How to take the perfect wine trip?
So you're really passionate about wine, and you've just come back from this year's summer holiday and all you can think about is planning next year's one, and what would be better than spending a week discovering new places and new wines while you're at it?
Freshly back from my Burgundy summer road trip I've come across some tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning your next holiday in wine country.
Tip n°1 - Road trip all the way!
When you're looking into making a wine trip you'll quickly find that if you haven't got a car than you won't be going very far. And as it turns out most of the places you would want to visit are out in the middle of nowhere (the vines kind of make that compulsory). If you're lucky and you live in a wine producing country than taking a road trip is the most inexpensive way to travel as it means you only require one form of transportation as opposed to multiple in the case of air travel.
Tip n°2 - Stay in different towns
If you're looking to discover new places then the best way to see something new everyday and never get bored is by switching towns every evening. That way every night, after a day packed full of sightseeing, you get to enjoy a new town and the culinary specialties of that place. Also it's worth noting that it's best to stay in medium to large sized towns as hotels in these places will offer you better rates than in smaller towns where there is less competition.
Tip n°3 - Plan your visits in advance
Depending on the wine country you decide to visit, some producers may not have the ability to welcome you for a visit. As a result it's best to plan your visits in advance and drop an email to the estate asking them if you can visit. This way you'll have the best chance to get a one on one with the owner which will give you a real hands on experience and look into life at the winery.
Tip n°4 - Eat light lunches and skip the breakfast buffet
If you want to save a little money on your trip a little trick I've come across is to skip the breakfast buffet at the Hotel if it's not included in the price of your room and instead head on to a local bakery and café for your breakfast pastry and coffee. It's a good way to have breakfast for less than 10$ and get a feel for the local culture. My second food tip is to go to a local supermarket and buy a light salad for your lunch. You'll most probably be on the go, sightseeing and need a way to eat a light meal before heading to your next location. This also means that when you've arrived to your final destination for the day you can really make the most of a truly delicious restaurant dinner and feel like you really deserve it.
Tip n°5 - Choose your timing wisely
The peculiarity of wine country trips is that wineries are on a strict timetable that is often dictated by the time of year and the different stages of the vine that are taking place. Consequently the best is to really take this into account when you're planning your trip. Try and avoid visiting when it's harvest season as the winemakers will have other things on their mind. In my opinion the best time to visit is right before the harvest, beginning of August, during the few weeks when it's just "wait and see" before it's picking time or wait till end October/ beginning November. This is for the Northern Hemisphere, obviously these dates will change if you're visiting in the Southern Hemisphere.
Are you planning a wine trip soon? If so, where to? Tell me in the comment section down below.