Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting tours’
If you have never been on a wine tasting tour, you may want to consider taking one next time you are looking for something to do. Many of the wineries that offer tasting tours do so for free and even when they charge, it is usually a nominal fee. Some wine tasting tours are guided and others are self guided. You can usually learn about the history of the winery and how the wines are made and depending on the size of the winery, expect to taste several wines.
Some wineries offer more than simply tasting the wines. At some wineries, you will be able to see each step of the wine making process. Some wineries also have cafes and gift shops. Some of the wineries will let you tour the vineyards as well as the production facilities. Imagine taking a wagon ride with your date across acres of vineyards while sipping wine harvested from the same vineyard.
For an inexpensive but romantic date, one idea is to go on a wine tasting tour, pick up a bottle of your favorite wine after the tour and then cook dinner together or if it is a pretty day, pick up some cheese and crackers and go on a picnic. If you are in an area where there are bike riding trails, this is also a fun and romantic activity you can do together.
Some wineries also offer wine classes so that you can learn to make your own wine at home. This would be a fun activity to share with a fellow wine enthusiast and who knows, you may like your own homemade wine better than anyone else’s.
If you’re considering getting your feet wet by joining wine tasting tours, you are not alone. Ever since the release of the movie “Sideways” in 2004, about two men approaching middle age who decide to embark on a journey through California wine country, have wine tours gained in popularity. Once reserved for the wealthy or the elite, or just those who thought they were, these tours are now more and more common for anyone who is either a wine lover or just wants to learn more about this wonderful beverage.
What should a newcomer to wine tasting tours know about these wonderful excursions? What can you expect and how should you plan so that you can get the most enjoyment from them?
One thing to remember is that there are really two types of tours – the type that is already organized by someone else, and one you decide to go on by yourself. There are many limousines and car services that can be arranged for wine tasting trip that you decide to try on your own, and it’s important that you use one of these services for such a tour. The last thing you want to do is get behind the wheel of a car after having sampled several glasses of wine!
For those that are just starting out, it might be recommended that you try some tours that are organized by a professional. This way there will be no surprises, and your day will be planned out for you, leaving nothing to chance.
Where and When You Leave
Since most people interested in wine tasting tours don’t actually live in wine country, the best tours often arrange for pickup service at nearby hotels. If they are not scheduled to stop at the hotel where you will be staying, you can simply alert your host or organizer that you will be meeting the group in the lobby of whatever hotel is closest. This way they know to expect you and won’t think they need to ring your room.
Usually the group starts out in mid-morning since wine tasting tours are typically all day affairs, and there is some driving that needs to be done between vineyards.
How Much Wine is There?
Most vineyards wine tasting offer 4 to 6 one-ounce samplers of their wines, and you choose which you would like to try. One ounce may not seem like much, but most people who enjoy wine tasting tours will tell you that it really begins to add up as the day goes along, again no driving while drinking!
If you don’t want to organize your own wine tasting tours but don’t care to go with a group, or have certain vineyards you’d like to visit, you can usually arrange private tours with most companies and they will help map out your itinerary, reserve the vehicle, pick you up, and so on. These types of wine tasting tours typically don’t cost much more than group tours, which are usually well under a hundred dollars per person.
Chances are that not many people who love wine actually think of Argentina when they consider their list of great growing regions around the world. However, there are a few reasons why this thinking is wrong. The climate of this beautiful South American country is perfect for winemaking, and is varied enough throughout so as to support a wide variety of wines. Many connoisseurs are beginning to understand why Argentine wines are fine enough to be considered some of the best in the world.
The history of Argentine wines is not a long and rich one as is the history of winemaking in France or Italy, but what Argentineans lack in history they more than make up for in quality. Much of this is due to the weather in this beautiful country. There are more sunny days during the year than not, allowing the grapes to mature properly so as to have the best flavor possible. The soil of Argentina is rich and well cared for; the lack of erosion has continued to keep it healthy. Most wines from Argentine respond to this combination of factors because of the beautiful fruit that is produced in the country.
The vineyards that produce Argentine wine are usually very small but are owned and operated by those who consider their wine to be works of art. For example, in Finca la Anita, there are only seventy hectares (one hundred acres) of land, which is rather tiny compared to many other vineyards of the world, but they produce a product that is nothing less than the end result of obsession. They are a favorite stop for many wine tasting tours. Another favorite stop is Pena Veyrat Durbex, where the grapes are still clipped by hand. This is yet another Argentine vineyard that is family owned and operated, and the family’s pride in their product is obvious.
This is true of most Argentine wines. They are not mass produced in huge wineries or distilleries, or are overseen by someone just hired to do a job. Their vineyards are usually very small and still run by the same families that have owned them for literally centuries. And since their name is on the label, these families take an inordinate amount of pride in their finished product.
Argentine wines come in a wide variety of red and white types. You can easily find Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot and Pinot Noir. White wines include Chardonnay, Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Riesling and Viognier.
If you haven’t considered Argentine wines as being part of your collection of fine wines, you may need to adjust your thinking. You can find some wonderful products from this beautiful country.
