Wine Touring

January 4, 2014

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Wine Touring

There is nothing more idyllic that taking a drive through wine country and tasting the local fruits of the harvest with friends and family.  Having visited the wine country of California and Oregon as well as the local New York and Niagara region, we would like to share some thoughts regarding wine touring.  Here are some points that are worthy of consideration.

Who’s Driving?

This is the ubiquitous issue regarding wine touring.  From bringing a friend who will stay dry, to using a limo service, there are many safe options.  The bottom line is that small tastings do add up no matter how much you eat or feel you can metabolize.  But who said that you have to drink?  This brings us to the next point below.

Tasting and Spitting

We have spent full days wine touring without a headache and both of us have participated in tasting.  The little practiced art of tasting and spitting works quite effectively.  Now spitting is certainly not as unsightly as you may think.  We prefer to have the spit bucket nearby.  After tasting the wine we will quietly bring the spit bucket close to our mouths and discard the juice.  In Napa and Sonoma we saw many others spitting.  Note that wine judges must do the same when rating 50-100 wines in a day.  From a physiological standpoint, all of the senses needed to fully enjoy the wine are located in your mouth and nose.  Therefore, why not practice this safe and effective way to enjoy the wine without all the consequences?

Do Your Homework

If you want to make the best of your tour do some homework.  Map out your day trip and select the wineries you intend to go to in advance.  It is always wise to call ahead to see if an appointment is necessary.  Then research both the wines and wineries.  This way you can ask educated and interesting questions that the winery representative will enjoy answering.  While visiting a winery in Oregon the tasting room employee was so pleased with our conversation that the normal flight of five wines quickly became a selection of twelve.

If you decide to make a purchase you have the option to take your wine with you or have it shipped – that is if your state permits wine to be shipped to it.  The winery will know the shipping regulations and can advise you accordingly.  Regardless of whether you are carrying it home or shipping it, be aware of extreme temperatures.  Wine left in your car or in the shipping truck can ruin your purchase.

Under Pressure

The atmosphere at wineries is usually pleasant and inviting.  But don’t feel obligated to make a purchase.  Many establishments offer wine clubs where you can get special discounts on wines.  In addition, wine club members may have the option to purchase exquisite wines that won’t be available to the public.

One advantage of visiting a winery is that you may have the option of purchasing a wine that is not available at home.  An obvious advantage is that you can have opportunity to taste a wine before making a purchase.

So a little homework done before your wine tour can turn a fun afternoon of wine tasting into an extraordinary and rememberable wine adventure.