Planning a trip is not always simple and in wine tourism there are even more details to consider! I tell you how I plan a wine trip in 8 steps
Finally the world starts to breathe again, it is slowly returning to its rhythm and opening its doors.
Cellar doors included!
Gradually, wine producers across the world reopen their wine tourism to host visitors who want to know them better. So, in this post I share with you how I plan a wine trip in 8 steps, and thus, make the most of my wine tourism experiences 😊
DEFINING HOW MANY DAYS AND THE TIME OF THE YEAR
It seems obvious and in fact this happens with any trip we want to take to any destination in the world.
But in wine tourism, the time of year is even more important as the vineyard has stages of development and each stage has a different charm.
If you think that wine tourism only happens in summer and at harvest time, think again! You can do wine trips all year round.
Knowing how many days you have available to travel is also important for selecting the region to explore, as I tell you in the next step.
CHOSE THE REGION… OR REGIONS TO VISIT
As I mentioned in the first step, knowing how many days you can dedicate to this tour is essential for choosing the region.
Naturally, there are wider regions than others, with more wine tourism operating and with different accesses between wineries. It also depends on your level of interest in wine culture and how many producers you want to visit each day.
I like to make a list of the wineries I want to visit and literally draw the itinerary on google maps. I try that the distances are not much longer than 40 minutes drive so that it is not too exhausting to drive, especially after a good lunch that always makes me want a nap!
ALONE? WITH FRIENDS? AND CHILDREN?
I actually did much of my wine travel – in Portugal and around the world – alone and I love it! I recommend it to anyone who really wants to do a wine trip but has no company, go anyway and do not miss the chance.
If you’re taking friends with you, it is important to find a program that pleases everyone. Doesn’t anyone in the group enjoy wine? No problem, for sure they will love taking a bike ride in the vineyards, a safari in the mountains, participate in grape stomping, without having to drink a drop of wine.
And what about children? They are welcome in many wineries that have already created activities for the youngest to be entertained, while the parents taste wine. Just do a little research beforehand and realize what activities each winery has to offer that suits all different public and tastes.
This is obviously an important point for many people!
When I started this blog I was 30 years old – but I was wine travelling long before that – so one of the goals I had with the blog was to prove that wine tourism is accessible to everyone. It can be seen as elitist tourism because it revolves around a product still seen as luxury. The same way a winery hotel, is generally a bit more expensive than average.
So how do I not spend huge amounts of money? First of all, it is an option! Some people go to the beach in the Maldives or go shopping in New York, I travel to wine regions. Then, I vary the experiences. If one day I sleep in a farm lodge, the next day I sleep in a small inn in the village, if one day I have lunch in a good restaurant, on the other I stop eating a sandwich under a tree watching the vineyards!
LEARN ABOUT THE REGION
It is important to collect information about the region to visit.
Find out if you have any wine or type of iconic wine that you should know. If it is a region that produces special fortified wines or sparkling wines or has some historic and unique wine in the world. If there are design wineries or vineyards recognized as World Heritage.
Get informed and read as if it were any other trip, so you don’t miss anything important!
DIVERSIFY THE EXPERIENCE
I have already talked about one of the advantages of varying experiences on each tour: managing your budget.
Another positive point is to improve your itinerary. Do not concentrate your activities all within the same cellar. I recommend, for example, sleeping in a winery guesthouse and waking up in the middle of the vineyards but going for lunch at a local restaurant in the nearest village.
Find out what monuments there are, unique landscapes of the region and why not, look for another winery nearby that also has an open cellar door and get to know a new wine producer.
I love it! If I am in a region where there is a monument, a cathedral, a museum that I really have to visit, then I will happily make this stop.
BOOK ALL YOUR WINE TASTINGS
Not all wineries have a structure large enough and have staff available to host you on a visit at any time and any day. And even the larger cellars may already have scheduled events or are fully booked for the day.
So, to guarantee you trip is not in vain, it is important to call ahead, confirm visiting hours, know what tastings they offer and how long they expect the visit and tasting to take. So you will certainly be received with all the dedication, availability and your experience will be a lot worth it!
So remember, always book your visits.
(NOTE: I do not mean to say that if during your tour you encounter a wine cellar that was not foreseen, be sure to knock on the door anyways! I am sure that most cellars are happy to welcome you, even without an appointment )
PREPARE THE SUITCASE …
… to bring all the bottles of wine that you will buy directly in each cellar!
Why do I know this is going to happen? Because wine is an emotional drink which brings us memories, both of the places we visited and the people we met, or even the occasion when it was tasted.
And I know – from my own experience – that during your trip, there will be at least a peaceful terrace, a warm sunset, an incredible view over the vineyard and a delicious wine that you will want to remember, when you’re back home. Memories in a shape of a bottle 😊
ONE EXTRA TIP…..
Or just contact me and I’ll be happy to be your Wine Trip Designer!