How To Go On A Wine Tasting Vacation

April 30, 2015 7:00 AM

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There are many different vineyards across the country, making it possible to plan the perfect wine tasting vacation to the destination you want to visit. You will find vineyards in the Napa Valley region of California, the Finger Lakes region of New York and other regions across the country.

No matter where you plan to enjoy a wine tasting vacation, planning the trip is the same. Here are some tips to help you plan and enjoy a wine tasting vacation:

winery How To Go On A Wine Tasting Vacation

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Tips For Planning

The first thing you need to do when deciding where to go on a wine tasting vacation is to determine where you want to visit and the type of experience you want to have. When selecting wineries, ask yourself if you want to be able to pick your own grapes, make your own wine and/or enjoy a guided tour.

Do some research on the different wineries and surrounding areas to help you pick which winery or wineries you want to visit. Select your destination based on the wines you are already passionate about.

Another question to ask is what type of lodging you want. This includes standard hotels, quaint bed and breakfasts, luxury resorts, camp grounds or wine-themed resorts.

Finally, the last question to ask yourself is: “When do I want to travel?” This can be determined by when you have vacation time available, to when you do not have other commitments and whatever else will get in the way of escaping for a vacation.

Once you have decided where to go, when to go and the type of accommodations you want, the next thing you need to do is make your reservations. Make these as early as possible. Some locations only offer a few rooms, while others may be very popular. This may make it difficult to secure the type of accommodations you desire, so the earlier the better with regard to your reservations.

Related: Best Destinations for the Wine Lover’s Vacation

Getting There

During the planning stage of your wine tasting vacation you will want to determine how you plan to get there. If you will be flying, make your reservations early and determine how you will get to your lodging from the airport – shuttle, public transportation, private car or rental.

If you plan to drive your car or RV to your destination, start mapping out routes early. Look over these routes regularly until you leave so you can decide if there is anything along the way you also want to stop and see.

wine examiner How To Go On A Wine Tasting Vacation

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While There

You are going to be enjoying a wine tasting vacation, which means you will be sampling a lot of wine from one, two or more wineries. Do not forget to eat while enjoying your vacation. In fact, check with the winery for food pairing ideas and if there are any restaurants on-site.

Hire a driver while there. The last thing you want is to drink and drive while enjoying your wine tasting vacation. This can lead to a lot more trouble than it is worth. Look into shuttle service available from your hotel, through the winery or hire a driver to escort you around the area.

Purchases

If you plan to purchase wine during your vacation, consider having the winery ship it to your home. They will pack it correctly to help ensure it makes it home in one piece. This will help you avoid it breaking in the trunk of your car or in your bag while flying.

However, if you know you can buy the wine locally, wait until you get home. Why? Because chances are the cost of the wine at a local retailer will be cheaper than if you purchased it from the winery and had it shipped home.

napa valley How To Go On A Wine Tasting Vacation

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Top Wine Destinations In America

As mentioned above, there are many different vineyards and wineries across the country. All offer regional wine flavors and plenty of opportunity to discover new wines while enjoying old favorites. Each vineyard offers a unique experience based on location, views of breathtaking landscapes, tour options and wine selections.

Let’s take a look at some of the wine destinations in America:

  • Finger Lakes – You will find more than 100 wineries in this region, as well as a relaxing atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of daily life
  • Long Island – Believe it or not…some of the best wineries are located on Long Island
  • Napa Valley – One of the most famous wine regions in the country and is a must-visit for any wine-lover
  • Paso Robles – Located close to the mountains and offers more than 170 wineries to explore
  • Sonoma Valley – Though this region may not be the top in wine producing volume, it makes up for it in the variety of wines available
  • Temecula Valley – You will feel like you have been transported to Southern Italy the moment you enter this region
  • Walla Walla – The scenery is what makes this region one of the best in the country to escape to
  • Willamette Valley – With a variety of bed and breakfasts in this area, you will be sure to find a place to relax after a day of wine tasting

These are some of the more popular wine tasting destinations in the country, but that does not mean they are the only destinations you should visit. Do some research and discover which region fits your vacation and wine needs before planning your wine tasting vacation.

Related: 5 Best Brewery & Winery Tours in NYC

Acting Like An Expert

When going on a wine tasting vacation, chances are the last thing you want to do is make it look like you have no clue what you are doing. Though you want to learn everything you can while visiting your favorite vineyard, you do not want to look like you have never had a sip of wine before in your life. Here are some tips to help you act like an expert, but still learn everything you can during your wine tasting vacation:

  • Know basic wine terms
  • Learn the language
  • Know the different types of wines
  • Learn new world wines versus old world ones
  • Learn how to read wine labels
  • Hold the glass by the stem
  • Pretend you can taste a difference between wines
  • Visit a local Sommelier for tips and advice before leaving
  • Take a wine pairing class before leaving
  • Send wine back with style

These tips can also be used when trying to impress a date or when going on a wine tasting vacation with friends who are experts themselves.

Hopefully, these tips will help you plan the perfect wine tasting vacation. Keep in mind that if this is your first wine tasting vacation to select a region you are familiar with and offers wines you already enjoy. Then, once you realize just how much these types of vacations are, start making plans for your next wine tasting vacation. However, this time, select a new region where you can be introduced to an entirely new selection of wines.

Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.

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