From Tuscany to California, discover tips and travel hacks for planning the ultimate wine trip.
We don’t know about you, but we can feel summer JUST around the corner, and a trip to a winery sounds absolutely divine.
Picture it now—relaxing on a sun-drenched patio with a wine glass in hand, admiring the sprawling vineyards, a stroll through the picturesque gardens, and perhaps a leisurely tour through the winery. Throw in a dash of impeccably paired food and excellent company, and you have the making of an unforgettable vacation.
Before you head to your nearest wine destination, however, there are several items you should take into consideration. While the scenario above sounds relaxing, not all wineries are the same, and not all tours are the same. So, a little bit of planning will go long way toward helping you design the wine-focused vacation of your dreams.
Read on for important tips, travel hacks, and some basic common sense that will help you plan the ultimate wine trip.
Decide on the Wine Region You Want to Visit
This sounds simple enough, but it will have a massive impact on the rest of your planning.
If you don’t necessarily want to travel far, then simply finding a local winery is a great option. Not only will you be supporting a local business, but you’ll likely discover hidden gems that are right under your nose. Plus, making friends with the local winery will put you in touch with other local wine enthusiasts.
For those who aren’t afraid of a bit of travel, there’s a vast world of wine regions just waiting to be explored. The Napa and Sonoma wine regions are very popular, but they offer very different experiences. The former has some of the world’s most renowned wineries, but Sonoma includes smaller, family-run wineries that are more laid back.
Obviously, we can’t talk about wine regions without mentioning all of the phenomenal areas overseas. Italy boasts twenty wine regions, France has seventeen, and Spain has over fifty. In addition, there are plenty of emerging wine regions in Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
It’s also important to note that it’s better to visit some regions at specific times of the year. Bottom line? Figure out how far you’re willing to travel, and what time of year is best for that region, and go from there.
Tour A Wine Region or Stay at an All-Inclusive Winery Resort?
If you’re visiting somewhere nearby, booking a simple tour and wine tasting is oftentimes the best option. You can leave your house in the morning, spend the early and late afternoon there, and then be home that evening. If you’re traveling far enough that you’ll have to stay somewhere overnight though, it’s worth exploring whether or not you want to tour a larger area or stay at a winery resort.
One of the easiest ways to make this decision is by looking at the group you’re going with. If you’re taking children with you, then trying to travel to multiple wineries within a region can be difficult. Plus, not all wineries are child-friendly. That being the case, a winery that offers accommodations, activities, and events would be a good option.
Resorts are often also a bit more laid back. Since you’re staying in one place, you can take your time, enjoy the grounds, and really dive into the history of that particular winery. For those who want to immerse themselves in that region, sampling wine from several wineries is a good way to get a feel for that region’s terroir.
It’s worth noting, however, that there’s a big difference between larger wine tours and private ones. Some large public tours involve many people in a bus, waiting in traffic, and then quickly running through a tour to accommodate the next group. Planning private tours may involve a bit of extra planning (and having a designated driver), but it’s so worth it.
Dress for Comfort and Come Prepared
This seems silly, but it can have a big impact. Even the most leisurely of wine resorts may involve quite a bit of walking around. So, while the image of wandering the grounds in a sundress and heels may be appealing, stick to sensible footwear and opt for clothing that you can comfortably wear all day.
Plus, depending on the region and time of year, it may be surprisingly chilly. There are many California wine-tasting options during the winter months, so be sure to pack for the weather.
Other game-changing items to bring include a water bottle, sun protection, and opt for wearing darker colors. While the venue will likely have water and snacks, it’s always a good idea to have your own water just in case. Sun protection can include sunscreen, a hat, and/or sunglasses. And the dark-colored clothing is to avoid obvious stains in the case of an accidental spill.
Here are a few more ways you can show up prepared for your wine event:
Vineyard Tour Preparedness Hacks
- Skip the perfume, cologne, or body fragrance. A big part of wine tasting is the aroma, so avoiding extra scents will help your nose pick up on the wine’s aroma more easily.
- Don’t overindulge in wine the day before. This one seems pretty obvious.
- Avoid flavored chapstick or heavy lipstick. The former is to avoid interfering with the wine’s flavor, and the latter is to avoid getting lipstick on wine glasses.
- Show up already hydrated!
Consider Poggio al Casone for Your Next Wine Trip!
There are so many phenomenal places to visit if you want to have a wine-centered vacation, but we’re a big fan of Poggio al Casone in Tuscany. Admittedly, we’re very biased since that’s where several of our wines are made. Plus, it’s hard to beat the exquisite views of the Italian countryside from the restored Tuscan-style villa and cottages.
In addition to tours of the vineyard, family-friendly events like adventure cycling and a buffet dinner on the terrace provide something for everyone. For an even more luxurious experience, we highly recommend booking a Thai massage during your stay for some serious relaxation. Plus, let’s not forget about the wine!
Interested in learning more about visiting Poggio al Casone? Contact the venue today for information about accommodations, and they can even help with travel recommendations.