Tip-Toeing Through Wine Country

Tip-Toeing Through Wine Country

What To Remember on Your Next Wine Tasting Adventure



                                                                                                                                                       photo by nicky vallee


1. Designated drivers are the key to any great day spent meandering the hillsides and rural paths of wineries and vineyards.

2. Many tasting rooms are by appointment only. Make sure to call ahead to reserve your place and don’t be late!

3. Wearing perfume, cologne or scented lotions can greatly affect the aroma and taste of wine, consider going without to make your experience as fulfilling as possible.

4. The earlier you can plan your tasting, the better your palette will be. 10:30am is an optimal time for your taste buds to permeate flavor.

5. If a tasting room says they close at 5, it’s probably not best to show up ten minutes prior. Give yourself, and the staff, enough time to enjoy the process of tasting.

6.  Make sure to eat before you start tasting and bring a bottle of water with you.

7. Several tasting rooms charge a fee (usually $10-$25), but will happily waive the fee if you are purchasing wine. Don’t be afraid to ask.

8. If you are visiting several wineries, plan accordingly when possible. Start with purveyors of whites and champagne, followed by reds, ports and dessert wines, just as you would with dinner.

9. Remember it’s a tasting tour, not a marathon so don’t overcrowd your schedule.  Visiting more than 4 wineries will not only exhaust your palette, it will likely exhaust your energy as well.

10. Spitting and dumping is acceptable. You are not obligated to try every wine poured nor are you forced to drink all the wine in your glass.

11. Join the wine club or mailing list if the winery has one. This is a great way to be updated about special releases and gives you the ability to purchase wines not readily available in your area.

12. Get the local perspective. If you haven’t planned your dinner or lunch, ask the winery staff where they like to eat. Often times they’ll recommend restaurants that carry their wine or have insight into the best-of-the best in local cuisine.

13. Ask questions. This is your opportunity to get first-hand information regarding the wine and how it’s produced. The winery staff—whether it’s the winemaker, the owner or the tasting room manager—are well versed in what they are pouring and selling and are likely to fill you with details and stories not available on a website or in tasting notes.

14. Skip the Manolos and crisp white sweater. There’s a chance you’ll be offered a tour in the vineyard, or sip on some red. Wine Country Casual is a broad theme for fashion, so make sure you are comfortable and that anything you don’t want seen (drips and drops) can be easily disguised.



Rebecca Toedter



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