Did you know there are over 8,000 wineries in America? That means,if you’d like to start a new tradition of visiting vineyards, you’ve struck gold.
A wine tour comes with so much to offer. You’ll constantly acquire new information, make a few friends along the way, and dip into a world that’s quite removed from your ordinary world.
Best of all, you can almost always seal the deal with a decadent dish from the winery’s restaurant. Pretty much, you’ll have it all: a new adventure every time, new knowledge, and a sumptuous meal.
In order to make the most of each expedition, we’ve detailed six tips that will bring you peace, comfort, and a delighted palate. Let’s get started.
- Go Early in the Day
There’s an episode from Sex and the City where Carrie was contemplating a move to Paris. She said she was in love with the man she was in a relationship with and she always wanted to drink wine before noon. It turns out she was onto something.
Whether you’re visiting France, the Napa Valley, or embarking on one of the many Finger Lakes wine tours, it’s best to go early in the day. After all, sipping on a glass of wine is the essence of comfort and calm.
If you visit a winery after noon, you’re bound to find a jam-packed tasting room. Is it really that fun and relaxing with a room full of rambunctious visitors creating chaos, noise, and havoc? We think not.
- Travel in the Off-Season
You probably see where we’re going by now. We like things calm, quiet, and informative. It’s difficult to achieve these things when the tasting rooms are cluttered and the pathways are crammed.
Spring, summer, and the beginning of fall are all peak seasons. So, try to plan for a New Year’s getaway or an early spring vacation.
As you start to edge into the summer, you’re starting to edge into those peak times when crowds begin to take away from the peace and tranquility that can be found in vineyards.
Finally, just like you should go early in the day and off-season, we’re going to suggest one more tip for peace and quiet. Go mid-week.
Take the time off from work to visit your favorite wineries on a Wednesday or a Thursday. Then, tuck yourself away into a luxurious local accommodation for the rest of the weekend.
- Dress Comfortably
Even though wine and high fashion are bosom buddies, we still encourage you to dress comfortably. Opt for your Jimmy Choo loafers over your Manolo Blahnik heels. Your tour guide is going to be gracious enough to take you all over the property.
You’re going to roam the cellars (climbing all kinds of stairs), drift through the vineyards, and cover a lot of territory in one morning. The last thing you want to be is uncomfortable or in pain.
Many vineyards have five-star restaurants attached to them. So, don’t fret. You can still slip into your favorite little black dress and high heels. Just save that ’til after the sun goes down.
- Hire a Car Service
It doesn’t matter where you’re going. There are Saint Louis wine tours, Santa Barbara wine tours, Traverse City Wine tours; the list goes on. No matter where your palate is taking you, be sure to set aside money in your budget for a car service.
Let this be the one vacation where you don’t have to drive. Cast all your cares away, including the fact that you don’t have to drive or follow your GPS. This will allow you to sample every glass and savor the moment a little while longer at the vineyard’s bar.
Taste the canapes; sample all things new. Just don’t do all that and drive. The worst way to end a wine tasting tour is from a jail cell because you went just a wee bit over the legal limit.
- Go from Light to Full Body
Now that you’re safe and secure (and know you don’t have to drive), we recommend you start with the lighter wines first and then work your way to the darker, full-bodied reds.
Many tasting lists have different wines to choose from. It’s common to be asked to select three whites and three reds. Other places will offer the full gamut and offer everything on the list.
If you can plan it to where you go from light to full body, your stomach will thank you. And, again, go prepared to eat some sumptuous, memorable meals. With that in mind, you don’t want to be liquid-full, and certainly not queasy.
- Swirl, Smell, Sip
These are the basics of the actual tasting. When your host pours wine into your glass, give a simple nod and a thank you. And you always want to hold your wine glass by the stem, not the cup. (Your hand will warm the wine to the wrong temperature.)
Then, give the glass a small swirl. This allows oxygen to get into the wine and release some wonderful aromas.
Enjoy the scent of those aromas; get acclimated to the wine. See if you can detect any floral or spicy notes. This is known as the “nose” of the wine).
Then, take a sip and give it a small swish around in your mouth. This will release all the flavors and let you know if you were right about those floral, berry, or spicy notes.
Remember, wine is a casual, slow love affair. Feel free to take your time and savor every last sip.
A Wine Tour for the Ages
And there you have it! If you travel in the off-season, wear comfortable clothes, and determine to take in every last scent and sip, then you will have a magnificent time on your next wine tour.
When you return from your tour, we invite you to keep coming back to visit our site. Here at Eat With Me, we’re a flavorful food and recipe blog that will take you to new heights.
After you’ve honed in on your favorite wine of the day, bring it home, pick out a new recipe from our blog, and make a night of it. We promise you’ll be happy you did.
Until then, we wish you safe and happy travels and look forward to cooking with you upon your return!