You like a nice glass of wine on occasion, and you enjoy learning about wine-making or want to know more, so you’re considering a wine-focused holiday. Perhaps you’ve chosen something further afield like South Africa, or maybe a popular choice such as California, Spain, or France. Before you finalise your itinerary, I’ve got some tips and suggestions for making your wine adventure a little more enjoyable.

Colorful wine bottles

  • Buy a map. Most wine-related destinations have an association or tourism board that prints maps that show where each vineyard is. Given there can be 10 in a stretch then none for miles, I have always found these maps helpful – particularly if you’re hunting for a special vineyard. Usually you can get these online as a PDF download, or ask at the first vineyard you stop if they’ve got one.
  • Plan your budget. Make sure you research whether or not you need to pay tasting fees. Figure out how much you can spend on wine – don’t forget fees for shipping it home or checked luggage fees for your flight. And then stick to it – it’s easy to go overboard with the credit card after a few too many glasses.
  • Research some vineyards in advance. I like to check if there are any extremely popular vineyards which require reservations (not common but there are some), or if there is a special spot with the best view. Where can you enjoy a picnic lunch? I like to have 2 or 3 things as my “must enjoy” and then let serendipity fill in the blanks.
  • Hydrate. Those small glasses stack up, so be sure to always have at least 1 glass of water per tasting, if not more.
  • Don’t feel like you have to overdo it. If a tasting room has 6 wines, that doesn’t mean you need to taste all 6.  I see people chugging a dessert wine – knowing they hate dessert wine – just because it was offered. Just politely decline any unwanted offers and move on. There will always be another wine waiting!
  • Get a driver. Sadly most wine regions require a car to get around – all those vines need space to grow! This means you need to ensure you have safe transport. A driver either means you take turns in your group for the sober driver, or you find a driver. There are often lots of options, from taxis that offer inexpensive point-to-point travel, public transport, or tour guides that handle all the logistics for you.
  • Find some non-wine activities. I love wine tastings, but after 3 days of it I’m done. You don’t want to overdo it, or you won’t want to enjoy your wine purchases when you get home. So plan some other things in your itinerary that doesn’t require knocking back yet another glass. Perhaps a long walk or hike, visiting some museums in the area, or a daytrip to another city nearby are all good ways to break things up. Plus, after you’ve had one or two winery tours, they all start to look the same, so avoid burnout.

What are your wine-tasting trip tips?

Photos by: Thomas Sly, Selena N.B.H.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Activities
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