Updated: Mar 14
Planning any kind of vacation takes time and research. Here we'll discuss a few key items to keep in mind when planning a wine trip to make the most out of your next wine-focused vacation.
1) Define Your Goals
For any kind of trip, you need to define your goals. Are there particular places you’re trying to visit? Foods you want to sample?
Planning a wine trip is no different. It’s a good call to think about why you’re taking the trip in the first place and identify any particular regions you want to explore or wines you want to try.
“I want to drink wine in California” is very different from “I want to learn how wine is made” versus “I love big, buttery Chardonnays, and I specifically want to try one at Ferrari-Carano.”
Someone interested in the history of winemaking might choose different tours from someone who just wants to relax. If you have a good understanding of what you want to accomplish, you can start planning activities that best suit your needs.
2) Decide on a Budget
Wine trips and wine tours can easily get very expensive. At any level, it’s important to factor in the costs of lodging, transportation, and any tours you’re taking when you start planning a wine trip. We have found that sites like Viator are a great resource for finding tours that meet your goals and stay within your budget.
You will also want to think about any wine accessories or souvenirs you might want and budget those in, as well.
From our experience, these costs can quickly add up. We usually plan to make a rough budget for all of our trip’s expenses, especially if we might want to buy some wine to take home.
I also highly recommend taking the time to research how much shipping costs to your state, as laws differ by region. If you don’t want to ship wine, you can also look into how much wine you can take in your suitcase and what your bag will cost if it goes over an airline’s weight limit.
If you’re planning to pack wine, bringing bubble wrap or liquor cannisters is also a good call. This can prevent bottles from breaking on the trip home. Another option is to buy a suitcase specifically designed to store and transport wine bottles.
Do whatever makes the most sense for your budget, and fingers crossed for no broken bottles!
3) Know Your Limits
If you’re visiting three or four (or more) wineries in a day, it can be easy to accidentally imbibe a little too much. When planning your wine trip, think carefully about your own limits and how much wine you can realistically expect to drink without going overboard.
Another thing to think about is that specific types of wine have different alcohol contents. A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon will have a higher content and might affect you differently from a light rosé.
If people in your group will be driving to and from wineries, make sure that they also know how many drinks they can have while staying below the legal limit. For some people, that number is zero!
Depending on your situation, it can be best to choose a designated driver for each day of the trip so that no one has to worry about it.
Sometimes, people choose to hire a driver or opt for a tour that includes transportation. I also try to keep water and snacks on hand during any trip with alcohol, just in case.
While you will sometimes get small bites that come with a wine tasting, that is not guaranteed.
Overall, there are many different aspects that go into planning a wine trip. We hope this article gives you a brief look at a couple of different key items to keep in mind and common mistakes to avoid when planning your next wine-themed vacation.