Whether you’ve been to “wine country” a dozen times or you’re planning your first visit this summer, taking a winery tour can be both educational and fun.
Not long ago, my lady and I were fortunate enough to tour the magnificent gardens at Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guernerville, Calif. — that’s in western Sonoma County. Sally Olson was an excellent tour guide, possessing encyclopedic knowledge not only of the estate’s horticultural wonders, but also its fascinating history and outstanding lineup of sparkling wines.
I’ve been drinking Korbel’s wines for the better part of three decades, but I’d never had the opportunity to explore the estate’s gardens. Taking a formal tour, and having an experienced guide like Olson, made for two very enjoyable hours.
Not all wineries have gardens, but a good number offer tours of their winemaking facilities, and some even invite guests out to their vineyard.
Some of the best tours are offered by one of Napa Valley’s most famous estates: Beringer. The “Introduction to Beringer” takes approximately 30 minutes and touches on the highlights, while the “Taste of Beringer” excursion runs for an hour and includes small food bites with three wines.
No matter where you travel in “wine country” this summer — and “wine country” now can be found in all 50 states — take the time to take a tour. And especially during the busy summer vacation period, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation.