so close and we were told there were amazing zinfandels to be tasted. We were game and off we went! We ended up visiting 5 wineries (in the end probably should have only done 3 or 4 given the heavy pours we got at each place) but overall they were all very different and all great. Dr. Bob was the perfect guide! Not only was he informative about the area and the wine but was also very friendly. Without even asking he offered to be our photographer for the day so we had great pictures of our day and visiting all the wineries. Dr. Bob was also really accommodating- when he found out that my boyfriend and I both do fisheries work he even offered to drive us up to Sonoma Lake so we could see the very cool fishway that had been put in- and we even got to see fish moving upstream! Overall I can't say enough good things about this tour and especially Dr. Bob. It was an amazing day and a really great experience. I highly recommend this tour group to anyone wanting a cool and accommodating guide!
Written March 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Valley Wine Tours (Sonoma) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go