Wine tasting is simply the examination and evaluation of wine. Quite a number of wine lovers choose wine tasting tours as an avenue to spend their holiday, as wine tasting tours includes having to visit the country side where the atmosphere is more peaceful and relaxing. The experience tends to renew the people both mentally and physically. Its based on the country visited, wine tasting tours in most cases are in beautiful locations, often times near the beach, in hills where grapes can grow all year round.
One might think that full appreciation of a wine tasting tour will benefit only true wine lovers, but after a third glass we can most certainly conclude, that everybody will blend in and feel great. It is best to start with local wine tours and then build up to wine tasting vacations in more distant territories.
For wine tasting beginners or if going abroad, it is best to take a guided tour to places where wineries are located. These tours usually include renowned and well-known wineries and guided wine tasting sessions hosted by professional wine experts. These sessions can be an exceptional eye opener for the novice, but also for the experienced wine enthusiast. One gets to taste a wide variety of wines at the places where they are manufactured. Also much can be learned about wine making, storage, food matching and also about history of the wine and wine lovers from local history – especially in Europe where this frequently includes kings and aristocracy.
The best part of the tour is that food are served along with wine, and this makes it an enjoyable event. Wine tasting often go on for hours, if you happen to go on guided tours which an excellent way to spend your holiday, you will travel around visiting winery after winery learning about new places that will often amaze you with their beauty. It will also afford you the opportunity to meet new people of like mind to share your thought and experiences. Organized tours is always inclusive of meals, wines that go with the meals, hotel rooms, transportation and the wineries to visit for the tasting sessions.
You don’t need any knowledge of wine to attend wine tasting session as no experience is required. Anyone can attend as tasting sessions are often guided, hence you will learn along the way. If you are a complete novice to wine tasting, is best to observe what other are doing and do like wise. Especially how to sip the wine slowly, in other words, keeping the wine in the mouth for some seconds, while moving it around in all areas of your mouth to feel every taste it has. You can also close your eyes trying to get as much feedback as possible from your sensor and then relate your findings to the description of your guide.
Wine tours are not about wine tasting only. Essentially at the end of the tour you have the opportunity to buy wine that appeal to you, and most people that’s the beginning of their own private wine collection. Having the opportunity to attend such wine tasting event afford you the chance to know how grapes are cultivated and collected, about local tradition, and how grapes are processed for the wine. After having few local wine tours under your belt, you might be tempted to consider wine tour as a way to spend your vacation.
Stay at the stunning Porto Pousada, take in the historical city of Porto, enjoy the wine tasting tours of the Port wine caves of Gaia, the grape growing quintas, and a river cruise down the Douro river from Regua.
Arriving at the Porto Airport a taxi will deliver you to the magnificent Palace of Freixo which was built by the well known Italian architect, Nasoni, in 1742. The palace has been converted into the Oporto Pousada giving luxurious hotel accommodation with views of the Douro river, and has its own restaurant and bar where you can relax and dine on your first evening.
With a health club and spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, you are spoiled for choice if you wish to start the weekend at a more leisurely pace. However, for those who are keen to begin exploring the ancient city of Porto there is much to see. Built along hillsides overlooking the river Douro, It is one of the oldest European cities and dates back to the Roman Empire.
Parts of the 14th century walls that once enclosed it are still standing and there is an opportunity to see magnificent buildings of every architectural period. This World Heritage site has a number of interesting places to see including museums, the Sao Joao Theatre and the Ferreira Borges Market. There is also a choice of charming cafes down by the waterfront where you can stop to have lunch.
Not to be missed, are the wine tasting tours at one of Vila Nova de Gaia’s many Port Wine caves located on the other side of the Douro river. Each cave is very different from the next and although they are only a 20 minute walk from Gaia, it is recommended you take a free shuttle from the waterfront as the roads are a steep climb. The tours are given by multi lingual guides who will explain the fascinating origins of Port Wine. However be warned, after only a few sips of this potent wine you will soon feel the effects! It is also recommended you bring warm clothing as the caves are kept cool to aid fermentation.
The perfect ending to the day would be to head back to Porto for dinner and a stroll through its medieval streets as it is simply magical at night. There is an early train the following morning to Regua for a Douro cruise where a cruise boat will take you down stream to Porto, sailing through the serene landscape of rolling hills, terraced vineyards, and hill top villages. It is a wonderful way to relax and take in the rural charm of northern Portugal.
Port Wine and aperitifs are served on board and there is an opportunity to disembark for a buffet lunch at the Estalagem Porto Antigo where you can sample traditional Portuguese dishes. Depending which time of the year you go, each season will enchant you. February is when the almond trees are in full bloom and their white blossoms contrast superbly against the backdrop of the surrounding countryside. In April the brilliantly coloured bee-eaters can be seen during nesting season as they fly overhead in search of food, and of course Harvest season in late September means the vineyards are full of workers picking grapes. With so much to see and do you can make the most of your weekend as there are flights available on Mondays, giving you an opportunity to take advantage of the Porto Pousada’s facilities one last time. What better way to return home feeling utterly pampered and relaxed.