Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Plan a Wine Tasting Trip

If you're going to go wine tasting, it's best to make a plan.

Identify a Primary Winery

I usually start with one winery that I want to visit for whatever reason. A wine from there may have won a blind tasting, or made a good showing. Perhaps a friend recommended it, or I read something about it. Maybe I've just never been there before. Something usually drives me to want to visit the place.

If you can't find a reason to go anywhere, shoot me an email and I'll give you one.

Search for Nearby Wineries

Sure there's one winery you want to make certain you hit, but to make a trip you typically want to visit 2 or 3 wineries. I use my winery web site, http://www.xperiencewine.com/, but google maps can work as well to search for wineries nearby.

Make an Itinerary

Start Early

Always arrive at the first winery when it opens. You'll get the most attention and the best service if you are the only ones there. Later in the day you will have to contend with crowds. This will also maximize the amount of time you have while the wineries are open. Wineries are typically open 11 - 5. If you have to travel an hour to the first one, you'd rather have this travel time not take away from the 6 hours of possible winery time.

Plan on an Hour per Winery

When laying out the schedule, plan on at least an hour for each winery.

Include Travel Time

It's easy to forgot about travel time if you don't include it. Don't make this mistake. Use Google maps, or whatever you prefer, to compute the travel time.

Plan Lunch

After your first or second stop, work in a lunch. Just like skipping breakfast is a bad idea, so too is skipping lunch.

Add an Audible or Two

Add one or two audibles to the list, just in case people are in the mood for more.

Verify the Wineries are Open, Make Reservations, if Necessary

Winery websites are notorious for containing out of date information. Call or email the wineries ahead of time to verify your plan works.

Some wineries require reservations or a heads up, depending on the amount of people in your party. When you call or email them, let them know how many are coming.

Be Aware of Event Days

Wine regions have all sorts of special occasions to try and get as many people as they can out tasting. These occasions can be really fun or really annoying depending on what you are looking for. Be aware of what is going on, and participate or avoid them depending on your liking.


Yes you made a plan, but don't get all uptight about it. If you spend longer than an hour at some great winery, then so be it. Enjoy the tasting!