Get ready... Get set...
Tips for planning your next wine tour
fall or winter, you can always plan a visit to a wine region of the Pacific
Northwest. All year round, there is plenty to do. You could plan
a trip to any
of the many official AVAs (appellations), choose from hundreds of wineries, dine
with pleasure, and rest in comfort within Pacific Northwest wine country in
Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.
Taking even a first step to make a
of your own can create a sense of adventure and excitement
that is a thrill, but the same thrill can sew the seeds of a disappointing
holiday. Excitement can lead to unrealistic itineraries, loaded with
opportunities for frustration and conflict, especially if you are not
Be sure to balance your enthusiasm with a strong
dose of realism as you use Wines Northwest's wine-country tour guide to plan your
Use our wine region maps to calculate
distances, routes and drive times for your daily tours. Select your
lodging and dining choices according to their proximity to your last tour
location of the day, or base yourself centrally.
Chances are, any of us who have visited a
wine region or two can testify to the potential dangers of over-enthusiastic tour
planning. You couldn't make it to the last winery you had planned, and
that special appointment you made for a tasting, will not be renewed.
Or maybe your arrive at your lodging facility after dark, four hours later
than planned, your room has been given to someone else, and no-vacancy signs hang from all other
nearby lodging prospects.
Maybe it's inevitable... planning too much your
first few trips into wine country. Maybe it's like the first
time you prepare a full dinner; you plan an extravagant menu and find
it's a lot harder than you thought to have everything done, hot and on the
table at the time you planned. Your
first few trips into wine country present similar challenges... making sure
your trip itinerary results in a relaxing and memorable experience.
Here are a few tips and some information you may find helpful as you develop
your own wine-country tour.
Things to Consider While Planning
Think about what kinds of wineries you want to visit -- small? large?
destination wineries? all of your
favorites? some of those with winery tours? those with picnic spots
and terrific views? Wineries
with gift shops and tasting rooms?
What time of the year would you enjoy
touring the most; consider winter and early spring for avoiding crowds
and improving your chances of talking with the winemakers; fall for
the hustle and bustle of the harvest and crush season. If you want to
be in wine country at some specific part of the wine-growing cycle,
take a look at our
Wine-Growing Schedule for basic information. Check our
Produce Ripening Calendar for timing your visit to the fruits
of your choice.
Starting your planning session with maps is a great way to
"virtually" tour a region and set the geographic stage for your visit.
Review our wine-region maps to
start developing your itinerary.
If space allows, travel with one or two ice chests in your vehicle
to protect your newly purchased wines from fluctuations in day and night
temperatures common in semi-arid regions.
If you plan more than a daytrip to wine country, browse our
wine-country lodging suggestions
and choose one that is central to the wineries you plan to visit, or
one near the last winery you plan to visit on any given day.
As you explore any of the wine region sections of WinesNorthwest.com,
watch for region-sensitive Lodging and Dining
links in the left margin of each wine region page. These links
will take you to maps and lists of nearby suggested facilities.
Be sure to make your reservations early during peak seasons.
Choose a convenient dining facility or picnic area at a winery for
a mid-day, restful lunch break or for your
end-of-the-day meal. It's fun to include one of your morning wine
purchases with your meal (corking fees may apply at restaurants) or your picnic. Check our
maps and lists of wine-friendly restaurants, organized by
town or city within each Pacific Northwest wine region.
When dining out on your wine tour, consider "Ordering
Backward." Select a wine from the wine list first, maybe one from a winery you won't have
time to visit, or one you have never tasted from a winery you like; or choose a wine
you just can't resist. After choosing your wine, review the
restaurant's menu for a selection that will pair well with it.
Or ask the restaurant's staff what they suggest as a pair for the wine
If you plan several days of wine country exploring, be sure to
save an afternoon or two for visiting wineries you hear about along
the way from local people, dining and lodging staff, and wine
country travelers you meet.
- Plan time in the last part of your trip to visit local tasting rooms,
wine shops and wine bars to taste and/or purchase wines from wineries
you missed. A visit to a good wine shop before leaving a wine
region also gives you a chance to pick up more bottles of a wine you discovered
on your trip and wish your had purchased more.
Let us know about any other
trip-planning ideas you find
Please email them to us,
and we'll share them with
Copyright © 2003 -
March, 2013 Susan R. O'Hara. All rights reserved.