Top Ten Wine Tasting Tips while in Wine Country

Top Ten Wine Tasting Tips - Vegetation

If you are visiting wine country, here are 10 wine tasting tips in order to help you have an amazing time in Sonoma County Wine Country, Napa Valley, and Mendocino County! The most important tip is to relax and have fun while you sip incredible wine and soak in the breathtaking views!


1.)  Hire a wine tour driver in advance.

Hiring a driver in advance will allow you to fully enjoy your day in wine country! Book with us at Windsor Wine Tours! We provide private Sonoma Wine Tours, private Napa Valley Wine Tours, and private Anderson Valley Wine Tours. Whether you are staying in wine country in Sonoma, Napa, or Mendocino County, we will custom curate an incredible wine tour for you! If you already have your favorite places picked out, we are also happy to follow your pre-planned itinerary of all the “must see” wineries on your list!

It’s also helpful when planning to familiarize yourself with the types of wines produced in the region you’ll be visiting so you can ensure a more enjoyable experience. For example, in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is king. If you visit the Russian River Valley, you will discover incredible Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Alexander Valley wineries will have exceptional Cabernet Sauvingnon and Bordeaux Varietals. Dry Creek Valley wineries are known for their incredible Zinfandels. Anderson Valley wineries are known for their Pinot Noir and white varietals, including some amazing sparkling wine producers. Becoming familar with the wine regions will help you narrow down wine regions and wineries that align with your wine preferences and the wine experiences you are looking to have.


Windsor Wine Tours

2.)  Start your day off with a big breakfast.

It’s important to not skip breakfast. Whether you have a sit-down breakfast or grab something at a bakery, it’s important to eat something in the morning before going wine tasting. Starting out with a big breakfast is ideal since you will likely be sipping a lot of wine during your wine tour. Some wineries have started doing a wine and brunch option. Call or text us if you would like more information regarding this option or if you would like to add this to your itinerary.


3.)  Stay hydrated.

We provide bottled water and wineries provide water as well. Some people plan ahead and bring a water bottle. Either way, it’s important to stay hydrated when you are wine tasting. Remember to take sips of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months when it is warmer out.


4.)  Make reservations in advance.

Wineries often require reservations now in advance so you will want to book the wineries you want to go to advance. Also, many wineries in Napa Valley are by appointment only. You can book reservations in advance by going to Explore Tock or book from the wineries website as well and select the type of experience that you want to have. Booking ahead will ensure that you can experience all the wineries that you want to visit while in wine country.


Venge Winery in Calistoga

5.)  Plan lunch into your wine tour itinerary.

In addition to sipping amazing wine, make sure to plan for lunch. Some people plan a sit-down lunch while others prefer grabbing a sandwich for lunch. Either way, it’s important to plan lunch into your wine tour itinerary. Some wineries offer food and wine experiences if this is an option you would prefer as well. If you are booking a wine tasting in the Healdsburg area and are looking to add a food and wine pairing for an elevated experience, visit our blog about 9 incredible food and wine pairing experiences in Northern Sonoma County.


Wine and food pairing in Healdsburg


6.)  Plan your route.

In addition, it’s important to think about the proximity of wineries from one another. It’s also helpful to factor in the time it takes to get from one winery to another. This way you can spend most of your time sipping amazing wine with those you love instead of on the road between wineries. There are several websites that provide maps for free such as the following in: Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino. As you can see, Sonoma County is very spread out and it can easily take an hour to get to from one winery to another if they are geographically on opposite ends of the county.


Sonoma AVA Map found at

7.)  Plan 2 or 3 wine tastings in a day.

Most wineries open at 10am and close at 5pm. Some people choose to have one tasting in the morning and one in the afternoon with a sit down lunch in the middle and others choose to go to three different wineries with a to go lunch in the middle. Most people spend about 90 minutes per wine tasting, alhtough this can vary from winery to winery and depending on the type of wine experience you choose. It will often say on Explore Tock or the winery website how long the wine tasting is expected to last so that you can plan accordingly.


Acta Wines in Alexander Valley (Healdsburg)

8.)  Pace yourself.

It’s helpful to pace yourself and be able to really enjoy the wine and experience at each of the wineries that you visit. Pacing yourself will help you enjoy the wine and the entire experience so much more. Making sure you are staying hydrated and have lunch will also help you pace yourself since going to three wineries in one day can mean you are sipping a lot of wine along the way.


9.)  Take home your favorites.

If you enjoy the wine, consider taking home some of your favorite bottles at the wineries you visit. This way you will not only taste amazing wine, but have amazing bottles and great memories of your trip to wine country that you can cherish for years to come!


Thomas T Thomas Vineyards

10.) Above all, relax and have fun!

Whether you are looking to visit the most beautiful wineries, taste world-class wines, enjoy a wine cave experience, visit hidden gems off the beaten path, or have a more intimate wine tasting experience, we are here to help you custom-tailor your trip so that you have an unforgetable experience in wine country!


Napa Valley

We provide wine tours in Sonoma County, Napa Valley, and Mendocino County. If you are are going wine tasting in Sonoma County, check our our Sebastopol Wine Tours, Alexander Valley Wine Tours, Healdsburg Wine Tours, Russian River Valley Wine Tours, Dry Creek Valley Wine Tours, and Sonoma Valley Wine Tours.

Also, book with us when going wine tasting in the Napa Valley area. Check out our Calistoga Wine Tours, Saint Helena Wine Tours, Yountville Wine Tours, and our Napa Valley Wine Tours.

If you are going wine tasting in Anderson Valley, check out our Anderson Valley Wine Tours. If you are someone that loves finding hidden gems off the beaten path, you will love our Medocino Wine Tours.

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