Winery Tour

winery tourWinery Tour

By Mark Adams

Mark is a professional winemaker, former winery owner, author and frequent speaker on wine.  He currently teaches wine classes throughout the United States.

For either a new or experienced wine drinker, a winery tour can be a barrel of fun.  Well, at least a wine barrel of fun.

Realize there are many types of wineries, some are very large and have wonder vistas of vineyards, some that are very simple family businesses, and some that are “city” or “urban” wineries that bring in their grapes from other vineyards.

Each style of winery can be exhilarating and totally unique.  Remember that each visit has the potential to be really special and memorable.

For many people it’s a special treat to go to the smaller family owned wineries.  In most cases, it’s the winemaker or a family member who is serving the wine.  It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about their take on the art of wine.

Typically you will go the tasting room and be offered 4-5 samples for either a nominal cost or sometimes even free.  Realize the samples are about 1 ounce.  Sometimes you might receive some type of crackers, sometimes not.

BTW, the crackers really aren’t necessary.  Usually the tasting is followed by a tour.

Most people choose to buy several bottles after a tasting.  If you purchase a case or more and you are on vacation, it may be convenient for the winery to ship your wine home to you.  Ask them about their procedures.

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As wine continues to grow in popularity, many companies are springing up that cater to enhancing your winery experience.  Most of these are transportation companies.  These very clever businesses can usually be found on an internet search.

You could even call and ask the winery about recommendations.  They will pick you up at a specific location or your hotel and take you directly to and from the winery or wineries you are touring that day.  They can range from a chauffeured limousine for two to a larger van that may hold 10-12 of soon to be friends or even larger buses for clubs or groups.

An added bonus is that in most cases your driver will act as your tour guide and inform you of certain aspects of a winery that you would never have known.  I’m a big believer in “enhancing experiences and anything that can do that, I’m all for.

There are many other wine experiences as well.  Here in North Carolina, ballooning is big.  One company I know of takes flights over the vineyards while serving wine.  Another does the same thing but takes you from winery to winery in a helicopter.  Totally cool!

In Napa they have a train that goes through wine country while serving wine.  Also, totally cool.  If you’re looking for that once of a lifetime experience, try something like this.  I’ll bet no one at the water cooler will have a better story on Monday morning!

Although a lot of people don’t realize it, most wineries are also designed to host events.   They will have meeting areas and in some cases full blown kitchens or at least offer some type of catering.

If you are planning a wedding, a corporate event or maybe even a family reunion, call your local winery and see what’s available.  I’ll bet you’ll find that the prices are very reasonable and the venue will definitely be so much better that the hotel ballroom.

What are your waiting four.  The time is now for a winery tour!