14 Tips for Visiting Wineries

Wine tasting is such an enjoyable experience, and we've got plenty options (more than 200, actually) for wineries to visit in Virginia. Just as with any activity, there are ways to enhance your experience to ensure that you have the best time possible. Here are a few suggestions for a successful visit to a winery.

1. Call the winery ahead of your visit to verify hours, and ask when is the optimal time.

2. Many Virginia wineries are in rural locations, and you may find yourself without mobile phone service at times; hit the road with good directions.

3. Speaking of hitting the road: get a designated driver.

4. Realize there are a lot of wineries out there, so don’t overdo it. Perhaps try to visit two or three a day.

5. Some wineries offer food; others don’t, so keep lunch or snacks in mind.

picnic with wine

6. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

7. Dress comfortably and in layers in case it’s cooler in a cellar than when you are sitting outside enjoying a quaff.

8. Bring a cooler with one or two ice blocks if you are making purchases—even of red wine. Car temperatures can soar, so when you are at your second or third stop—or on the way home—your wine should stay at appropriate temperatures.

9. Don’t wear cologne or perfume. Drinking wine is a sensory experience, and if you load up on the perfume, it could affect you or others tasting.

10. Really taste the wines: look at them, smell them, taste them, and take notes so you will remember your impressions of them.

wine tasting

11. Try the wines you know you like, but try some that you may not have had before —you could find a new favorite.

12. Make use of the dump bucket if you are starting to feel the effects of drinking too much, or if there is a wine you don’t like.

13. Also make use of the crackers or bread to clear your palate, especially between greatly varying vintages.

14. Ask lots of questions. The folks at the winery are there to help you make the most of your visit. Don’t worry about asking something that may be common knowledge to them. If you are curious, ask.

visiting a winery

Next: Here are five red wines to try during October, Virginia Wine Month.

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