You have a group of your best pals together and you’ve made a plan—you’re heading to a winery! You’ve got your safe ride, a mood-setting playlist, and you make your grand entrance. Now what should you expect and do once you make it to the bar?
First, someone should offer you a tasting menu and explain how it works. Each winery will have their own setup, but generally it will involve tasting 4-6 different wines, usually a mix of white and red wines and perhaps a sparkling, rose, and/or dessert wine mixed in. Some wineries will have a set tasting menu but most allow you to choose a few that interest you from a wider selection.
Once you’ve picked your wines, they’ll pour the first wine for each person in your group and then tell you about the wine you’re drinking. Depending on how busy they are or what winery you go to, this may be simply the information on the label, but often they’ll tell you some about how the wine is made, where the grapes are grown, and other interesting info about what you’re tasting. This is the time to ask any questions you might have about what you’re drinking, the vineyard, how the wine is made, the grapes, or really anything else you’re curious about!
As for actually tasting the wine, there are 4 simple steps. Check out my Wine Tasting 101 post here for more details to look like a pro. Use that as a guide while you sample the wine.
So now what happens? Basically rinse and repeat for the rest of the wines in your tasting. I like to interact with the staff and let them know when I really enjoy a wine or if a particular grape or wine style is new to me. They usually love the feedback, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a bonus pour of your fave!
Once the tasting’s over, you can either call it a day, stick around and drink more wine, or sometimes they’ll offer a tour of the winery. I like to include time to sit and enjoy the scenery of the winery, and of course more wine! Usually they’ll sell it in bottles, but sometimes you can get a glass of some or all of the wines. Most will even have cheese boards or other snacks to make it a picnic.
You can also purchase wine to take home with you, and most wineries will have a wine club you can subscribe to if you really enjoyed the wines. I don’t recommend this on your first few trips, but if you love the wine and will drink it often, it can be a great way to support local businesses and get to know the winery and its owners.
Now that you know what to expect and do, grab your squad and head to some local wineries! Happy tasting!