There is no right or wrong way to plan a wine tour and to experience a wine tasting, but we thought you might need some tips on how to make your wine trip a one to remember. There are actually so many details you might want to take into account when getting ready for a wine tour, and many of these might sound irrelevant but can make a difference.
Choose the wine areas you want to visit
It kind of goes without saying, but an essential step when planning a wine tourism experience is to decide where you want to go. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of “broad” wine regions, within which thousands of sub-appellations exist. One could spend his or her entire life traveling and tasting wine and likely not be able to hit every sub-appellation around the world.
Choose the best season depending on the region
When going around for wine tastings and tours, you don’t want the weather to be too hot, too cold nor too rainy. One important thing you need to be aware of is the climatic difference between the northern and southern hemispheres; when it’s summer in the northern part of the world, it’s winter in the southern and vice-versa. You don’t want to end up planning a wine tour during a dead part of the season (unless you really want to avoid tourists) and risk that wineries are closed or offer fewer wine tastings.
If you are planning to visit wineries for the harvest experience, remember that in the southern hemisphere harvest season is normally from February to April months when in the northern hemisphere, it is from August to October depending on the country.
Book in advance
Last minute booking can lead to disappointment! Wineries have limited availability, so is usually better to book in advance ( also a month before if you’re planning to come during the busiest months).
Plan which wineries you would like to visit
Every wine area has tonnes of wineries so, it’s important that you decide which one fits your preferences. You can find small wineries (or boutique wineries), that usually are family-run; there you can find a warm atmosphere and for sure they are going to welcome you like you are part of their family, plus usually, their attention to each guest is scrupulous.
The other choice is to concentrate your self on big wineries, for sure in there you can find famous and internationally known wines, usually big wineries are also already big brands all over the world. They are easier to find on the web but remember that your experience there could be a little bit cold and less exclusive.
In the end, this decision it’s really up to you depends on what you like and what are your expectations.
Visit no more than 2 or 3 wineries a day
It’s better to enjoy each winery, each experience and savor each wine while relaxing. Nowadays most wineries offer real and local experiences like cooking classes, traditional meals or other activities paired with the tasting of their wines. So my advice is to stop, relax, eat local and drink good wines.
Make the most of your visit
Some wineries now offer good food and dining experiences, too, including gourmet picnics and fine restaurant dining. Take advantage of a restaurant or outdoor picnic area to break up the day and, more importantly, to enjoy a spectacular meal or view. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, bring along your own picnic lunch, buy a bottle of wine at the winery shop and enjoy the view of the vineyards. Some wineries offer cultural experiences, too, such as concerts, art exhibits and spectacular architecture.
You don’t need to be a pro to go for wine tasting
You won’t need to pass a test regarding your knowledge of wine or tasting skills in order to be part of a wine tasting. Most people that visit wineries are just curious to learn more about the world of wines and maybe learn something about the wine production in a specific wine region or appellation. There is no need for you to get your sommelier certificate beforehand.
Tips on what to wear during your wine trip
Here’s what we suggest:
- Don’t wear your best whites if you are planning on drinking red wine.
- Always bring a sweater or something to cover yourself in case you are going to visit the cellars – even on a sunny summer day, it can be quite cold down there.
- Don’t wear too much perfume or cologne – it may alter your sense of smell and that of those around you.
- You don’t need to dress fancy to participate in a wine tasting. That kind of dress code is more for candlelight dinners.
- If you love wearing high heels, bring a pair of comfortable shoes with you just in case a walk in the vineyard is part of the wine tour.
Can you bring wine back home?
Yes! We always advise people to bring an extra suitcase or leave space in their suitcase for two or 3 bottles. Some wineries abroad ship to the US, but only if you buy a certain amount of wine. And many wineries don’t ship. So don’t assume, always ask. If you just want a bottle or two of a special wine, you’re better off checking it in your luggage. You may want to consider buying a couple of wine protector bags like Wine Skin to put in your luggage before you leave, so you have something to protect your bottles on the way back. According to the FAA, there are no limits on how much alcohol you can pack in your checked luggage if the alcohol by volume is less than 24 percent (generally beer and wine).