“Wine country,” in some form or another, now exists in all 50 states. Yes, wine is even produced in Alaska and Hawaii.
Visiting a winery is a great activity around which to build a vacation. But to get the most out of a winery visit, you need to do a little planning and take advantage of all that the winery has to offer visitors.
Follow these five tips, and your winery visit is guaranteed to be a memorable experience… in a good way…
- Do your homework.
If you enjoy white wines only, you don’t want to waste your vacation time at an estate that specializes in red wines. Most wineries have websites with a “store” or “shop” function where you can see a list of all the wines made.
- Verify directions ahead of time.
The maps published in wine country periodicals are notoriously inaccurate. Even Google Maps and Mapquest can sometimes provide incorrect directions simply because there are so many small roads and roads with similar names. If you have any doubt about the location of a winery, call ahead.
- Take a tour.
It’s a great way to learn more about a winery, its history, the philosophy of the owners and the winemaker, and winemaking in general. Plus, at many estates, those on tours get to taste wines that other visitors do not — including, at some wineries, right out of the barrel.
- Ask questions.
It’s the best way to learn about wine and the winemaking process. There are no stupid questions; over the years, winery owners, winemakers, tour givers and tasting room personnel have heard them all… and then some.
- Take notes.
Especially at wineries that produce numerous bottlings, it’s easy to get confused. You can jot down detailed tasting descriptions, or simply make a note of the wines you really like. That way, you’ll take home the right bottles when it’s time to get back on the road.