Whether you are new to wine tasting or a seasoned veteran here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your Virginia Wine Touring experience:
- Plan your Virginia Wine Touring adventure. Map out your route, check the wineries schedule, make appointments with smaller facilities, pack a picnic lunch, and hit the trail. The wine trail that is. We are happy to take care of all the details for you. We will discuss your wine preferences and plan your adventure and even arrange for a designated driver.
- Weekends can be particularly busy during nice weather. If possible visit the larger; well know wineries during the week or early in the day, when the crowds will not be a problem. To avoid the crowds while on your Virginia Wine Tour visit during the week. Take advantage of our great Designated Driver Wine Van for a free ride to 3 or 4 local wineries.
- Check the wineries schedule, some may be closed different days during the week. Give the winery a call to be on the safe side. Driving down a country road only to find the gate closed or a private event taking place can be frustrating. If you leave the driving to us we will do this for you!
- Do not wear perfume or fragrances while tasting wine. Smell is such a huge factor in how a wine is perceived and you’ll want to save all of those olfactory receptors for the lovely wines you will taste at the Virginia Wineries.
- Most wineries charge a nominal fee for tastings. But will wave this fee when you purchase wine, or if you join their wine club. More about the benefits of wine clubs later. We have arrange complementary tastings at many of the local wineries for our Guests. This changes so feel free to ask what passes we currently offer.
- You will be given “tastes” of wine. Usually about 2 oz, but the pours vary from winery to winery. It is perfectly acceptable to pour or spit out the wine. This is a good idea if your are visiting multiple wineries. Drinking too much can dull your taste buds, and often make subpar wine taste better. You may end up purchasing wines that you later have to regulate to the second or even third bottle of the evening list. If you are truly trying to get a feel for all of the wines limit how much you consume. The wineries will not be offended if you either spit or dump-out wine. You may also opt out of tasting a particular wine if it’s not your thing. Read our five steps to tasting wine.
- Ask questions. In most cases the staff at the wineries will be happy to discuss their wines and the wine making process. Almost everyone who works at a winery does so because they are passionate about the art of wine making. Winemakers LOVE to tell you about their wine.
- If you find a wine that you especially like, buy it from the winery! If you like it and you know you’re going to buy it, then why not directly from the people who make it? Plus it’s a great token of your wine excursion and it gives you a way to share the experience with friends when you return home. Many of the wines are not available at your local stores.
- Do NOT chew mints or gum, they will definitely affect the taste of wine and not for the better!
- Drink lots of water between tasting wines. Staying hydrated is the key to avoiding hangovers. You’ll thank yourself in the morning! Also, be sure to eat along the way at some point. The less food you eat, the more quickly you will become intoxicated.
- Make notes about the wine you are drinking. Most wineries will have a list of wines they are currently tasting, with the wine makers notes. Compare your impressions with that of the wineries. Take a note pad to make tasting notes. You can get something as simple as a spiral notebook. It’s always good to write down your perception of the wine you tasted as you taste it (and when you still remember). It can be used as a handy reference when you are heading to the wine store to make a purchase at a later time.
- Taste only at the wineries and not in the vehicle between wineries. Virginia State Law prohibits wineries from allowing alcoholic beverages other than the wine they produce to be consumed on their premises, including in their parking lots. Also, the wineries are required by law to refuse to serve any one who appears intoxicated. The goal of tasting wines is to expose you to great wine and help acquaint you with a particular winemaker’s style, not get you drunk.
- We recommend you have a designated driver, along for the adventure. Virginia has strict DUI laws and it’s just not worth it to take chances.
- Lastly, enjoy yourself. Exploring wineries should be a very fun experience. Try wineries you have never been to and some that you’ve never even heard of. You just never know the adventures you might have while on your Virginia Wine Touring Vacation!
Of course this advice is not only applicable for Central Virginia Wine Touring, but can be useful tasting wine anywhere you travel. Happy Tasting!