BY SEAM TEAM
Wine. Friends. Sunshine. What’s not to love about a wine tasting weekend? Sipping a crisp white on the patio is among the more enjoyable weekend getaway options. Wine tasting weekends are popular for birthdays, bachelorette parties, family gatherings and more.
But no weekend away can be successful without a little forethought and planning. Whether you’re a wine-tasting newbie or a seasoned aficionado, these tips will ensure your wine tasting weekend goes off without a hitch.
Most wine tasting trips involve multiple stops at different vineyards. And some wine-growing regions are large and difficult to navigate. Getting from one vineyard to the next can pose a challenge to those who have not planned for it.
After all, most people on a wine tour are drinking alcohol for a good proportion of the day. Since booze and driving don’t mix, you’ll need to plan to have a designated driver or hire a car service to take you around.
In some areas, vineyards may be close enough together that walking between them is reasonable. In others, wine-and-cycling tours have exploded in popularity. If your friends or loved ones like hopping on a bike as much as they like sipping chardonnay, this might be a fun option. Consider the fitness level and preferences of your whole group before making a choice.
Know Before You Go
When it comes to choosing which vineyards to visit, knowledge is power. To make your trip a success, develop a list of can’t-miss vineyards to visit on your tour. If there are any special favorites you need to go to, it is worth coming up with a list ahead of time so you don’t miss out.
It is equally important to stay a little flexible when planning your wine tour. Allowing for extra time between vineyards gives you the opportunity for serendipity. You never know when you might stumble across a hidden gem. Many people report their new favorite vineyard is one that wasn’t even included in their original tour plans.
Consider The Weather And Season
In many areas, wine tours take place all year-round. But summertime seems to be the peak season for wine tasting in most areas of the country. If you’re looking to take advantage of the sun and warm weather on your tour, summer is the right time to visit. It may also be worth looking into visiting in spring or autumn, as these often have fewer crowds and better deals on accommodations.
The weather forecast should also inform the items you choose to bring with you. Summertime wine tastings mean you need to bring sunscreen, a sun hat and clothes to keep you cool. If there is rain in the forecast, bring an umbrella and target wineries that have a covered tasting area.
Dress For The Occasion
Wine tours are often an upscale casual or business casual affair. Few wineries have a formal dress code. But wearing clothes that are unkempt, dirty, or too casual will make you look out of place. If your outfit would fit right in at a garden party or casual summer wedding, you are probably on the right track.
The most important fashion tip for any wine tasting weekend is to wear comfortable shoes. You will be spending four to eight hours a day on your feet between tastings and walking to vineyards. Shoes that pinch, are too tight, or become uncomfortable can drag your whole weekend down in a hurry. Trade your heels for a pair of comfortable flats and your feet will thank you later.
Decide Where To Eat
When it comes to eating on a wine tasting tour, options are seemingly endless. Many vineyards have a restaurant on their premises. Even small vineyards usually offer tapas-style menu items along with their wine selection. There are usually many high-quality dining options in most wine tasting regions.
You might also consider packing a picnic-style meal of cheese, bread and charcuterie. This is a budget-friendly option that allows you to enjoy the great outdoors.
You certainly do not need to plan out every single meal. However, having a good idea of the available options can help you to optimize your tasting route. Planning ahead makes it more likely that you will end up eating somewhere great.
Find Accommodations That Make Sense
If you live outside of a wine region, chances are that you will need to stay for a couple of nights over the weekend. Consider carefully what you are looking for and what would suit your group best.
Do you have budgetary constraints? Do you need to have a kitchen onsite? Are you hoping to stay within walking distance of the nearest vineyard, or on a vineyard itself? All of these considerations should help determine where you choose to stay.
Maybe you have always dreamed of doing a wine tour with your best friend. Maybe you are an overworked parent looking for a weekend away with your partner. No matter what your situation, by following these tips, your wine tasting weekend away will be smooth and effortless. SEAM