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“Great time had by all!”

Best Bay Area Tours
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Owner description: Welcome to Best Bay Area Tours!!! WE ARE OPEN TO INDIVIDUALS and THE PUBLIC!!! We are a fun and affordable tour company operating in and around beautiful San Francisco California. We offer a variety of tour options. We feature small group tours - no large overcrowded groups at Best Bay Area Tours. Best Bay Area Tours is an experienced tour operator with many years in the San Francisco area. Let us take you on one or more of our exciting adventures.
Orlando, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Great time had by all!”
Reviewed 20 February 2012

We did our research on Tripadvisor and chose Alan to do our full day tour. We had an awesome time. He listend to what we wanted to do and then planned a great day accordingly. He has great knowledge of the city and then he took us to a few memorable wineries in Sonoma/Napa valley. We could not have chosen a more perfect and fun person to share our day with. When we return, we will definitely use Best Bay Area Tours again and would highly recommend them if you are looking to do a wine or city tour. Thanks Alan for the great memories!

Visited February 2012
1 Thank Robyn07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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534 reviews from our community

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San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Picture Perfect Trip to Sonoma and Napa Wine Country”
Reviewed 17 February 2012

What can I say? The trip to the Napa and Sonoma wine country was one of the nicest days I've ever had. My brother was visiting from Kansas City, Missouri, and he had never been to the famous wine country north of San Francisco. I researched various tour companies, and I feel so lucky that we ended up on Alan's Best Bay Area Tours. The day was perfect, from beginning to end. Starting with the pick-up ... I live in Noe Valley San Francisco, and I was delighted to find out that Alan was happy to pick us up right at our house. Wow! Alan's beautifully designed van arrived right on time. We drove through the San Francisco fog and picked up the other passengers (a lovely couple from Victoria, Canada) near Union Square. Then we watched the clouds lift and were treated to a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning sunshine, as we headed for the sunny golden hills of Marin County.

Alan was a great tour guide, helping to get the conversation going with introductions; he had the most charming jokes and commentary about things we said, and things we passed along the way ... but he didn't prattle on endlessly .... it was just right. Also it felt like a very private tour because it was just Alan and the four of us.

At 9:55 a.m. we arrived at our first stop, Grgich Hills winery, which is very historic. Grgich was the winemaker for one of the wines that won the international contest in France, back in the 1970s, that put Napa Valley "on the map," so to speak. We went to four wineries in all ... Grgich Hills, Milat, Benzinger, and Jacuzzi. For the three wineries that Alan picked ... Grgich Hills, Milat, and Jacuzzi .... it felt like we had a real "insider connection" ... at each stop, we were greeted warmly and the owner or person providing the tasting obviously knew Alan and was on very good terms with him. At Milat winery, the OWNER HIMSELF was the one who personally gave us the tasting, entertaining us with stories about his family and the winemaking business, and showing us the recent wounds he had from pruning his own vines. It was this "insider's track" that made us feel very special, and I am very thankful to Alan for this.

Now Benzinger winery, that was my idea .... Alan said he didn't normally go there, but I wanted to try it because I had heard about Benzinger's tram tour of their biodynamic vineyards, which also goes to their wine cellars and wine processing machinery etc. Alan was very kind to deviate from his usual track and to indulge me in this, and thankfully the other travelers were keen on it as well. The tour at Benzinger was fabulous. We loved seeing how the wine is made and how the barrels are made, etc ... and the views from the tram were breathtaking! I took an awesome picture on my brother's camera; if I can get it from him, I will post it here. So I'm really glad we did the Benzinger tour. But ... I could definitely see the difference between Benzinger, where we were just some faces in the crowd, compared to the wineries that Alan picked out, where we had a much more personal experience.

