Going wine tasting doesn't have to be frustrating or intimidating- it's meant to be a fun experience shared with friends.
Consider hiring a designated driver. They can not only help you gain valuable knowledge about the region and be your tour guide, but they also allow you to soak in the full beauty of the region while you are touring about. Plus during summer months, they can keep the car cool, have chilled water ready and some will even setup a private picnic for you.
Refrain from wearing heavily-scented items, such as body sprays, perfumes and heavy lotions. Leave the lipstick at home as it will effect your senses, but no one really likes to wash lipstick-lined wine glasses. Allow the day to be filled with the aromas of the wines and worry less about how you look!
Each region you visit will be best known for a couple of varietals, but possibly not the varietals you are accustomed to. This gives you an opportunity to explore varietals that are unfamiliar to you and possibly open up your palette for others. And if you are adamant to drink Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, this may ultimately sway the regions you visit as those may not be the types of grapes that are best grown in the terroir or climate you are visiting.
Local Insider's Tip
Get to know your host as they can be a valuable resource while you are tasting and the next time you are planning your visit. If you are really nice, they may even offer to help you put an extra-special experience should you be celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon, 50th birthday and other special occasions.
Ask your host questions! Ask them what are their favorite wines, get to know the history of the property and their of course their local recommendations for other places to visit. Your host is proud to live in the area and serve the wines in front of you, and they will absolutely love to share their knowledge of wine with others- and other things to do in the area. Just don't let your questions interrupt their presentation as some questions may be answered during your tasting or tour. When your tasting or tour is over, ask your host recommendations of where to have lunch, dinner, activities to check out or where to stay.
Don't be afraid to use the dump buckets, yes those canisters that are sitting on the counter are not for flowers, they are to make sure you don't over sample while wine tasting. If you don't like the wine, you don't have to make a funny face, simply pour your glass out into the "bucket" and move onto the next one- no one will be offended. Most tasting rooms offer a pitcher of water, this can be used to "clear" your glass between each pour, or to hydrate yourself as you enjoy.
If you can visit wine country on the weekend, do it! You'll find that it will be easier to book your preferred tasting experience and time, plus you'll feel like you own the place as there will be plenty of elbow room for all. Plus, hotels are always offering mid-week stay packages, so you'll save some money, too!
Think beyond just wine tastings. The region you are visiting is known for many other things like backpacking, cycling, rafting, fishing, culinary adventures and most likely so much more. Our website provides links to learn more about the region such as travel-related recommendations, weather and other activities and information that are available in the region.
Last, but by far not the least, be sure you have fun! Don't take it all too seriously or it will totally wreck your vacation. You are here to explore, learn about the region and above all, R-E-L-A-X! Remember that wine is to be enjoyed and learned at your own personal level and pace- there's no rush. Event some of the best Sommeliers take their whole career to fully understand the intricacies of wine. Drink what you like and enjoy with others.