Once you have a wine region in mind, the next steps are the logistics. You don't want to wait until you're on the road to plan which wineries you'd like to visit and risk wasting part of the day with excessive driving. You may want to plan to visit a string of wineries that are close together to save time, or opt for one that specializes in your favorite type of wine. Of course, since you'll be exploring an unfamiliar area, be sure to equip yourself with a GPS or a set of maps. Most wine regions have tourism Web sites and pamphlets that provide information on wineries and their locations.
You may also want to plan which wineries to visit based on their hours and tour schedules. It's always smart to call a winery ahead of time to confirm these details. Some are only open seasonally, and others may offer tours on certain days. Speaking of tours, you may not want to plan on taking one at every winery you visit. Some people find it monotonous, as the tours might end up seeming increasingly repetitive.
Don't overextend yourself and plan to visit so many wineries in one day that you rush your way through them. Plan enough time at each winery for the tasting, as well as a tour if you want to take one. Most important, make sure to schedule time for eating. The last thing you should do is drink all day on an empty stomach. Wine is meant to pair with food, anyway. You may want to research local restaurants on your route, but many wine tourists choose to pack a a picnic to enjoy in the scenic countryside.
Although wineries are usually clustered in rural areas and require a road trip, the drawback is obviously the problem of drinking and driving. Some groups choose to charter a bus or limo to shuttle them to the different wineries. Otherwise, you'll have to bring a designated driver. That doesn't mean the driver can't have any fun, though. Wineries provide receptacles for those who want to spit out their wine after tasting it. In fact, wine connoisseurs often do this so they can keep their wits while they test several wines other the course of a single day.
Overall, the ultimate wine road trip should be relaxing, fun and educational.
- Abbott, John. "'Sideways Effect' Confirmed." Decanter.com. Nov. 3, 2008. (July 11, 2011)http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/485375/sideways-effect-confirmed
- Hall, Colin Michael, et al. "Wine Tourism Around the World." Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002. (July 11, 2011)http://books.google.com/books?id=hY5E6TKkNmAC
- Smith, Andrew F. "The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink." Oxford University Press US, 2007. (July 11, 2011)http://books.google.com/books?id=AoWlCmNDA3QC
- Sommers, Brian J. "The Geography of Wine." Penguin, 2008. (July 11, 2011)http://books.google.com/books?id=ebC4qCgccjgC