The lunch stop in Sonoma was very nice, too. We got to see the old Spanish barracks and the old Spanish mission. The lunch stop was sold out of veggie burgers, but luckily I had brought a vegan lentil wrap in my bag. So I didn't go hungry and had a wonderful time. My brother and I walked around the town square after lunch. It was so lovely to soak up that nice warm sunshine while enjoying a light buzz from all the wines we had tasted thus far! :)

This reminds me of one important tip. You might like to bring something to snack on, during the drive ... I brought carrots, a banana, an apple, some crackers, and a chocolate almond bar (Chocolove!) ... which I snacked on all the way, while driving from winery to winery. I think this really helped, because I don't know would have handled all of that alcohol otherwise. Also, I tend to get carsick, and it usually helps me to munch on something, to keep the nausea down. There is quite a lot of driving on this trip, some of it being on winding roads ... and with my snacks at the ready, I had no trouble with nausea and felt FANTASTIC the entire day. :)

Now about the tastings ... if I can remember properly :) .... we sampled five wines at Grgich Hills (which cost $15 per person, with a beautiful Grgich Hills wine glass included), four or six? wines at Milat (which were free if we bought some wine, and we bought 2 bottles there), and 10 wines at Benzinger (included in the tour price; it was 5 wines per person, but my brother and I shared each tasting, so we got to taste 10), and about 5 wines at Jacuzzi (included in the tour price). At Jacuzzi they also had chocolate shots for $2 each ... these were little chocolate cups with a bit of wine in each one ... you sip the wine first, and then put the whole chocolate cup in your month, letting the chocolate and wine blend together in your mouth. Incredible!

Alan was the nicest tour guide. He paid attention to all the little details, like putting together a mix of San Francisco themed rock music to play as we were making our way back to the city. We got together and took group pictures at Jacuzzi winery, and I must say, Alan is a good photographer ... he knows how to frame a shot, which is very handy ... so if you ask him to take a picture for you, it will be a good one. Our last stop was a photo op in front of the Golden Gate Bridge at Hawk Hill (Conzelman Loop). Under blue skies with a view of the California coastline, the bridge and our fair city, and the ocean beyond ... my friends, it just doesn't get any better than this.

It was lovely that Alan dropped us off right at our doorstep. We finished the day by walking to 24th Street in Noe Valley for some fabulous deep dish pizza at Paxti's ... I definitely recommend this after a day of wine tasting. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day in the wine country. Thank you Alan, for making this day so special. My brother has only been to San Francisco one other time, in all of his life, and who knows when he'll be back ... so this was a very special outing for us. I'm so thankful that we found such a fabulous tour and had such good luck with the weather. TripAdvisor folks, don't hesitate to book a tour with Alan. He is AWESOME. :)

Visited February 2012
2 Thank Rachel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 February 2012

We did the Napa/Sonoma wine tour and it was awesome! Alan was our tour guide and he is also the owner. He was extremely nice and knowledgeable about the area. He was quite patient with us...as we ran a little off schedule. I would recommend this tour And this company to anyone!

Visited February 2012
1 Thank ejv1119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Central Saanich, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
64 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Far and Away the Best Tour Experience”
Reviewed 10 February 2012

We did a fair amount of research before we chose Best Bay Area Tours. We chose them because they use vans and not large buses. Since they specialize in smaller groups they can provide a much better tour experience. Alan was our guide and he is also the owner. He proved to be knowledgeable in not only the art and process of making wine but in San Francisco and the surrounding regions as well. We thoroughly enjoyed his insights into life in the area. We were picked up at our hotel at the time he said he would arrive, 8:15 am. We joined an out of town brother and his resident sister on our tour. We were able to go to 4 outstanding wineries each with their own 'personalities', Grgich, Milat, Benziger and Jacuzzi. We stopped for lunch midway through the day in Sonoma at an eatery that had cheese and fudge tasting as well as sandwiches or even a grill option. On our way back from our last tasting we listened to an eclectic music mix all related to San Francisco. We even stopped at Marin Park for the Golden Gate phot op. What a great way to spend a day!

Visited February 2012
4 Thank gmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Great Overview on a Great City with a Great Guide”
Reviewed 4 February 2012

Alan really knows and Loves his city of San Francisco. As we were the only people booked on our tour date we were fortunate to have a private tour. Alan showed us all the best bits of the city which gave us ideas of where to spend more time later. He gave us hints and tips for things to do. He had insights that come with local knowledge which were interesting and helpful. If we had had more time we would have booked another trip with him to see the Giant Redwoods and or the Wine district. We highly recommend Alan.

Visited January 2012
5 Thank HolidayDreamer101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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