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8 things to try and do before going on a wine tour

Luxury wine tours are all the trend lately. It’s no wonder that more and more people are succumbing to the lure of visiting picturesque vineyards and tasting the variety of wines produced.

Few experiences really compare to a day of tasting different wines, while still being able to speak to people who are passionate about what they do.

If you’re getting ready to start your first wine tour, here are 8 stuff you ought to know to make sure it’s an absolutely memorable and enjoyable experience.

1. Safety first

It goes without saying that since you will be tasting many types of wines, what can start out as a “tasting” could easily turn into a tasting session. For this reason, you should arrange car service for the day or have a designated driver to take you home safely.

If you plan to spend an entire day outdoors or a few days moving from place to place, expect it to get tiring. Having the peace of mind that there is someone “fresh” who will bring you home in one piece (more or less) will set the mood for a relaxed start to your visit.

wine tour

2. Bring an empty box or two

One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is not bringing boxes where they can keep the assortment of ‘extras’ acquired on a wine tour. More than likely, you will come across a wine that you really love and want to take home.

Wine makes a great gift to give to family and friends, so think about who you would like to buy wine from and bring enough boxes to carry the amount of wine you plan to buy. There’s nothing worse than a long drive with bottles slamming somewhere in the back, and you’re worried they won’t make it home without breaking.

3. Plan your trip well

Like any wine tour to any part of the world, you should always do your research. Ask yourself what types of wine you and your companions like to drink. From there you can determine which wineries to visit. Make sure to include old and new wineries on your list, as it gives you a sense of contrast in the landscapes and a greater diversity of flavors to sample.

A rule of thumb for wine tours is; visit no more than four in a day. If your route has more than four, delete the others and choose the ones you want to see the most. This will allow you to take full advantage of what the tours have to offer and prevent you from having to rush from one vineyard to another.

wine tasting tour

When traveling with children on your visit, make sure they can do something to keep them occupied. While it is extremely enjoyable for adults to sip during the day, it will easily become a world of boredom for children to just sit there and watch. Prepare activities or games they can do in advance.

4. Study the details

It’s important to know the details once you’ve decided on the wineries you want to visit. This involves knowing a bit about their background, opening hours, visiting hours, and the costs involved in wine tastings. Knowing all this information in advance allows for smooth navigation.

Think about what time of year you want to go and find out if it’s high season or low season. High season means the premises will be busy and if you intend to chat with some of the vineyard owners and staff you will need to adjust your schedule accordingly.

5. Write down the questions you would like to ask

An important part of any winery tour will be talking to people about their wines. Remember that producing wine requires a lot of care and effort and that you will be in the know about the process.

wine tours

Wine is a passion for producers and consumers. Do not hesitate to ask questions. More often than not, owners and staff will want to share their passion with you by educating you about the winemaking process.

Before going on a wine tour, write down any questions you want to ask. Or make a list of your questions and save it to your phone. That way you don’t come home after your visit and realize that there are things you forgot to ask.

6. Know the names of the grapes

While it is not really important to know all the varieties of grapes that are grown, it is useful to have a few.

Having at least some knowledge of grapes will increase the experience. It can also keep you from feeling a bit lost when the conversation starts to focus on the different varieties of grapes. Knowing them all by heart is not essential, but having general information will help.

7. Review the wine tasting label

Spit or swallow? Is it okay to empty? Do I really have to buy bottles? Here are some questions you might ask yourself when you are on a wine tour. The golden rule here is to be polite.

If you are going to visit more than one vineyard during the day, there is a good chance that you will be tasting a lot of wine. If you keep swallowing, there’s a good chance you won’t reach the end of your route without getting drunk properly.

It is not considered rude to spit or throw away, even if it is good wine, as winery owners know that you can visit other wineries as well. And getting coated won’t make a good wine tour.

hunter valley wine tour

Don’t feel like you have to buy bottles of wine. But if this is a free tasting, you might want to consider the courtesy of purchasing a bottle of wine that you particularly enjoyed.

8. Know the dos and don’ts

  • Do not wear perfume or perfume as this can ruin the tasting experience.
  • Don’t know everything, even if you are familiar with wine trivia – nobody likes know-it-all.
  • Don’t ask for “the right things”. Instead, ask if there is a reservation that has not been presented. Remember, making a request like this puts more pressure on you to make a purchase.
  • Start your visit early. During the first part of the day, your palate is always “clean” and intact. So now is the perfect time to start. As you taste more food and drink more wine, your palate will be more and more affected. Starting early ends with a better tasting experience.
  • Buy wine. This one is obvious, but don’t haggle over the price of wine.
  • Have fun in moderation. A visit can last all day and the pace will give you a delicious experience.

Preparing for your visit can in itself be very satisfying. Once you know all of your bases are covered, you can rest assured that the trip will be hassle-free and amazing. Get the most out of your trip by finding out everything you’ve decided to explore. And enjoy the whole experience by focusing on everything on offer, not just the wines. The landscapes, the travel agency you are with and the food you taste will be a good part of the memories you take home after your wine tour.

Contact Hunter Valley Tours today!

Hunter Valley Tours are known for their intimate customized boutique cellar door wine tasting tours. Hunter Valley Tours provide a mobility accessible service for you, being the first privately owned tour service to begin operating accessible tours within the Hunter Valley in 2015. Book online to a Hunter Valley Wine Tours today!

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Natalie Leary

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