Don’t worry if wine tasting isn’t something you do very often, or if your out-of-state houseguests are intimidated. Tasters aren’t expected to be connoisseurs. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the difference between “smoky undertones” and “hints of oak and leather.” The reason you taste is to find what you like, regardless of the awards that particular wine might have won. It is perfectly OK not to like everything you taste, so just do what the professionals do— pour it in the dump buckets provided and move on to the next. It really is the proper thing to do and you will be able to taste more fantastic wines.
To get the most out of your visit to wine country, follow these tips:
- · Avoid wearing any perfume, cologne or heavily scented lotions because it will interfere with your tasting experience as well as the experience of hose around you.
- Ask a lot of questions. Tasting room staff are down-to-earth and love to talk. This is your opportunity to educate your palate and learn more about the wine making process.
- Explore a new wine tasting region or try a new type of wine or “varietal” during your wine tasting. You must taste the Valley’s signature Pinot noirs, but don’t be afraid to try something new— you may like it!
- Visit both small wineries and larger wineries to enjoy a variety of wine tasting experiences. Smaller tasting rooms usually mean fewer people.
- Don’t miss out on special discounts and offers at wineries during tasting events. If you discover a winery you really love, consider joining their wine club. You’ll likely receive discounts, exclusive deals, access to special releases and free future tastings.
- Drink responsibly. Get a designated driver or purchase an inexpensive yet accurate personal breathalyzer that will tell you FOR SURE if you’re safe and legal to drive after drinking alcohol. Keep it handy in your car to use year-round. Also makes a thoughtful gift.
If you’re looking for a fun adult activity this Thanksgiving weekend, kick off the holiday season with a visit to wine country. And if you like to shop ‘til you drop, you can do that at the same time. Not only do bottles of wine make nice gifts, but many of the larger wineries also sell gourmet foods, fancy linens, cool wine gadgets, and hand-blown glassware. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a drinkable souvenir, too!
Plan your trip with a downloadable Guide to Wine Country Thanksgiving, which includes event listings and maps.