Whenever my friends come to visit wine country for a day trip or vacation, they have no idea where to start. This list is everything you need to know as you begin to plan your perfect day in wine country.
- Designated Driver: Plan ahead for a designated driver. Whether its a non-drinker in your group, a pre-planned tour bus, or a local limo/car service, it is absolutely critical that you plan to have a sober driver in advance.
- Bring Water: Remember to pack water that you can drink in between wineries. Wine will naturally lead to dehydration so make sure you stock up on plenty of water.
- Plan to visit 3 or 4 wineries (per day): Most wineries are open from 10-4PM, so if you’re planning a full day of wine tasting keep in mind that most wineries will close their doors at 5PM. Some people try to cram in too many stops which takes away from the fun, leisurely experience of drinking wine. My ideal wine tasting day consists of about 3 wineries with a nice break for lunch in between. Most people forget the wine tasting is a leisurely activity, so there’s nothing worse than being rushed. If you have a group over 6 people, then I recommend keeping it at 2 wineries with lunch in between. Which brings me to my next point…
- Don’t forget lunch: Lunch is a very important factor to your day of wine tasting if you don’t want to feel like garbage the next day. I highly recommend stopping at a market such as Oakville Grocery or Dry Creek General Store. There are plenty of markets in the area if you want to grab picnic food and bring it to BYO- food wineries like Larson Family.
- Make Reservations: Not all wineries require a reservation, but I highly recommend making one especially if you have more than 4 people. You can typically call in or reserve a time online.
- Ask about waived tastings with purchase: Many (not all) wineries will waive your tasting experiences if you purchase a bottle or case of wine. You can ask at the beginning of the tasting if that sways you to buy a bottle (or two).
- Ask to “re-visit” the wine you liked: If you liked one of the wines, you can ask your host to “re-visit” the wine and they will pour you some more wine. Its a little trick if you want more bang for your buck 🙂
- Become friends with your host: Ge to know your host! They’re local to the area and are always willing to share some of their favorite spots nearby. They’re typically very knowledgeable and passionate about wine, so don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
- Be mindful of other guests: Noise level can vary by winery, but keep in mind that wine country isn’t built for people to rage. Especially towards the end of the day as you may start to feel the alcohol, just keep in mind that loud and rowdy groups are not always welcome with open arms.