Wine tours can be fun when done right. Whether they’re only a day-long or stretched out over three weeks, there is no denying the fact that you learn new things and meet people with shared interests. For some people, this is the highlight of wine tours.
Before you can embark on your journey, though, there are things you need to do.
The Pre-tour Prep
The ultimate deciding factor for vacation luxury and duration, no one can refute the importance of budgeting. It’ll be a pain to return from a well-deserved holiday only to find out that you’ve used up most of your money.
When creating your budget, though, don’t be too stiff. Give some room for emergencies, like a damaged shoe, or an unexpected allergic reaction.
Who is the author of your itinerary? Yourself or a professional?
Before going on a wine tour, you have to choose whether to make a travel plan by yourself or book one with a company that provides such services (with input from you, of course). If it’s your first time, it’s advisable to take the latter option. It’ll let you experience all that a wine tour has to offer. The rose-tinted glasses after that will probably never go away.
Wineries usually don’t charge for wine tours – they are a form of advertisement – but some do, especially for samples of normal and specialty wines (like port and sherry. You can expect an extra charge for those). It is an advertisement in the sense that when you leave, you are likely to buy a bottle or two for your collection (if you have one) or dinner next week, or tell your friends all about that delicious wine you had when you went on a tour (“What was it again? A Margaux de Château Margaux? It was great, that’s what it was. You’d love it, trust me.”).
Where will you do your tour? Be careful, it can be expensive
A wine tour in, say, Walla Walla, Washington? You can expect to spend far less than you would for one in Bordeaux, France.
When considering your destinations, you have to put this in mind: some are more expensive than others. Why?
Quality is one of the most expensive and sought-after merchandise in the world. Always has been, probably always will be. And it’s not so much the location as its reputation and winery quality content. That’s what you have to pay for. Professional tour companies consider this when writing their quotation. It’s also built on a foundation of up-to-date information.
Distance is another factor to consider. Do you have to take a flight to someplace in your travel plan? Extra cost! Keep your budget in mind.
How are you moving around? And are you alone, with family and/or friends, or in a group?
You’ve got to think about your transportation. Flight is out for obvious reasons, unless on your way to the city you’ve chosen for your tour. Tour companies have options that include limos, hot air balloons, horse-drawn carriages, and even vans, for group transport. Each has its price tag, so choose wisely.
Long live the budget.
You didn’t forget about packing, did you?
The amount of clothes you pack depends on how long you’ve set aside for the tour, how much and what you plan on doing, and spare.
If you’re off for two days, you probably don’t need your entire wardrobe in hand. Seven or eight changes of clothes are enough, including sleepwear and spares. Do remember to take your toiletries, too, even if the hotel you want to stay at provides them. Can’t hurt, can it?
You can take your pets with you, though you should be aware of which wineries you intend to visit allow pets in, weigh them against the number that doesn’t allow pets, and either leave them with a pet sitter, a friend, your hotel room for the day (with enough food) or take them with you. It’s your choice.
Time for the Tour
Find out how wine is made
Most wine tours are the same (why wouldn’t they be? Wineries usually use the same resources and methods to produce wine). Your host will discuss and show you the different types of grapes they use for their style of wine-making while you walk through their vineyard. After that, you will be shown how they prepare the grapes for fermentation.
Wineries might choose to ferment the grapes in their way. This is just one of the differences that make some wines preferable to others. In most wineries you visit, this method might be different and your host will tell you why they do it the way they do. That’s just one more thing you’ve learned.
Depending on the winery, you might be allowed down to where they age the wine. You might even be allowed to taste directly from the aging barrels. There will be stickers attached to the barrels denoting the type of wine. If you find one you like, you can take a sticker up to where the wine is sold in bottles, identify the sticker with the type of wine, and buy a bottle or five of it. Enjoy.
Wineries usually have a tasting room for wine tasting, though. Here, you sample from bottles instead. As mentioned before, there might be an extra charge attached, especially so for the specialty wines.
In a single winery, you might get to taste up to six different kinds of wines and in a day, visit two or three wineries. The stomach might object to sipping all these fine wines. Warm weather doesn’t help, either. This can be offset by getting some food to pacify it.
Most wineries have a restaurant to offer for this purpose. Not this exact one, but it’ll serve your needs. Make sure to ask for a food recommendation. If the winery doesn’t have an eatery to offer, you can ask them for a restaurant and a food recommendation. Some kinds of food will only make things worse (avoid the greasy ones).
Between winery visits, you can squeeze in a trip to the beach, the golf course, or any other tourist attractions the area boasts.
As long as your budget permits it, of course.
Planning and executing a trip is hard work, but you can save yourself much of that trouble and let a professional handle it all for you. We at Fast Break Car Service can do that. We have been doing so in New York for the last 24 years, so you can be sure we know what we’re doing. Go on your tours rest assured that at the end of the day, you’ve got a thoughtful picnic waiting for you.
We can draw up an itinerary for you based on your budget and preferences. Our extensive customer base proves it. So no need to wait, you can call us at 631-428-8848 for more information or if you wish to know our prices.