How To Survive Wine Tasting Weekends In Your Thirties
The funny thing about wine tasting weekends is that, they seem to pick up in popularity once you’re in your thirties, which happen to be just around the time your tolerance for alcohol declines. When I hear, “Let’s go wine tasting” what I hear is, “Let’s put that diminishing metabolism and high sensitivity to alcohol to the test on that aging body of yours.” Alright, alright—I have to admit that I love wine-tasting trips. But the truth is that they are expensive (the whole point is that you actually try good wines rather than just get a bottle of two-buck chuck, and good wines are pricey). They also tend to take place outside if you’re going to do them correctly, which exposes you to the sun and a lot of walking around. And, they can involve a lot more alcohol than any regular vacation might. Maybe twenty-something-year-old me with few real expenses and a high alcohol tolerance could handle it, but not anymore. Here is how to survive wine tasting weekends in your thirties.
Go with a member
Typically, people who live in wine-tasting regions live there for the wine-tasting and as such, they’re members of a few of the tasting rooms. What that means is that they—and their companions—get free tastings. Considering every tasting is usually between $15 and $25, and you’ll do a few a day, that can really add up. So befriend a member of the local clubs.
Get packages with a tour bus
Another way to save money (and yourself from either a DUI or expensive Ubers) is to get a package. Companies that offer packages usually make deals with wineries and tasting rooms, offering several tastings at discounted prices and a shuttle service. Get one. It’s worth it.
Bring a big floppy hat
This is the time, if any, to bust out that floppy hat. You’ll be touring vineyards and possibly even walking from one winery to another if they’re close together. A floppy hat will address the brightness and UV harm, all at once.
Get a good picnic backpack
Invest in a good picnic backpack. Menu items at wineries can be quite expensive and, furthermore, you’ll want to lay out on the beautiful lawns with some snacks. Picnic backpacks are easy to carry, have insulated compartments for food and drinks, and typically have some bottle holders and openers.
When you’re visiting really high-traffic areas for wine tasting, there are bound to be some wineries that just aren’t keeping up with the competition. They’re still very good, but for whatever reason, could use help in the sales department. You’ll find them on Groupon, offering tastings up to 50 and 75 percent off.
Pack lots of water
Don’t forget to hydrate! Your picnic backpack will come in handy here. You can keep some water bottles, juices, and sparkling water in the cooler compartment.
Take your time to enjoy the views
Wine tasting usually comes with some breath-taking views. So take time to drink them in! Take photos, make videos, walk around, sit down and meditate, overlooking the vines. This will help you not guzzle wine too quickly.
Sit in the shade
Bring a sun umbrella, ask for the table under the umbrella, picnic under the trees—just stay in the shade. If you are too lax about avoiding the sun, the UV damage can add up after one (or several) full days of touring wineries.
If you can go in the middle of the week, wineries will be less busy, and the associates will have more time to give you individual attention. They’ll tell you more about the wines, and just chat with you more. This will also help you slow down your drinking.
If you haven’t picked up on this yet, pacing yourself is so important. It seems like just a little wine in each tasting. But one tasting probably contains between one full and one and a half glasses of wine. If you’re doing four or five tastings in a day…you may drink five or six glasses of wine.
Wear comfortable shoes
If you must wear cute shoes, stick to wedges. Wineries are not stiletto-friendly. Even if you don’t walk through the actual vineyards, you’ll probably stroll down a lot of dirt paths.
Pair wine with food
Invest in a few food pairings. These not only enhance the flavor of the wine tremendously (the associates tend to know what they’re doing) but they also put a base in your stomach to soak up the alcohol.
Mix in other activities
Don’t just wine taste. Stop to visit a museum, see a show, window shop, get a massage etc. This will help you drink a little less.
Split some tastings
Don’t be afraid to split some tastings. It doesn’t bother the associates—they’re getting money either way. In fact, if you are with a group, it could be a smart idea to pick a buddy and split tastings all weekend. You’ll save yourselves money and headaches.
Don’t be afraid to spit out
Remember the whole point is to taste the wine—not necessarily to drink it. If you don’t like something, spit it out. In many cases, the associate will give you something else to try.