Whether you have never had the pleasure of experiencing a wine tasting trip or are a seasoned veteran within the world of wine tasting, there’s no time like the present to plan your first (or next) trip!
Like anything, not all wine tasting experiences are equal. That is why you should plan, pick the right spot and add all the little details that will make your trip unforgettable.
Here’s how to plan a wine tasting trip you’ll never forget.
Step one: Figure out how much time you have
A wine tasting trip is all about the experience. However, to plan the perfect stay, you’ll need to figure out how long you can stay. This will allow you to determine what your budget is, as well as what you’ll be able to fit into your itinerary.
For example, a weekend away will look different than a week or two-week holiday.
Once you have selected the winery or wineries you’ll visit during your trip, figure out what else you can fit in. If you’re staying at an estate, such as those found in the heart of Temecula Valley, plan to take in all the local culture.
For example, have you always wanted to try horseback riding or ride in a hot air balloon? Do you want to treat yourself to a day at a world-class spa — or would you prefer to eat your way through this stunning region? There’s plenty of unique experiences available, as well as places to eat, including at Sweet Oaks.
Brunch for two with Pinot Grigio? Hard to say no to that.
Step two: Choose a region and time of year
There are some regions known for wine. Perhaps you visit a new region each year — or have always had your eye set on a certain area. Regardless, it’s important to do a little homework.
Although Washington, Oregon, New York and Texas all have great wineries, California is by far the wine capital of the United States. Although many visit Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley, you may be looking for a more unique experience. Temecula Valley is one such example. Being so close to the California desert, visitors are often surprised to see gently rolling hills, home to rows of vineyards. This region has been producing wines since the late 1960s and continues to get better with age.
You’ll also want to consider the time of year. For example, in Temecula Valley, it’s best to visit between April and November, as this is when the region yields the best weather. However, the best time for you to visit will depend on what it is you seek. If you want to beat the crowds and enjoy a more intimate (and potentially cheaper) experience, the winter months may be your best bet. If you’re coming for the scenery, each month offers its unique beauty.
The same goes for the best time for grapes. Award-winning wines take months, sometimes years to produce. So, you could taste one of these winners during any season. With that being said, many agree that fall is the best time to visit Temecula Valley concerning the year’s harvest.
Step three: Focus on the type of experience you want
When you’re planning your itinerary, focus on the type of experience you want. Are you a wine lover and foodie? If so, you’ll want to plan some great meals while away. Do you need to make any reservations? Are there any special orders you’d like to make with the winery? Inquire ahead of time so that you secure a spot for any activities you want to take part in, such as a wine tour and tasting!
Step four: Figure out all the little details
Start with the biggest variables for a smooth and memorable trip, like where you’ll stay and how you’ll get there.
Then there are the finer details, like planning for your favorite styles of wine. For example, if you’ve been craving a Syrah or Zinfandel, Temecula Valley is the place to be. Explore all the wine varietals Sweet Oaks has to offer.
Wine Tasting Tips to Make Your Next Trip One for the Books
- Unless you have a reservation booked, you may want to consider the time of day you visit the winery of your choice. In the afternoon, tasting rooms can get busy. If possible, visit a winery early or hang out in the evening — especially if you’re staying on or nearby the winery. This will give you more one-on-one time with the staff and/or winemakers.
- Always make the most of your visit. Wineries go above and beyond to ensure an incredible experience. Does the winery of your choice offer a gourmet picnic option? Is there a stunning spot where you can sit with a bottle of wine to enjoy the scenery, maybe even a sunset? Take advantage of these extra special moments!
- Ask questions. Visiting a winery can be an eye-opening experience. Whether you want to learn more about the region or the winery itself, don’t be shy to ask questions to expand your knowledge.
- Be adventurous, exploring wines outside of your favorite go-to varietals. After all, that’s half the fun! See what the winemaker has been experimenting with or if a small batch of a particular wine is available.
- Most importantly, relax and have fun. While you’re in the area, participate in a local cheese-making class, visit local farms or check out the local coffee roasting house. Go where your heart takes you!
Explore all that Sweet Oaks has to offer to build the ultimate wine tasting trip!