When one says wine country in America, Napa comes to mind. However, there are many other places for you to visit. In addition to Napa, California has more than 15 wine producing regions. But you can also go to the Oregon’s Willamette Valley, known for their superior Pinot Noirs, Washington’s Yakima Valley or New York’s Finger Lakes just to name a few. Regardless, of where you choose to travel to taste, buy and enjoy wine. I have a few notes that will make your trip more enjoyable.
Pick your travel companion with care
I have been to wine country on the east and west coast of the United States and I have been to wine country internationally, Australia, NZ, Chile. Picking the wrong person or group as a companion will ruin your trip. As a wine enthusiast, I have tried traveling with other enthusiasts and it can be a battle of wills and tastes.
Plan for bad weather
Sometimes you have to choose between crowds and weather. The best time to go wine tasting may not be when the weather is good. For example, some of the best pinot noirs are in Oregon in the Willamette Valley. Although people claim the climate in the Valley is mild, it was biting and rainy when I visited in February 2012. I came prepared with an anorak and jeans. I didn’t try to look cute while drinking wine and I knew it wasn’t going to be a linger and enjoy the wine trip.
Plan to only visit 3 wineries a day
The first time I went to Napa/Sonoma we saw more than 5 wineries in a day, two days in a row. Guess what? My tongue started to hurt. You are going on a trip to enjoy yourself. Do not cram as many wineries in as possible. It will give you a headache and it can make your tongue hurt.
Call Ahead and Request Access not Open to the Public
Some wineries have affiliations to wineries in different regions. For example, as a member of the Seghesio wine club, I had an affiliation to other wine clubs. When I traveled to Oregon for a tasting, I contacted Seghesio and asked if I could have a tour of the caves at Archery Summit. Luckily, Archery Summit was having an event which was free to club members and enabled me to tour the caves while enjoying a masquerade party.
Plan to do other things
Although I love wine, days of just going to wineries and drinking wine can get boring. Plan to do other things. Whether is it hiking, shopping, seeing monuments… just plan to do more.