Let’s face it, Prices are high
Napa is a world-renowned wine region with an estimated 4 million visitors each year. With that traffic comes high demand and equally high prices. So if you’re planning a trip to Napa and are budget conscious, it’s worth it to do some homework so you won’t be dollar shocked when you get here. Keep reading to learn the true cost to wine taste in Napa.
Single tasting cost estimates in Napa
If you don’t have much of a budget there are a handful of places where you can taste for about $35pp-$40pp. That said, if you’re in Napa it’s one of those places where you might as well splurge. This is especially true if you don’t have the ability to visit often. Higher-end and world-renowned locations average $75-$150pp for a tasting. And you can definitely go up from there if you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
You figure on average you’re visiting 3 wineries per day so let’s call it $300pp on the conservative side. Throw in lunch which averages around $25-$50pp along with breakfast and dinner and you’re looking at $100-$200pp for meals. That doesn’t include fine dining. For example, an eight-course meal with paired wines at French Laundry is upward of $1000 or so per person (that is if you can get a reservation). So not for the weak of wallet types.
Cost of getting around in Napa
Then don’t forget about a driver. Getting a DUI on vacation isn’t something you’d want to happen in addition, it’s a good idea as there are occasional bikers on the road, and running into them could be horrific (it definitely happens). With that being said, if you are super budget conscious try uber and Lyft. Just make sure the wineries you’re going to are on Highway 29 or Silverado trail. More than once I’ve received calls from people stuck up in the hillsides/mountainsides of the valley. (See our article can you uber around Napa Valley for more details).
If you are a Wine Pass member you can email our concierge at email@example.com to get some advice on locations to play it safe, if you’d like to go this route. Expect to spend around $200 or so on Ubers up and down the valley as there are spikes in rates and oftentimes traffic at the end of a busy Saturday.
Getting a driver
If you have a bit more flexible budget I’d recommend getting a driver to drive your rental car or personal car. The going rate in the valley is $45 -$50/hr and an average tour is 5-7 hours plus tip. It’s nice as it makes the day more affordable and they can run and do errands for you like grab lunch or drop off wine to be shipped. With this type of experience, you’re looking at spending $300-$400 including tips.
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If budget isn’t an issue for you there are some pretty fantastic experiences in Teslas or high-end sedans. Those range from $65-125/hr depending on what you’re looking for. So that means you’re looking at a day with tips that would be around $700-$1000 in transportation costs.
Accommodation costs in Napa
Moving on from the winetasting, food, and transportation, you’ll also have to consider accommodations. Being on the global map of cities like Rome, Tokyo, and Sydney, Napa Valley has an entire population of 120,000 people. There are limited places to stay and thus it allows hotels and Airbnbs to charge premiums.
If you’re very budget conscious I would check out staying in American Canyon (you can get hotel rooms ranging from $100-$300/nt depending on the season). There are a few spots where you can get some decent places at really affordable prices. Next I would check out Airbnbs (there are only 100 legal permit in Napa for short term rentals so play on the side of caution and look for their rental permit number on their page something like VR-0092). If budget isn’t an issue there are some pretty spectacular hotels like Auberge Du Soleil and Calistoga Ranch (during high-season these can go for $2500+ per night).
If you’re planning during high-demand weekends like Bottlerock, premier, harvest, etc. plan as far out as possible to secure availability at the best prices. Hotel Tonight and Expedia tend to have decent prices as well for hotels. You can also reach out to us at priority wine pass as we know of some great spots to stay at decent prices or get you a discount too. If you are a wine pass member you can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we know of some great spots to stay at decent prices and we can get you a discount too (for example members get 15% off rates at Harvest Inn).
Other hidden wine tasting costs
While we won’t go into the benefits and the full cost of travel insurance, we wanted to touch on something that could catch you by surprise. Many travelers invest in travel insurance, but unbeknownst to them, their policies get voided the second they take a sip of alcohol. That said, we recommend you check out and do more research here or here so your cost to wine taste in Napa doesn’t come with any nasty surprises.
Final estimate of wine tasting costs in Napa
Now that you have an overview of the cost to wine taste in Napa, you can see that it can get expensive quickly. If you’re on a tight budget you could probably get away with spending as little as $850 for a 2 night’s stay (in American Canyon during low season) with food and tastings and if you purchase a Priority Wine Pass and get some assistance from our concierge and then up from there.
We also like to point out that you should take into consideration some hidden costs such as tipping (yes, it’s nice to tip your tasting server but you don’t have to if they don’t go above and beyond). I’d say a nice tip for two people would be $10 per couple, but learn more about how much you should tip when wine tasting in Napa here.
We’ll help bring your wine tasting costs down!
If you want to look at additional ways to save money and would rather buy wine than pay for tastings you can reach out to us as well and we can introduce you to some hidden spots.