Wine Touring 102

[trip style = wine tasting]

The sand and rocks that make up the soil in BC's only desert offer the most optimal conditions for growing grapes. Within this plot of land, there's a micro area called The Golden Mile, known worldwide for its production of fine wine. {More on this region Thursday}.

I spent the latter part of last week partaking in one of my favourite trip styles, wine tasting, exploring the Okanagan's Golden Mile. Only in wine country for 2.5 days, I had to take advantage of my surroundings quickly and efficiently, yet slowly and savoringly to enjoy the fruits of the winemakers' labour! On the second day of zipping from one winery to another as if in a pinball machine, I was reminded of some basic wine touring 101 lessons I learned and wrote about last year, as well as some new insights I picked up for the next time you partake in trip style = wine tasting!

Wine Touring 102

  • See Wine Tasting 101: basic guidelines and etiquette for tasting anywhere from Napa to the Naramata Bench.
  • Map out where you want to taste in advance based on how much time you have, the geography of the area, what wines you already love and where other wineries suggest you sip and swirl.
  • Don't try to do too many wineries at once. You won't have the same interest and attention span at the end of the day to properly appreciate the wines you're tasting.
  • Plan time for lunch, whether you eat at a winery's restaurant or pack a picnic in a cooler you leave in the car.
  • Bring lots of water and crackers with you to re-hydrate and ensure something is in your stomach at all times.
  • If it's a hot summer day, seek solace in the tasting rooms from 12 - 3pm and relax the rest of the day.
  • When tasting wines from white to red, always have at least 3 sips of each wine you taste. The first cleanses the palate, the second offers a first glimpse of the taste, and the third is the full effect.
  • Talk to wine tasting hosts as if they are your friends, most are good with people and know a lot about wine.
  • Take notes. What wines did you love, how is the wine best enjoyed, what wine making philosophy did you love, etc.
  • Make note of what wines you can buy at wine shops versus only at the winery.
  • Doing sequential tastings at multiple wineries tunes your taste buds to what you like and dislike.
  • If there's a tasting fee, most wineries will wave or refund it with a minimum wine purchase.
  • Hire a shuttle, limo or car service if you're planning on seeing more than a few wineries and not planning on using the spittoon.

Did you know? The bulk of the flavour in wine comes from the inside the grape, just under the skin.

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