Wineries & Tasting Rooms

Along my travels, I have visited many wineries and tasting rooms, and hope to visit even more in the future.  This section aims to share my experiences with others in the hope that they can plan fun and informative wine trips.

The wineries are organized by region and will hopefully be updated frequently!  I have used a four star rating system to review my experiences at the winery and of the wine.

4 stars – highly recommend

3 stars – recommend

2 stars – neutral rating

1 star – do not recommend

Viva le vin!

Some tips for wine tasting that I have learned along the way.

1. Take notes.  This may sound dorky and many people won’t do this the first time they visit a winery, but if you end up visiting many wineries and try many wines, it will be difficult to keep them all straight.

2. If you have a full day of tastings, in other words, you are visiting several wineries in one day, don’t drink too much because you won’t be able to judge the wines at the end of the day.  Dump wines that you don’t like.  You won’t hurt the winery’s feelings if you are discrete about it.  That is why they have dump buckets.  Take a break mid day for lunch and don’t drink any wine at lunch.  Give your pallet a chance to refresh.  Trust me on this one.  I have done it both ways many times and always get more about of the afternoon after a wine-free lunch.  Drink a bunch of water at lunch instead.

3. Pay attention to what they are teaching you about the wine, at least for a little while.  Some people may not really care how they made the wine or what kind of oak barrels the wine was aged in.  But, as you try more and more wines and start to see that there are certain wines you like and don’t like, a trend will emerge.  Understanding how those wines are made will help you understand why you like certain wines.  For example, I am not a fan of red wines that overuse toasted oak.  I know this because those wines have too much of a pronounced vanilla taste that I am not a fan of.  A hint of vanilla is ok, but too much ruins a wine for me.

4. Have an open mind.  I really believe that a great winemaker who is given great grapes can make a fabulous wine from any varietal.  So, silly people who as a rule state that they don’t like Merlot or only drink red wine are limiting themselves.  At least give every wine a chance.  Again, if you don’t like it after giving it taste, dump it.  I recently went to a tasting where they had Marsala wines which I never thought I would like (for purposes other than cooking).  It was fabulous and I loved it.

5. Have fun and smell the roses.  One of the things I love most about wine tasting is that wineries tend to be in absolutely gorgeous settings.  Take pictures and give yourself a few moments before walking into the tasting room to really drink in the surroundings.

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