Besides indulging in glasses upon glasses of various wine, wine tours are quite educational experiences. You’ll be introduced to the process of winemaking, walk the vineyards, and learning about what goes into each glass of wine you taste.
There are a large variety of wine tours. If you are thinking about going on a wine tour, you’ll want to know what you can expect. This article will tell you everything you need to know.
Before the Tour
So you’ve decided you want to do a wine tour. Great! First things first you’ll want to determine what you have to work with. Check your local area of vineyards and if they provide tours to the public, or if you’re planning on heading to a new area look to see what’s nearby and offered.
Selecting Your Wine Tour
Make your list of who’s attending and how many of you there will be. A quick Google search of ‘wine tours near me’ will give you a list of options to choose from. Do your research on each tour type to make the best pick.
Do you want one that will last all day? Do you want a wine tasting tour that lasts a couple of hours? What about a wine tour bus? Or better yet a wine train tour? Figuring out these questions will help you select the best wine tour for you and your group.
You can also opt for a self-guided wine tour by selected a few vineyards on the map, or see if there are any guided tours operating.
Booking Your Tour
For a good wine tour, you will have to book ahead for your selected date and time and in some cases put down a deposit to hold your spot. Check the rules surrounding one or two no shows in your group, as sometimes things come up & you don’t want to be stuck with an unforeseen fee.
Be sure to check the weather report. Nothing drowns out a good wine tour like a rainy day. Look at your local weather forecast to make sure you’re taking advantage of a nice and sunny day.
If your wine tour provides transportation to and from the various vineyards, coordinate your carpool so that everyone knows where to go. If it doesn’t you can look into hiring a car, limo, bus, or renting bikes if they’re within reasonable distance to get you from point A to point B.
Also, if you’re celebrating an occasion and/or you plan on going with a bigger group be sure to ask if they offer group rates or discounts for a group over a certain number. Most places will happily throw in a little extra for a special occasion or a larger party.
During the Experience
It’s the day you’ve been waiting for! W-day! Grab your sunhat and put on your best pastels and get ready to experience your wine country tour. Wine tours require their fair share of walking, so be sure to put on comfortable shoes or at least pack a spare pair to change into just in case.
Before you start tasting the nectar of the gods, you’ll get your introduction and walkthrough of the property. Your tour guide will tell you about the vineyards history, the various types of grapes planted, the methods of harvesting, as well as the aging process of their wines.
Along with a walkthrough of the vineyard, in some cases, you will also get a tour of their indoor facilities to get a peek at the vine to bottle process. You may see rows upon rows of barrels in their cellars that house the wine during the aging process and also help in flavor development.
Each vineyard will have its own history tied to it, so be sure to pay attention! Most vineyards started as small family businesses before burgeoning into the market. They will have their own unique history attached to it that will make your wine experience that much more exciting.
You’ve made it to the best part! Here’s where you’ll indulge your palate with a variety of wine types to pick and choose your favorites.
Typically your wine tour will have a tasting of six glasses of wine with about half a glass of wine in each. Some wine tastings will even go as far as having pairings with your glasses to get the benefit of a blended taste experience.
During the tasting, your guide will walk you through the differences in each glass. From the age of the wine, the fermenting and bottling process, down to what notes and flavors you should see, smell, feel, and taste in each sip the guide will be there every step of the way.
Be sure to note which ones you’ve liked best so that you can know for the end of the tour and future reference.
Wrapping Up the Visit
The conclusion of your wine tour will typically end at the vineyards shop where you can browse and purchase some memorabilia. This is your opportunity to select your favorite wine from your sampling and stock up on a bottle or two (or six, we won’t judge!).
You also have the opportunity to ask any questions before you go. If you’ve really enjoyed the wine, ask if they sell to retail stores and where you can find them outside of their main location. This will make your next wine shop a breeze and avoid the disappointment of not finding your new fave on a store shelf.
You’ve Completed Your Wine Tour!
And that’s it! A thorough walkthrough of what you can expect on your wine tour. Go with an open mind ready to learn new things and discover some cool facts about wine and of course a bottle or three of wine to take home!
Have you had a great wine tour experience? Let us know by leaving a comment!
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