Looking for fun things to add to a travel itinerary? Experience a winery, wine vineyard or wine tasting while traveling. Attending wine tastings around the world have become a popular item. Have you wanted to try a local wine tasting? In this article Kevin and I hope to make you feel comfortable and know what to expect at a wine tasting and/or exploring a vineyard or winery, especially if it is your first time.
Local Wine Tastings
Duly noted my husband Kevin is more knowledgable about wine then myself. Nevertheless, this does not make the art of wine tasting any less of a great experience for me. I thoroughly appreciate the cultural, history and flavors that a winery provides. I love being able to uncover the different flavors and influences that make a great tasting wine. Wineries at wine tastings can also reveal history of the area that you may not hear in a typical tour.
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Local wine tasting tours are a fun item you can add to your itinerary. There are vineyards and wineries in places you would not expect, so you can enjoy: Check out these below
Types of wine tastings across the world can be unique too:
Each region, winery and vineyard can be so different and unique.
We have done wine tastings in caves, outside on picnic benches, gone on limo wine tasting tours, did tastings standing at a bar, on a front porch, formal dining rooms and at our home. They can be private, with friends and with groups. We even have done lunch and wine tasting Napa California. Our trip to Sonoma and Napa wine tasting with friends can be read here.
Prepare Yourself for Tasty Wines
If you plan on adding a wine tasting tour whether it be a luxury wine tasting, group wine tasting or a private wine tasting you will benefit more if you come prepared. Here are a few suggestions:
- Become a little familiar with wine terminology so you follow along with the discussion.
- Tasting terminology
- Viticulture terminology
- Different vintages
- Read Kevin’s notes below
- There are several books available on wine tasting. Download one to your Kindle or Pad.
- Take a wine tasting course
- Download a App for wine tasting . There are several available.
- Be familiar with the different glasses for wine tasting
Before You Book Wine Tastings
- Research if there are wineries offering tastings or if there are any local wine tasting events where you plan to travel.
- A Google search and Trip Advisor will help with informative blogs, reviews and local information sites. Great way to find the nearest wine tastings available.
- There may be day tours available that you might like to join that include a visit to a winery for a wine tasting
- Make an appointment for your tasting ahead of time. Wineries everywhere fill up, especially at certain times like fall wine tasting which is harvest season.
- Check if there will be food for a wine tasting.
- Will you need a limo for wine tasting
- Confirm the cost of wine tasting per a person.
- Confirm the length of time you will need to plan
- Decide on the wine tasting outfit you may need. Dressy or casual, you want to make sure you aren’t over dressed or underdressed!
Local Wine Tastings Tips
- Do not wear any perfumes or colognes, especially for an indoor wine tasting. The scents actually can ruin the flavors and you don’t want that to happen.
- The most important advice about going to your first wine tasting- no question is silly to ask. Keep in mind, the more you learn about the wine you are tasting the more you will appreciate and understand the flavors and process. To learn wine tasting is a process and takes experience.
- The only question that is bad etiquette- “Can you pour us the good stuff?” Please don’t! But you can ask if they have a reserve open for you to taste.
- Let the wine pourers be the expert. Unless, you are a sommelier or own your vineyard they probably know more than you.
- Many tastings will include nuts, cheeses and chocolates, make sure you experience these pairings with the selected wine, it really does make the combination memorable. Plus they are usually delicious!
- A tip is appreciated as with any service, so feel free to show your appreciation.
- Relax and have fun wine tasting!
Kevin’s Guide to the Best Wine Tasting
I am no expert wine taster, but I do enjoy a glass from time to time and I love to collect wines in my wine cellar. I have been sampling or tasting wines for the past 25 years or so and over that time my tastes have changed. Early on I preferred sweeter wines and over the years have developed for deeper richer wines. Whether you like a sweet tasting wine or a dry tasting wine don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Attending a fine wine tasting while traveling is a great educational advantage to step up your knowledge.
There are several types of tastings, formal, casual (my preference) horizontal or vertical. The formal tastings are fun but can be stuffy and usually feature a specific type of wine or a specific region. These tastings are usually swirl – sniff – slurp – spit. The casual ones tend to be more relaxed and we tend to get a wide array of wines from whites to rose’ to reds and tend to be swirl – sniff – slurp – swallow. A Horizontal wine tasting is tasting the same style of wines from different wineries but all of the same vintage. A vertical wine tasting is tasting the same style of wine from the same winery but different years.
