According to Wine America, approximately 30 million people visit wineries for a tour each year. Wine tours are applicable in numerous scenarios. Some go on a wine tour to propose to their partner, take professional photos, or simply to taste different wines. Making the decision to go on a wine tour can be exciting for many.
However, when you’ve never gone on a wine tour before, the planning and preparation isn’t always common sense. While you might have a friend or two who can show you the ropes of wine-touring, there may still be questions that you have regarding such a process.
Fortunately, with the following tips, you’ll be a wine tour expert before you even attend your very first tour!
Explore the different types of wine tours.
As you plan a wine tour, it’s important to examine all options before deciding where you will go. Some prefer going to a wine tour in a nearby region whereas others don’t mind traveling longer distances. Decide how far you will go, considering your budget and schedule in the process.
Apart from looking at specific wineries and locations, consider the fact that there are different types of wine tours available. Wine tours feature different types of scenery, wine offerings, and wine pairings. For example, Hermann Wine Trail offers different tours from their Wild Bacon Wine Trail to their Chocolate Wine Trail.
Pack plenty of water.
While your thirst will be quenched with delicious varieties of wine, it is a fact that alcohol dehydrates your system. Especially if you’ll be attending a wine tour in hot weather, staying hydrated is important. That said, make sure to bring plenty of water with you on the tour. Drinking water while drinking wine also helps your neutralize your mouth.
Typically, people want to dress nice for a wine tour. While you might think a clean, white outfit will be suitable for walking in the hot sun during a wine tour, think again. Wearing darker clothes is more appropriate, just in case you spill your wine. Also, since you’ll be walking quite a bit outdoors, comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunscreen will be important.
Don’t load up on body fragrance.
Although we all want to smell nice when we go out, loading up on perfume, cologne, or body spray is not the most ideal thing to do right before embarking on a wine tour. This is because aroma plays a vital role in how things taste to you, including the wine you drink.
If you want to enjoy your wine for exactly what it tastes like, make sure to avoid strong body fragrance of any type as to not interfere with how you smell and enjoy your wine. Your taste buds will thank you!
Bringing kids? Come up with ways to keep them busy.
Although wine tours and children don’t necessarily mix, if don’t have a babysitter, you can most certainly bring your little ones with you on the tour. However, as expected, children are going to get bored and antsy to leave. Keep your kiddos busy with snacks of their own (if the winery or vineyard allows) and quiet activities (e.g., coloring books).
You may even ask your tour guide if they can serve unfermented grape juice to your kids. Offering your children a reward if they’re well-behaved during the tour is also a viable idea. Nevertheless, always make sure to keep an eye on your kids. Make sure to instruct them to not run around or pick grapes during the tour.
Make plans to show up early at the winery.
Especially if it’s a peak time for wine tours and/or it’s the weekend, always make sure to show up early at the winery. Many wineries don’t open until around 10 to 11 a.m. Regardless, making a wine tour one of your first activities of the day is always a good idea to beat the crowd as well as the high heat.
Plan to stay awhile.
Wine tours are not something to be rushed. The goal should not be to get in and out in a half hour, but rather, stay at least an hour or few. For one, you will need time to “walk off” the wine. Secondly, wine tours are designed to be enjoyable and relaxing. That said, don’t overschedule the rest of your day.
Make sure to have a designated driver
The truth is, everyone has a different alcohol tolerance and metabolism. But even drinking the equivalent of one glass of wine can impair you on your drive back home. Although you may believe you’re safe to drive off on your own, your wine tour will be much more enjoyable knowing you have a sober, designated driver waiting for you.
Be sure to plan who will be your designated driver before you head off on your wine tour. This will give you peace of mind and allow you the freedom to drink more if you wish. If you don’t have anyone who can take you back home, taking an Uber or taxi there and back is always an option. You can never be too safe when it comes to alcohol!
Be open to trying new things.
One purpose of a wine tour is to try different flavors of wine, ones that you’ve never tried before. While you might be eager to try wines that you are already fairly familiar with, your best bet is to try the wines that you might not have considered before. Even if you’re a red wine drinker, always be open to trying the white wines offered, for instance.
Eat something during your wine tour.
When offered food during your wine tour, take it. Not only do certain foods pair perfectly with certain wines in terms of enhancing their flavors, but food can also help you to metabolize alcohol quicker, which will allow you to stay alert and less rambunctious throughout the rest of the tour.
Ask your tour guide questions.
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about wine, you can never know everything. Asking your tour guide questions, like the history of the winery or the process of serving a specific wine, can be enlightening. Asking questions can also give you specific information about the wines you may be interested in purchasing later on.
As you gain new knowledge and have your questions answered during the tour, be sure to jot those down as notes. Likewise, take notes on the flavors of the wines you try, and perhaps rate each one on a numerical scale. These notes can come in handy when it comes to deciding which wine(s) you may buy towards the end of the tour.
Buy a bottle or two of your favorite wines.
Especially if your wine tour is free, it’s common courtesy to purchase at least one bottle of wine before you leave. Some wineries will even have exclusive wines for sale that you can only purchase from them right then and there. You might have the wine you buy shipped back home, or you can safely pack it in your vehicle.
If you aren’t looking to bring home wine that day, leaving a nice tip is another kind gesture to show you enjoyed the tour. Also, posting and tagging the winery or vineyard in pictures of your wine tour along with your positive words about the experience on social media is appreciated.
Don’t brush your teeth right after your wine tour.
After trying numerous wines and perhaps indulging in some bites to eat on your wine tour, your first thought when you get back home or to your hotel room is to thoroughly brush your teeth. However, the best advice is to wait at least a half hour after drinking alcoholic beverages before brushing those pearly whites.
Brushing your teeth before the recommended thirty minutes can lead to dental erosion, which may in turn induce tooth sensitivity and/or tooth decay. Instead, allow your mouth to neutralize naturally as to not rub acidic wine residue onto your precious teeth. Swishing or drinking water can also help to rid of excess acid in your mouth.
Getting the opportunity to attend a wine tour is a privilege. From experiencing rows of beautiful grape vines to tasting multiple varieties of quality wine, there are many reasons to love going on a wine tour no matter where it is located. That said, it is important to make the best out of the entire experience.
Whether you’re going on a wine tour to find a new type of wine that might pique your interest or are mainly going to spend time with friends or family, planning and preparation is always important. However, when you have yet to go on a wine tour, you may not quite know what to expect.
From packing plenty of water to planning to have a designated driver after the tour, it’s clear that there are several considerations you’ll have to make before you even embark on your wine tour to ensure it’s an absolute success.