Elizabeth is an experienced traveler and writer with bylines in several popular travel publications. She currently co-owns a small digital travel publication and spends her free time writing, taking photos, and traveling.
With the tempting aroma of swirling grapes and the taste of fine wines, winery tours are quickly becoming a must-do for avid travelers exploring the United States. However, with the surge in interest comes a surge in faux paux that can ruin even the most picturesque of experiences.
Don’t let your lack of knowledge ruin your experience — uncork these don’ts and unWINE’d the right way.
Not Making Reservations
Are you guilty of spontaneity ruining your winery visit? Sure, it’s thrilling to embark on a spontaneous adventure, but when it comes to visiting a winery, it’s a mistake that could hurt your chances of enjoying what you came for. The most popular wineries across the US often require reservations in advance, and failing to book ahead could result in you missing out on your desired wine-tasting experience.
Trying Too Many Wines
Don’t be tempted to overdo it with wine tastings. While it’s certainly tempting to sample every varietal a winery has to offer, doing so can easily ruin the experience. It’s important to pace yourself, savor each sip, and give yourself time to fully appreciate each winery’s unique atmosphere. Quality over quantity is key here, and taking the time to truly enjoy each visit will make for a much more memorable trip.
Not Taking Notes
Don’t assume you’ll remember the nuances of each wine after a long day of tastings. Take notes! Jot down the flavors that stood out, the mouthfeel that surprised you, and the overall experience of each winery. It’s not just a handy reference for future purchases but a true reflection of your unique palate and journey through the world of wine.
Skipping the Tour
Skipping the tour of a winery is a rookie mistake. Not only does it give insight into the wine-making process, but it also enhances the tasting experience. Learning the subtle nuances of how grapes are cultivated, harvested, and fermented can deepen your appreciation of the finished product. Plus, many wineries offer immersive experiences like grape stomping, vineyard hikes, and barrel tastings.
Not Asking Questions
Don’t be a silent sipper! Not asking questions during a winery visit is a huge mistake. Connect with passionate winemakers and staff who are eager to share their knowledge and expertise. Learn about the history of the vines, the unique terroir, and the winemaking techniques that go into creating memorable vintages. You might even uncover hidden gems that aren’t on the menu.
Ignoring Smaller Wineries
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring smaller vineyards on your next winery visit. These lesser-known destinations offer a unique and authentic experience, often with fewer crowds. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to try wines that may not be available in larger wineries, showcasing the diverse flavors and terroir of the region.
Not only does a good meal enhance the wine’s flavors, but it can also prevent you from getting sick. Skipping meals can lead to faster absorption of alcohol, making it easier to get drunk and suffer from dehydration. Plus, who wants to deal with a hangover while adventuring through beautiful vineyards?
Buying Too Much Wine
When visiting wineries, it’s easy to get carried away and buy more bottles than you need. But if you’re flying, beware of the limit to how much you can take back with you.
Getting Too Rowdy
Sipping on delicious wine amid stunning vineyards can quickly turn sour if you get too drunk or rowdy. While it might seem like a fun idea to let loose and get wild, remember that wineries are not just party spots. Respect the other visitors who are there to enjoy themselves too.
Forgetting to Enjoy the Experience
Finally, don’t let the excitement of visiting a winery distract you from the true purpose of your trip: to relax, savor the wine, and indulge in the breathtaking scenery. Too often, visitors get caught up in snapping the perfect Instagram photo or checking items off their to-do list, forgetting to truly immerse themselves in the experience. Slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the moment — the wine will taste even better, and the memories will last a lifetime.
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