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 wine-touring plan 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 traveling alone.
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 trip. 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
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.
are a few tips and some information you
may find helpful as you develop your own wine-country tour.
Things to Consider
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
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
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 you select.
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
trip-planning ideas you find valuable.
Please email them to us, and we'll share
them with others.
Copyright © 2003 -
November, 2013 Susan R. O'Hara. All rights reserved.