Wine Tasting Notes
Spit vs swallow, stop it, the reason for not swallowing during a tasting is that the taste buds get fatigued after a few drinks so you won’t be getting the real taste of the wine after a few swallows. If you are at a tasting with four whites and six reds that would be ten two-ounce pours, that would be about four glasses in about an hour or about three quarters of a bottle. Have a designated driver or have the wine tasting at home.
I found it best to take notes and come back to the ones that I liked using a wine tasting score card. The first time a friend and I went to Napa we took notes all day of the various wineries that we visited. A group of tasters asked us why weren’t purchasing any wine so we told him for the same reason you don’t buy your kids souvenirs when you walk into Disney – you have to keep up with it all day and you might find something you like better later in the day, you can always go back and buy it later.
Wine Tasting Tips
Sniff, I close my eyes to concentrate on the aromas. Swirl, this lets the wine open up and releases more aromas, go ahead and close your eyes and sniff again. Slurp, get a little wine in your mouth and slurp some air through it and you should have more aromas and then tastes. Spit, try it, and bring air through your mouth again savor the flavor! Swallow but remember that the more you do this the less you will taste later. That is why we order the best tasting red wine for the first bottle at dinner and can regress from there.
Horizontal wine tastings are fun because you can have several wines from the same vintage or year and see how different wineries interoperate the grape or how the terroir can change the taste. Sherrie and I once sat with a wine maker and he showed us how the wine is affected by different strains of yeast and how to blend with them.
A vertical wine tasting is to have the same wines from the same winery but different vintages. In this tasting you can see how the weather from year to year can change the wine as well as how the aging process affects the taste. Remember not all wines age well and even those that do have a cutoff point where the taste will start to decline. Most of the newer wines and almost all mass produces wines are not made for cellaring but meant to be drank within a few years.
If you have the opportunity, get to know a sommelier, this isn’t the guy stocking aisles in the liquor store or super market, find someone on line that can help or through social media. Remember, wines are their life, and most are very nice and don’t mind answering a few questions to help out. There are also tasting classes or Sommelier classes, you don’t have to go into the profession but if you have a passion learning more than how to get your buzz on is worth the time. And – like anything else you can do it online! International Sommelier
Back to Sherrie
Food and Wine Tasting
Okay, I have to admit this part is my favorite part about having some good tasting wine, the wine tasting pairings! Don’t under estimate the food for wine tasting importance. Imagine going to an Italian wine tasting and having their antipasto along with the great wine. Or while in France you have an authentic French wine tasting with champagne and caviar. Have taste of peppery tomato tapas with a light red wine at a Spain wine tasting. Not that this is for me, but…Kangaroo with a spicy Grenache at an Australian wine tasting. And don’t even under estimate the cheeses at a Switzerland wine tasting! The tastes of wine come out with properly chosen pairings. Cheese and Wine tasting is the best!
Without appointments on a tour enter the winery and head right to the wine tasting bar. There is usually a choice on how many wines you would like to sample. There are some vineyard wine tastings that will include some nuts and possibly delicious chocolates why you have a delicious taste of wine. If you did book an appointment for a tasting room you will surly enjoy some great pairings with chocolates, nuts and their best cheeses.
If you are loving the wines taste and are interested in purchasing, make sure you ask if they have a wine club to join. Being a member of a wine club you can save money per a bottle, have special wine club tasting opportunities, there may also be a special tasting room wine club for members only. There can also be other bonus’s like a complimentary 2 night stay in a villa each year for being a member of their wine tasting club- we are members for sure!
A wines taste is something special, and it’s very individualized. I especially love a red wine taste. On casual nights a Pinot Noir or Malbec wine taste is what I prefer. However, for certain occasions and places I travel to, I love a bolder wine like a Barbera or Amarone. Everyone’s taste’s are different as are tastings. You can go to a fancy wine tasting or a casual wine tasting. You can even have an Epcot wine tasting during their Food and Wine Festival.
No matter where you are or where you plan to go in the world enjoy some international wine tasting! Go ahead give it a google; Wine tasting rooms near me!