Wine Tasting Tips

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Here are some tasting tips that can help enhance your experience and also help ease your wallet (check back once in a while and see if I've added any new tips):

1. Check each winery's website to see if they give any tours (they are always fun and interesting) and coupons. Tours are great - you learn about the wines, sometimes you can have barrel samples, and it'll give you and your friends something to talk about. Plus, it's something to do as you sober up!

2. I recommend splitting a tasting so you can visit more wineries (unless, of course, you find coupons for 2-for-1 tastings - sometimes they are on the website or even receipts from other wineries - so check!). But think about it... each winery will give you about 6 tastes, and you want to go to as many wineries that you can right? Remember you are TASTING, not DRINKING.

3. ALWAYS pay the up for the reserve list. ALWAYS.

4. If you find out a winery is appointment only, call them in advance. These wineries just want avoid big crowds in their tasting rooms, and the call is well worth the personalized service that you receive! I ALWAYS try to attend the "appointment only" wineries, and they are some of my favorite ones, such as Briar Rose and Doffo in Temecula.

5. Find a grocery store to pick up sandwiches, hummus, cheese, pita bread/chips, cookies, chocolate, etc. That way, you can soak up the alcohol as you go along your path. Many of the wineries have beautiful, romantic picnic areas. After every two wineries, I usually rest for a while and fulfill my wine munchies.

6. When you taste, you either get poker chips or tickets so the wine pourer can keep track of how many you've tasted. WAIT for your host to ask for it, for sometimes they forget about it (hee hee).

7. Bring an ice chest to store food and wines. Heat will not only spoil your food, but your newly purchased wines, too!

8. Look for "PASSPORT" or "VISA" events. These events give you a trail to follow and allows you to taste several different wineries for a discounted price. I usually buy one ticket with Danny to split the tastings - that way we can hit up more wineries!

9. Check local newspapers, magazines, and hotels for winery coupons.

10. Build up a good rapport with the wine pourer and ask if he/she is tasting anything off of the given wine list. It's worth trying - I've ended up purchasing some bottles of these secrets!

11. $5 FOOT LONG Subway Spicy Italian Subs! When drinking wine, you crave salami and cheese, so this sandwich is economical and perfect! Purchase before tasting, but do NOT get it "toasted" just in case you won't be eating it for a while. Also, leave out the tomatoes, unless you like soggy sandwiches. You can snack on the winery's beautiful picnic grounds as needed.

12. TAKE NOTES. Ask for a wine list that you can write on. Write about the aromas, flavors, experience, what you liked, didn't like. You won't remember much otherwise. I am only able to write info for this blog by referring back to the notes I took at each winery. Otherwise, I'd only be able to give very general advice.


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