It's imperative that your wine country vacation is planned carefully in advance -- tour and lodging availability is limited, and planning ahead will make your vacation much less stressful. A few days before leaving, check the weather forecast and pack appropriate clothing for the trip. Wine country temperatures vary depending on the area and the time of year, so even though you're heading to sunny Tuscany, Italy in September, you may still want to pack a few long-sleeved shirts.
If you're worried about the right way to drink wine at a tasting, don't be intimidated! Winemakers and winery employees are usually glad to answer your questions and guide you through your first wine tasting. White wines are usually tasted first, followed by reds, and dessert wines are sampled last. Water and crackers are used to cleanse the palate between tastings, but take only what you need -- the crackers are not an invitation to snack freely. If you decide you don't like a wine, it's completely acceptable to say so, and you don't have to finish every glass -- or even try certain wines, for that matter! While you want to respect the winemaker, no one is going to expect you to choke down something you don't like. It's important to have a good time, so stick to wines that agree with you palate, sip, relax and enjoy!