Planning a wine tasting trip is a fun way to deepen your travel experience. There are five simple steps to plan a wine tasting trip. You can complete the whole planning process today.
In brief, you plan a wine tasting trip with these five steps
1 Choose Your Wine Destination
2 Choose Your Transportation Options
3 Pick Some Wine Tasting Interests To Explore
4 Choose Your Accommodations
5 Planning A Wine Tasting Trip With Non-Wine Enthusiasts
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the steps involved.
1) Choose Your Wine Destination
The world of wine travel is filled with many choices, but we can simplify those choices into two destination types: local and long distance.
First, there are local wine tasting trips like places you can visit via a short drive or train journey of your home (i.e., a weekend trip). A local winetasting trip could involve wineries or visiting a wine bar with friends. For example, I’ve enjoyed visiting wine bars in Toronto like Archive 909.
The second kind of wine tasting trip is more involved: taking a long-distance trip somewhere else. For example, I have taken a wine tasting trip to France and Uruguay in the past. These trips involved cruise ships and planes. Reading a book like 1,000 Places To See Before You Die (Deluxe Edition) is a great way to discover new places to visit including wine regions…. By the way, you can also make wine part of your journey – like enjoying wine on the train. For inspiration and photos, see my Ottawa wine travel blog.
Given that these two kinds of wine tasting trips are pretty different, I will use these two examples throughout the rest of this article.
2) Choose Your Transportation Options
A wine tasting trip involves alcohol; therefore, we need to plan to avoid drinking and driving. If you are driving yourself around on a winetasting trip, you will need to exercise significant caution to stay safe.
Local wine tasting trip.
You have a few choices with a local wine tasting trip. A local wine tasting trip might be as simple as taking an Uber to a winetasting bar or taking a walk in your city. In a case where you have taken a weekend trip to wine country, your transportation could include hiking or cycling. Some places in wine country will also organize packaged wine tours where transportation (e.g., a bus tour) is part of the deal. Signing up for a packaged tour is a good choice for a wine beginner looking to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
Tip: Buying wine on a local wine tasting trip is tempting. I’ve been in winery stores before and have debated how much to buy. Assuming you will visit multiple wineries throughout your wine tasting trip, I suggest limiting your purchases to two bottles per winery you visit.
International wine tasting trip
Your international wine tasting travel planning will probably start with plane tickets using tools like Skyscanner and Google Flights for research. If you are traveling to France, I would recommend flying to Paris and then taking a train to the wine region you are interested in visiting. In some cases, you might find it helpful to rent a car to visit specific wineries. In that case, be extra careful about wine consumption while abroad. You don’t want to face the prospect of a ticket, fine or worse while traveling abroad.
Buying wine while traveling abroad brings more challenges in terms of logistics and expenses. While each country has its rules, you can generally bring home one or two bottles of wine from a trip. To bring more wine home, inquire about shipping options and be prepared to pay customs fees above and beyond the shipping cost.
3) Think About A Few Wine Tasting Interests To Explore
Your wine tasting travels should reflect your interests. For those who are passionate about history, look for an older winery. Alternatively, you might look for a winery that produces organic wines or biodynamic wine if you are interested in exploring the wine-making process. By the way, it is also an excellent idea to think about food and wine pairing as you plan your trip.
If you are visiting a coastal area like Bordeaux, look for fresh seafood to enjoy your wine. Above all, seek out local food to enjoy with your wine, such as a local cheese. France has a wealth of cheese to discover, so permit yourself to try something different.
4) Choose Your Accommodations
Skip this step if your wine tasting is strictly local. If you are hitting the road or jumping on a plane, choosing to spend some time on accommodation research is wise. Unless you are particularly passionate about a specific winery, I would advise against staying at a winery. It is too easy to overly focus on what that winery offers and neglect to explore other areas.
Before booking your accommodation, spend some quality time with Google Maps. Specifically, you want to look at the immediate surroundings of your accommodation. You want to understand if there are amenities within walking distance. Further, spend some time looking at nearby wine tasting options. Ideally, your accommodations will be located close to at least two or three wine tasting options like wineries and wine-focused restaurants nearby. If there are no wine tasting trip destinations nearby, your trip will involve a lot of driving.
5) Planning A Wine Tasting Vacation With Non-Wine Enthusiasts
Planning a wine tasting adventure will probably include a conversation with your spouse, friend, or other traveling companions. If they do not share your passion for wine tasting, don’t despair. Instead, discuss ways to arrange for a mix of activities.
For example, let’s say that you have planned a three-day wine tasting trip to your area’s wine country. Assuming you keep a reasonable pace, you can easily visit 2-3 wineries in one day. On the other day of the trip, focus on activities that your traveling companion is interested in. You might decide to rent bicycles and explore the area or visit local museums. In addition to deepening your understanding of the world, other activities make your trip even more memorable.
Want to Plan A Wine Tasting Trip To France?
While I’ve enjoyed wine from across the world, I have a specific soft spot for French wine. I love the variety, history, and commitment to quality that defines French wines. To get further inspiration for your wine tasting trip, I recommend a short Great Course: The Everyday Guide to Wines of France (Audible) Review – Learn French Wine In An Afternoon. In less than four hours, you can learn enough about French wine to plan a dream trip to France.