Visiting a winery involves a lot more than just tasting wines. You get to feel the cool breeze as you gaze upon rows of vines that have taken over the hills, admiring the beauty of the region. After a long day of learning and sightseeing, you can even relax with a glass of fine red wine and enjoy the flavours on your tongue.
Whether or not this is your first winery visit, here are seven tips that will help you have the best winery tour experience possible:
1. Plan your itinerary
While traditional vineyards still receive many visitors, there are plenty of new ones waiting to be explored. Consider mixing up old and new wineries in your itinerary. That said, be aware that new wineries might not meet your expectations because it takes years to produce quality wine. When visiting newer wineries, many people choose to view the facilities and put less emphasis on the actual wine.
If you aren’t one for experimentation, visit vineyards that produce the wines that you know you like. Going out of your comfort zone and trying other wines is a fantastic idea, but you shouldn’t feel as if it is the only option. It’s best to try all blends if you’re new to this so that you can find the one that satisfies your taste buds.
2. Aim for three to five stops in a day
Believe us—two stops during a winery tour will not suffice. Besides, it may take you only an hour or two to go on a nice tour of the winery and have a taste of their blends. Consider the travel time between stops and extra time for their gift shops. Rushing will leave you with less time for browsing through their collection. Moving at a snail’s pace, however, may not allow you to visit as many places as you’d like.
3. Consider peak season
The peak season for wineries is during summer and fall. If you want to enjoy the vineyard before crowds of people start to come in, start your day earlier, especially if you are planning to buy bottles of wine. Plan your trip during winter or spring if you want a more intimate experience. The trade-off of visiting during these seasons, however, is that not all wine varieties may be available because there is not enough harvested for production.
4. Bring an empty box
If you’re taking home several bottles of wine, it’s important to keep them from rolling around in your trunk. They may end up becoming cracked and leaving you with a serious carpet stain and no wine. Pack an empty cardboard box with dividers for your wine bottles. That way, when you purchase a bottle, you won’t have to worry about breakage.
5. Identify a designated driver
Since you’re dealing with alcoholic drinks at a winery tour, one of your group members must remain sober to ensure a safe ride home. If you end up tasting more than what you need, you may get tipsy or even drunk, making you incapable of driving safely. If everyone wants to indulge in the tasting, it’s best to rent a car service for the entire day to avoid placing your companions in danger.
6. Be prepared to listen
Aside from seeing the entire wine production process, the guides at each winery will also explain how each wine is created and what grapes they used for that mix. The wine experts will also give you some hints about the smell and taste. You can ask as many questions as you want because it’s a sign that you are interested in their work. If you’re lucky, they may even teach you some tips and tricks on recognizing the wine’s characteristics!
7. Remember that buying wine is voluntary
You are not obliged to buy bottles of wine after the trip. The tour was intended for you to learn the winemaking production process. You are going there to enjoy the sights and tastes. For this reason, you are free to purchase as many or as little bottles as you’d like!
Save yourself from any hassle and find a reliable winery tour operator. Their extensive knowledge in organizing tours for groups will make your tour a pleasant one. They can also give tips about the wineries to visit based on your preferences. There’s no doubt that you will enjoy the most memorable experience by having an expert tour operator like Wilsons Wine handle your itinerary.
If you’re looking for wineries in the Geelong area, get in touch with us today to book your visit!