Choose Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley wine tours when visiting San Francisco. Both offer tours of stellar reputed wineries, fine wine tasting along with gourmet dining and overnight accommodations.

Napa Valley being the most famous, it is also the busiest and likely to lean to the tourist or 'day trippers' as the locals refer to the tourism oriented visitors.

Sonoma Valley is just as beautiful as Napa Valley and holds wineries of equal caliber in a slower pace environment and more casual atmosphere. Sonoma Valley also offers fine wine tasting and gourmet dining with quality overnight accommodations.

Transportation, costs, tours from San Francisco to the Napa or Sonoma Valleys

Whether by limo, wine train, bus or guided tour arranging transportation or a tour of the wine country from San Francisco is as easy as an internet search. Dependent only on what your pleasure is, how long you wish to stay and how much you wish to spend.

One of the most popular couple's tours is the 'Ballooning and Limo' package offered by Beau Wine Tours. Ranging around the $1,000 per couple price point, the tour includes personalized limo or sedan tour of the wine country for the day. Starting off with a hot-air balloon trip over the valley that ends with a post-flight champagne breakfast. Testimonials note that the in-depth knowledge of the valley, the wineries and their owners and the slow pace offered by Beau's personal chauffer is a much more well-rounded tour than the more tourist oriented packages.

The 'Wine Train' is a collection of early 20th century railroad dining and lounge cars. They height of luxury and fine gourmet dining while traveling the 25 miles of track right in the heart of Napa Valley. An intimate and special dining experience can be found in the 'Vista Dome' high above all other travelers and seated under a collection of antique dome windows. The Wine Train is affiliated with the Hilton Garden Inn and offers overnight accommodations packages as well. Ranging in price from around $200 to $600 per couple.

Wineries and special trails

Touring a winery is referred to as walking a winery trail. Through the vineyards and the wine-making rooms, storage cellars.

Peak visitor time of year is May through October. Winter and off-season months of November through April see more special events offered such as barrel and library tastings with new releases offered after February.

The wine country of Napa and Sonoma Valley is also much warmer than the climate of San Francisco at any time of the year. Locals advise to dress accordingly and in layers, especially for the longer walking trails.

Wide ranges of overnight accommodations are available. From resort to spa get-away packages, all dependent on what you wish to experience. Special events, such as wedding packages are also available.

If the Sonoma Valley is your choice, the most historic wineries are in the Town of Sonoma itself.

The historic wine tasting room of the Buena Vista Winery, founded in 1857. Incredible historic memorabilia on display, the winery is noted for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Another noted historic winery in Sonoma is the Sebastiani Winery. Built and founded in 1904 by Samuele Sebastiani the winery was sold in 2009 to Bill Foley and his Foley Estate Corporation. Gorgeous stone masonry work throughout the winery is one of Sebastiani's trademarks.

The sixth generation Gundlach Bundschu winery was founded in 1857. Noted for its Merlot, the winery and trail itself are steeped in tradition. A must visit according to locals.

When choosing the Napa Valley trails, the historic and famous wineries are more spread apart.

The oldest continuous running winery is Beringer Vineyards located in the Rhine House, noted for the classic German style chateau design. Beautiful landscaping and gardens mark the trail. Founded in 1897 with offerings covering a broad range of taste and cost.

The Rubicon Estate was made famous from the great Inglenook wines produced throughout most of the winery's history. Magnificent architecture revealed on a website obviously designed and choreographed by the Rubicon's famous owner, Francis Ford Coppola.

Robert Mondavi Winery is considered the most instrumental leader bringing the Napa Valley into the realm of world renowned wineries. Now one of the most recognized wineries in the world, it is also the most visited. With notable California Spanish influenced architecture, the Mondavi Winery is one of most recognizable in the world.