Wine Tour

Travel Guide: How to Plan for a Successful Wine Tour

Wine harvesting starts from around summer and the beginning of autumn. One of the best ways to explore wine and the elements of winery is to plan a successful wine tour. However, this may become slightly intimidating for people who aren’t used to tasting wine or if the person is not a wine connoisseur!

A wine tour or wine vacation is a perfect way of exploring wine. Often, many people visit the wineries and wine vineyards to witness the process of harvesting, processing, and wine preparation. Across the world, several wine tasters and wine lovers regularly plan successful wine tours to taste the varieties of the rich drink.

Vineyard-Wine Tour
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Wine tours are an enriching and educative experience where people taste wine. Besides that, they also tour the vineyards and witness the season’s harvests. Depending on the time of year, wineries also allow visitors to pluck a few grapes and sample the wine straight from the vineries. Additionally, visitors are allowed to experience the production area of the winery and, subsequently, wine tasting.

A wine tour can be anytime from a single afternoon to a period of two weeks. The majority of the wineries open up their vineries and the production process for a major part of the year. Tourists can either enjoy a single winery in a day or can plan multiple winery visits for days, depending on their choice. The primary reason wineries do that is to sell wine. Visitors are highly unlikely to leave the winery empty handed after a stroll across the stretch of vines and tasting the tasty drink!

Why go on a wine tour?

Winegrowing- Wine Tour
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Learning the process of wine making

A person doesn’t need to visit a famous winery to learn the process of wine making. They can visit any winery! Though the type of winery may differ from one to another, the process of preparation of the wine will be the same everywhere. The primary differences in wine arise in quality of the type of grape, and its growing conditions (like soil, climate, altitude).

Discover a new passion

Most people discover wine as their true passion after visiting wine tours, wineries and learning the process of wine preparation. Wine tasting can be a hobby for some people too, or a profession in itself. The only thing the person has to worry about is limiting their consumption and not getting drunk!  Also, one can also learn to make their own wine at home. It is fun and challenging.  Knowing how to make wine will give the person a better appreciation of taste and the craft of wine preparation process altogether.

A new perspective

There are several wineries scattered across the globe. From the best of the lot that are popular to countryside wineries, there is a lot to explore!  A person can see the whole world if they have to explore the vast numbers of wineries across the globe. It will be a good chance to explore and know the world in addition to visiting wineries and tasting the finest wines of the globe.  One can travel to the finest wineries of Tuscany, Rioja and Napa Valley and also roam across the popular wine regions of Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova. In addition to visiting the wineries, the person can also travel to the popular tourist spots in these places. It will be a way of exploring new places too, along with the wineries.

Wine Taster- Wine Tour
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Meet wine lovers

A wine tour is often planned by wine lovers, wine tasters and people who love to learn more about wine. As such, when a person goes on a wine tour, they meet fellow wine lovers and get the experience of sharing more information about wine and wineries. Be it a local or an international wine tour, the person gets the chance to bond with other people on the wine tour.

Explore different types of wine

A wine tour means you will get lots of wine, different types and varieties. Not only does the person get to know new wine types but also taste them! That is a remarkable experience in itself for a wine lover. The person may come across a new flavor or combination of wine which actually may change their favored taste. Such is the experience of a wine tour! The experience of tasting wine is also likely to shape the wine experience for a remarkable change.

What to expect on a wine tour?

Although the experience of a wine tour varies from one winery to the next, there are certain factors that will remain the same for every winery the person visits.

 

Inglenook Winery Napa Valley
Image Source: Conde Nast Traveler

The vineyard and property

A wine tour will include a tour of the winery property and a detailed wine-making process. The process starts from the harvesting, suitable grape selection, fermentation, wine ageing and bottling process before the final tasting. The best part of visiting a winery is the stroll across the line of rows of vines with juicy grapes hanging from them and ready to be plucked. The wine tour starts from that stroll in the vines to indoors into the wine processing area and then to the cellar where the person will see huge beautiful wooden barrels filled with endless bottles of wine.

History of the Winery

Another significant element of a wine tour is the backstory of how the winery came into being! Not only will the person learn more details about the types of grapes and the process of wine preparation, but they will also get a look into the history of the winery.  There may be some wineries with winemakers who are following their family tradition, and some wineries that have stood out as the best wineries because of their outstanding production since its inception! These stories and the records that the wine tour offers the visitor are priceless information.

Wine tasting

It is the most obvious part of the wine tour. The end of the wine tour after the stroll in the vines down the cellar and the backstory come the wine tasting process. It is the fun part indeed! A standard wine tasting process usually includes sampling around 4-6 wines. Some wineries may also offer small meat or cheese bites to go with the tasting process. The wine tasting glass sizes are usually around half the amount of a standard glass of wine. There will be a guide who accompanies the wine taster to help you get to know about the wine in hand, its constituency, aroma, visual elements and the bouquet. Here, the visitor of the wine tour also gets the chance to purchase wine directly from the winemaker.

Wine Cellar
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How to plan a successful wine tour?

A successful wine tour has challenges of its own. It takes meticulous planning and subtle organization to make it a successful and enriching one. Check out the following tips to have a successful wine tour on your next vineyard visit!

