Wine production has become so popular in the U.S. that residents of many states live within driving distance to regional wineries. Autumn is an excellent time to plan a wine tasting tour for friends and family. Not only will you enjoy less crowded roads because the summer road trip season end when school starts, you'll enjoy crisp, clear autumn weather as well as the vibrant show provided the leaves changing colors. However, putting together an afternoon of wine tasting takes a bit of planning in order to ensure that everyone has a happy, safe time. Following are four strategies designed to create the best possible wine tasting experience for you and your group.
Pick a Weekend Day in Late September or Early October
Most parts of the country experience optimal weather during this time frame, and depending on location, the autumn leaf show may be at it's height of beauty. Small wineries tend to go all out on weekend days rather than during the week, so you'll find better service and selection then.
Create a Realistic Schedule
If possible, drive the route you plan to take in your own car prior to the proposed wine tasting tour. Schedule about one-half hour per individual winery, but be sure to leave some wiggle room in your plans so that people can stay a little longer if are enjoying a particular setting, or leave a little earlier if desired. Also, if your group is comprised of eight or more people, the smaller wineries on your list will appreciate a heads-up concerning your plans, so give them a call several days in advance to ensure that they can easily accommodate you.
Hire a Charter Bus to Do the Driving
Everyone will enjoy the occasion more with a professional driver behind the wheel, such as from Werner Coach. This way, everyone who goes will be able to enjoy the wine instead of having to refrain due to designated driving responsibilities. You'll also be able to truly travel as a group more easily than if you were using individual cars, and everyone will be able to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery between stops.
End the Day With a Nice Dinner
Making reservations at a nice place for dinner at the end of your tour provides a great grande finale to a fun day. Some larger wineries even have onsite restaurants, but if not, you'll be able to find something suitable nearby -- good restaurants naturally gravitate to wine country.