Strolling through the vast vineyards in the cold and crisp weather as you watch the crimson sky and sip onto a glass of your favorite wine is a dream come true for every wine lover out there. It might seem to be a daunting experience if you are not a veteran in the wine tasting circuit. So here are six tips for you to create the best wine tour.
Do Some Homework Before Your Visit
With so many wineries popping up, a little homework can get you the best experience out of your tour. The very first step is to make a list of wineries and create a tour plan. Know the necessary details, such as the seasons and hours of operation, tour prices, tasting costs, etc. If you have a preference, say, you like fruit wines, select the winery accordingly. You might as well try out new wineries offering flavors you haven’t experienced before.
The Perfect Season Matters
Though winery tours are fun throughout the year, most tourists prefer the peak harvest season for a visit. Try not to visit the vineyards during winters to ensure a comfortable journey. If you wish to see the budding, spring is the best season to visit. An off-season midweek visit is another great option if you wish to avoid the crowd and enjoy a private afternoon with your loved ones cherishing exotic tastes of wine. During peak seasons, make an early visit to understand all the intricate details of the winemaking process.
Try out New Varieties
What makes any wine tour a great gift is a joy and thrill of tasting exquisite flavors that you have never tasted before. Don’t miss out on the regional varieties by just sticking to the grapes you are aware of. Even for the standard varieties, the essence may vary across winemakers owing to their unique manufacturing process. If you favor the sweet ones, keep an open mind to try out the drier ones too; if you prefer red wine, let the white varieties tingle your taste buds too.
Take Notes on the Tour
Of course, nobody expects you to remember every bit of information you gather during the tour. Whether it is the grape growing process, the details about the four stages of testing (appearance, ‘in glass’ aroma, ‘in mouth’ sensation, and aftertaste) or the taste of your favorite try of the day, you have the liberty to jot down all of it. Ask for a pen and paper at the vineyard if you aren’t carrying any. And, nobody is going to judge you whether you write ‘Yuck’ or ‘Perfect’ after you taste a particular variety. This way, when you go back home, you can buy your favorite flavors at a bar or avoid the ones that failed to please you.
Swish and Spit or Swallow
When the topic of wine tasting arises during a visit to the winery, this is perhaps the most asked question. And truth be told, there is no specific answer. It is all up to you whether you want to swallow the drink or spit it. Wine tastings are the only places where you can spit your drink without making the affair socially awkward. The idea arose because of the need to remain sober during the entire visit. Having five or more drinks might make you tipsy, and you might have difficulty in determining which one of the flavors you had liked the most.
Take a sip and let it swish over your tongue. If you loved it, swallow up – it’s all yours to drink. Hated it? Simply spit it out into the spittoon. After all, you can’t possibly like every variety that you taste!
What about Buying a Bottle of Wine?
A survey revealed that almost 88% of visitors end up buying wine from the winery. Be prepared from before but don’t feel pressured to make a purchase. It is polite of you to at least show some interest in buying even if you do not intend to. And, if you indeed liked what you tried, do not hesitate to go for a bottle or two.
It is imperative to ask questions to make sure that the bottle is worth the money you are spending. Many wineries will have a unique ‘club’ selling local varieties to their visitors during a specific time of the year. Ask your guide about the bottles which are not sold commercially; it can serve as a remarkable option to welcome guests in your house.
In the end, a wine tour is all about walking through the vineyard and soaking in the sights and sounds surrounding you as you savor the rich palette of finely crafted wine and learn in the details about the grape growing process. Keep these tips in mind and plan ahead to immerse yourself into a grand wine tasting experience.