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Visiting Wine Country

Tips & Etiquette for Winery Tastings or Tours

Visiting Wine Country - Tasting Tips & Etiquette

If you're into wine (and you're reading this so I assume you are), then visiting Wine Country to taste and tour at your favorite wineries and vineyards is a must. Whether you're planning a week-long dream wine vacation in Napa or Bordeaux or visiting a local winery with friends over the weekend, remember our tips and tricks to make the most of your visit!

Wine Country Travel Tip #1: Make the Map Your Friend

In your mind, all the wineries in Sonoma may be close together but you may discover when you get there that they're quite spread out. It's a good idea to visit wineries that are grouped together rather than choosing ones that are miles and miles apart because you'll spend more time driving than tasting.

Wine Country Travel Tip #2: Proper Pacing is Key!

Sure, maybe you only have one day to hit all the wineries you've wanted to visit for years but trying to see 10 in one day is a bad idea. You'll be too rushed to really enjoy each winery, and after a certain point your palate will be numb and all the wines will taste the same anyway. We recommend a limit of four per day.

Wine Country Travel Tip #3: Variety IS the Spice of Life

This tip works on a few different levels. Tours are a great way to get a more in-depth experience but you probably don't want a tour at each winery you visit. Mix one winery tour per day with a few tasting visits, and combine wineries with different specialties and styles, such as sparkling / still, red / white, and big / subtle.

Wine Country Travel Tip #4: Know Your Tasting Room Etiquette

- Tasting Fees: In areas that got a lot of visitors, most wineries will charge a tasting fee. Often this is credited back on a purchase. It is completely fine to share a tasting with another guest in your group.

- Swirling & Sniffing: The point of wine tasting versus just buying a glass of wine at a bar is to try and appreciate it. Swirling, sniffing, and slowly slipping versus pounding will let you savor more of the wine.

- Spitting: In the wine industry, tasters spit since they have to do so much tasting. If you're tasting in moderation, it's totally OK to drink it. Use the spitoon to pour out any wine you don't want to finish.

- Make Room for Others: If it's crowded, don't monopolize the pouring area. When each wine is poured, move away to so other guests can get in, and go back when you're ready for the next wine.

- Water & Crackers: Most tasting rooms will have water and bread or crackers to cleanse your palate between wines. You can also use the water to rinse your glass. We also recommend drinking and having a little nibble as you go to stay hydrated and happy.

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