Now that most of us are getting out and about again (at our own levels of comfort, of course), a return to wine country might in the offing.
An opportunity to immerse ourselves in a beverage we love includes soaking in some beautiful scenery along with visits to wineries, many of which are architectural gems.
This is quiet time in wine country, which makes it a great time to visit. Restaurant reservations are easier to come by, and tasting room hosts have more time to “talk wine” with you since you won’t be elbow to elbow with other guests.
Here are five ways to get the most out of a wintertime wine country visit…
1. Make a plan.
Decide which wineries you want to visit, and map out a logical order so you don’t have to backtrack.
2. Plan no more than three winery visits per day.
And spread them out. For example: 10 a.m. to noon… noon to 2 p.m. … and 2-4 p.m. If you have time between stops, grab a bite to eat, or check out some of the local shops or art galleries.
Wineries place “dump buckets” on the tasting bar for a reason. They want to keep visitors sober and everyone on the roads safe. If you’re not comfortable spitting out wine after swirling it around in your mouth, do the next-best thing: Drink no more than half of what you’re poured.
4. Carry water with you.
While tasting wine — or drinking alcohol of any kind, for that matter — you need to keep hydrated. You’ll thank yourself the next morning.
5. Take advantage of “winery experiences.”
More and more wineries are offering enhanced tours and tasting programs that involve snacks or even multi-course meals. Some can be pricey, but if your budget allows, such “experiences” not only can be fun; they can help you pace yourself.