Are you ready to embark on your first trip to a winery? Or maybe you have gone to one before, but you didn't know what to expect and you didn't make the best use of your time there. Here are some tips to guarantee you a great time on your first or next trip.
- Find out if the winery has a tasting room and plan according to their hours of operation. Determine if the tasting is free or if there is a charge. Some wineries will offer free tastings, some will charge for the tasting, but apply the tasting charge to a purchased bottle of wine, and some will simply charge for the tasting. Unless you have already been to a particular winery multiple times, wine tasting is always suggested. If you are not an avid wine drinker, wine tastings can help you determine which types of wines you prefer…sweet or dry…white or red. Or if you are me, all of the above. Please be polite if you don't like the wine. Someone put their blood, sweat, and tears into that bottle…well not literally, but you get my drift.
- Determine if the winery has indoor/outdoor sitting accommodations. Outdoors is great in the summer and fall, but if it's winter, you will need to determine if there is a place to sit inside. Many wineries I have visited have great outdoor sitting areas, but are sometimes limited on their indoor sitting accommodations. If there is a place to relax, purchase a bottle to share while you are there and enjoying it right on the premises.
- Who doesn't want to snack while they drink? See if the winery provides food. If they do, don't bring your own…that is kind of like bringing your own food to a restaurant. A winery is a business after all and food sales help them make money. If not, see if you can bring your own snacks. Most wineries are very relaxed and encourage you to bring picnics and snacks. If you are uncomfortable about it, leave a cooler in the car and bring the food in after you have completed your tasting and gained a feel for what is acceptable or not acceptable.
- Back to snacks…if you are able to sit and relax with snacks, do it! Pack up some grapes, salami, prosciutto, carrots, cheeses, crackers, chocolates, etc. Make it simple on yourself and grab a pre-made veggie and meat/cheese tray from the grocery store.
- Take a tour – many wineries offer tours of their grounds and operation. It is fun to see the operational process of wine production. It will also make you appreciate that glass of delicious liquid joy you are drinking after you hear about the work that goes into making it. And it helps you in becoming a more knowledgeable wine drinker as well.
- Is it family friendly? Many wineries we have been to are very family friendly and you will often find kids running all over. If you have not been to the winery before, check their website. Wineries will often post family events such as face painting or tractor rides. This is a good indication that it is ok to bring your kids. If you can't find it on their site, give them a call and see if children are welcome.
Have fun at your next winery visit! If you have a favorite winery that you have visited and would like to share, let us know!