Planning the Ultimate Wine Country Tour
Wine Tasting Done Right
As wine making and wine tasting become more popular in the U.S. and wine regions continue to expand, more and more of us have the unique opportunity to sample the bounty than ever before. If you are planning a trip to Wine Country, here are some helpful suggestions to make the most out of your experience.
1. Limit the number of wineries you plan to visit to three. Trying to squeeze too many visits into a day limits your experience. Take your time. Walk the grounds, the vineyards or the cellar if permitted. Talk to the tasting room staff, they love to share their knowledge about wine with those who are interested.
2. Be considerate of others and avoid perfumes and heavily scented body/hair products. Strong aromas may mask or even alter both the nose and the mouth of the wine for you and wine drinkers around you.
3. Consider renting a limo for the day to drive you around. Quit worrying about designated drivers and just enjoy yourself. Sharing the cost with a few other couples makes it a very affordable luxury.
4. Leave the kids at home. It's no fun for children to shadow their parents all day while going from winery to winery. Granted, there are exceptions, but you need to do your research first. If you want to make it a family outing, pick a winery with picnic grounds and an outdoor activity like bocce ball or horseshoes to keep the kids busy while you sip away.
5. Be prepared to spend a little cash. Once upon a time, wine tasting was a free activity, but those days are long gone. If you are prepared to spend up to $10 per person at each winery you won't have any disappointing surprises. You're not obligated to buy anything, but tasting rooms are in business to sell wine. So, if you like something or enjoyed your experience, take home a bottle of the memory.
6. Bring a cooler to store your purchases. As it can get quite warm in the car while touring wine country, you'll want to protect the bottles of wine you bring home. A little preparation goes a long way in the prevention of cooked wine.
7. Bring a lunch, buy a bottle and stay awhile.
8. The five S’s: swirl, sniff, sip, savor and spit.
9. Yes, it's OK to spit. Spit buckets are located conveniently in every tasting room. Though spitting in itself can be awkward and perhaps even messy for novice wine tasters, a little splash is much more desirable than a drunk.
10. Remember you are a guest and act like one. Wineries can be a dangerous place if you wander where you shouldn't be. Secondly, oftentimes a winery is a family business with the family living on the grounds so don't open closed doors and respect private property. Lastly, though wine tasting should be a fun activity, don't get too crazy and don't get too drunk.
More by this Author
I remember driving through Taos, New Mexico with my husband noticing an unusual cluster of homes—a colony of small mounds, with windows peering west—their eyes wide open, built right into the side of the hills. I...