Wine tours are a fun way to sample and learn about different types of wine and how they are produced. Combine that tasting with a meal featuring local dishes, and you have an enjoyable way to experience the best a region has to offer. By following the four tips listed below, you'll have an even better wine tasting experience.
Some vintners lead walking tours through rows of grapes, so comfy shoes are a must. Your tour might also include a visit to the cellars where the wine ages in giant barrels. Even on a warm summer's day, these cellars are kept cool. Bring a light jacket or sweater, no matter what time of year you visit. Ice wine is made from grapes picked when they are frozen. If you're doing a tour during the colder seasons to learn about ice wine, you'll most likely need much more than that sweater. Some wine tours include a meal at a winery or local restaurant. Find out if the eatery has any sort of suggested or enforced dress code.
Eat Before Your Tour
Even if you are going on an organized tour that includes lunch, eat something before you leave. Having something in your stomach when you start tasting keeps you from absorbing the alcohol too quickly. Some wines are acidic, which can cause discomfort, especially in those prone to heartburn. Besides, if you've eaten, you'll be better able to concentrate on the flavors and scents of the different wines, rather than being distracted by your growling stomach.
Drink Some Water Along with the Wine
It may seem silly to be drinking water while on a wine tasting tour, but if you drink wine all day, with nothing else, you could become dehydrated—it's one of the side effects of alcohol. Taking your tour on a hot summer day? That warm sun speeds up the dehydration process. Drinking water not only makes for a more pleasant wine tasting experience, but it may also decrease the "morning after" effects for those that may have over-indulged.
Choose a Designated Driver
If you decide to visit wineries on your own, decide on a designated driver before you leave. Of course, that means no wine sampling for the one that drew the short straw. Even if you do follow the "spit it out" practice of wine tasting, some alcohol usually gets absorbed. Choosing an organized wine tour that includes round-trip transportation means you don't need to worry about this point.