Looking to go on a vacation or possibly just a weekend getaway? Maybe a day trip is all you have time for? No matter what your budget, time allowance, or favorite drink, a winery tour will live up to anyone’s taste.
There are countless numbers of tours available to the discerning wine critic, and even to those who would simply like to experience wine for the first time. Tours vary by state, region, and country. Breaking up the available tour options into size seems most prudent. There are weekly wine tours that encompass specific countries, weekend getaway tours that will take you through various wineries within a small region, and day trips designed for those who can either drive or bus to local winery for a visit.
We shall stroll through a French vacation tour, a California weekend getaway, and a New York day trip in order to familiarize you with a sampling of what there is to offer in the wine world.
A tour of French wine country is a dream for many avid wine enthusiasts, and will usually require a stay of at least one week. France offers two distinct regions from which to explore.
Making the decision to visit France is one thing, but there is more to it than that. You will also need to choose a region within said country from which to enjoy your vacation. In France, tours can be arranged in what is often referred to as the “ABC” region. This includes the areas of Alsace, Burgundy, and Champagne. This region offers some of the finest wines available worldwide, as well as breathtaking scenery, ancient ruins, and local charm. Visiting these places is recommended to be done via car or bicycle, as you will be traveling mainly on Wine Road, home to some of the finest wineries in the country. Savor the rows of grape vines as you stroll through a piece of history. All of the wineries along this route offer private tours and tastings, as well as retail sales. The many local inns will also be happy to accommodate travelers.
Reservations for this type of excursion can be made through any major travel agency, with scheduled arrival and departure times made in advance at various inns and hotels along your stay. Be sure that you allow yourself plenty of time to visit each winery, and also that your dates are flexible should you decide to stay in one place a bit longer.
The Bordeaux region of France is another place that wine aficionados have always traveled. Since this region can be reached within three hours of Paris, it can make for an exciting, all inclusive vacation. You can discover the most celebrated wineries in France in places like Medoc and Saint Emilion. Gourmet restaurants with wine cellars that have no rivals can be found plentiful in the Bordeaux region, as well as some of the finest chateaus. This holiday is perfect for wining, dining, and romancing.
Prices for these wine vacations will vary on itinerary, but most start around two thousand dollars. Take with your travel agent. Personalized trips can be designed to accommodate most budgets. The best time to visit these areas of France is in the spring, which is when you will get a taste of the new wine from the last harvest, or the fall, during harvesting time itself.
Getaway in California
Even if you do not have a week to spend, you can have a memorable experience at a California winery in just a few days. Visiting the Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley is an easy commute from San Francisco, which lies thirty miles south of the vineyards. Napa Valley is home to over three hundred wineries, and Sonoma is broken into five wine producing regions that boast over two hundred wineries. Expansing this vast region in just a few days would be impossible, but you could choose to visit a few in each area, or just concentrate on either Napa or Sonoma. Many tour companies provide day trips that will accommodate those who would like to visit both areas. They range from four to eight hour treks, and range from private SUV driven vehicles, to a more semi-public format in a small bus. The peek time to visit California’s wine country is from May through October, but you need to account for the tourist season. These areas can become quite populated, making your experience less enjoyable. Many enjoy the off season, as it affords visitors a different experience. Often, new wines are released at this time, as well as library and barrel tastings. If you don’t want to chance the colder season, try a trip during the week. Costs will vary depending on the time of year. Scheduled weekend tours can range upwards of five hundred dollars; with private day trips to each area costing fifty dollars per hour and up.
Day Trip in New York
Planning a day trip in one New York’s wine country can be quite rewarding. Many companies offer tours in the Finger Lakes region. Some people may want to also visit the Niagara Falls wine region, with most of the vineyards falling in Canada. Day tours can be customized to accommodate one couple or large groups, with many companies offering public tours at a more discounted rate. Many of these wineries offer special incentives at various times of the year. After the holiday season, many of the wines are offered at discounted rates. There are also Valentine ’s Day packages that offer as much chocolate as they do wine. The Spring Fling is another package that celebrates the coming of spring with tropical dishes and wine pairings. The best time to visit the vineyards of western or central New York is during the spring and summer months, unless you are prepared to bundle up! Prices range from twenty to forty dollars per person, depending on the length of the tour and what is included.
No matter where you go, you are sure to find a tour that is not only right for you, but also fun and educational.