Prepare a budget

While planning a wine tour, it is advisable to decide beforehand how much money the person is willing to spend on the wine tour. This gives a good idea to set ideal options and priorities. If the person falls short on cash, the wine tour will be restricted to a domestic experience or the person will have to choose the less convenient wine regions. However, if the person has a bigger and an expandable budget, then including popular wine regions like Napa Valley is a good thing to go!

The more authentic and popular wine regions will give a more enriching experience of the wine tour. These places include wine tasting tours in Piedmont, Italy, Rioja, Spain or Bordeaux, France, and New Zealand. All these regions stand out as the best for exploring the globe through wine. Also, wine tasting in these regions are costlier compared to the rest. As such, it is good to always set a budget before picking the destination of the wine tour so that one doesn’t get disappointed in financial issues. In addition to the budget, one should also consider other factors like the time of the wine season, location, transportation, tasting, and food-accommodation expenses.

Select a suitable wine region

An important thing to consider while planning a wine tour is to decide the wine region. The world is filled with several wine regions. As such, it is essential to narrow down the choices to choose the best from the rest. Begin by selecting a country that you want to visit for wine tasting and to learn more about wine. After that, narrow the selection further to a ‘broad’ wine region in that country. This will help you get your desired vineyard as per your budget and priorities. For this, research the individual wineries in that area and gather relevant information to make your choice.  If you are planning to make the tour for longer than a week, keep 1-2 countries with ‘broad’ wine regions on your list.

Flavour
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Season of the Wine

The Season of the Wine or time of the year is another crucial factor to keep in mind while scheduling a wine tour. The summer and fall season are the busiest months in the majority of wine locations, but these months are also the best for a wine tour. If you plan to choose September for the wine tour, you will get to witness the wine harvesting season. Winters are considerably calmer and most wineries close or limit their opening time in that season. As such, it is advisable to enquire at the winery before planning the tour during winter.

Visit wineries early

The wine tasting rooms are the busiest and full during afternoons in high season. During that time, the staff hardly gets any time to discuss or even show the wines properly. Also, the winemaker rarely remains around for more than a few minutes when it is busy and in high season. As such, the ideal time to visit the winery is during the off-season or during. Most wineries also remain closed during major holidays and have limited off-season hours. In that case, it is essential to conduct a check beforehand on the timing or even enquire over a call for the best time to visit the winery. It is always good to have an early start at the winery to avoid the busiest crowds and to grab the attention of the winemaker and the staff.

Make Notes about Wines during the Wine Tour

A wine tour is all about wines, right? So soak in as much information you get about wines and wineries as you can! Explore the winery, its background, wines, vineyards, and processes by asking questions. The more you ask, the more you will gather information! Also, learning about the favorite wine during the tasting process is one of the most remarkable ways to squeeze more about the drink.

Always take your time and limit it to two tastings per day

A rush wine tour is of no use, you won’t even enjoy it! So take time on the wine tour, linger around and enjoy the tasting experience. A leisure tasting process will allow the person to truly savor the wine and relive the experience. While specific wineries require prior appointments for wine tours, some wineries have limited visiting times. Visitors can schedule appointments early in the morning to get the fresh information of the day.

Explore beyond the favorite wines

Every winemaker has their specified choice of winemaking. That is exactly the reason why different wines have different tastes and feels. The wine styles may change per winery as the facility develops and adapts to new methods of fermentation or preparation processes. Though every visitor on the wine tour will surely have their own individual favorite wine, it is best to go beyond the favorite ones and leave some tasting for other wines! Expand your wine horizon by trying out new flavors and varieties. Who knows, you might discover a new taste for yourself!

Winery
Image Source: Viator

A wine tour is a remarkable form of travel and tourism that has developed over time and earned popularity. Visitors on a wine tour reach out to explore the best wines, beyond their individual favorites, and to learn more about wine, wineries and the entire process of how a wine from the grapes ends up in their glass! If you are planning a wine tour soon, do enjoy the tour to the fullest. Enquire about the wines, taste the ones at the winery and maybe bring one or two back to your home! Enjoy the wine tour!  While you are on the wine tasting tour, don’t restrict it specifically to visiting the wineries. You can also explore the neighborhood and the tourist places around to create memorable moments for the tour.

The World’s Best Vineyards

1. Zuccardi Valle de Uco (Argentina) *Best in South America*
2. Bodega Garzón (Uruguay)
3. Domäne Wachau (Austria)
4. Montes (Chile)
5. Robert Mondavi Winery (California) *Best in North America*
6. Marqués de Riscal (Spain)
8. Quinta do Crasto (Portugal)
10. Viña Vik (Chile)
11. Catena Zapata (Argentina)
12. Schloss Johannisburg (Germany)
13. Rippon (New Zealand) *Best in Australasia*
14. Delaire Graff Estate (South Africa) *Best in Africa* *Highest climber*
15. Weingut Dr. Loosen (Germany)
16. Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello (United States) *Highest new entry*
17. Craggy Range (New Zealand)
19. Château Pichon Baron (France)
20. Opus One Winery (California)

 

One thought on “Travel Guide: How to Plan for a Successful Wine Tour

  1. Thanks for explaining how to plan a budget in order to visit more places. My wife and I are currently saving for an experience that neither of us have tried. A wine tour looks very intriguing and like a great way to accomplish our goal.

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