Winter Wine Tours
Wine lovers know that the best time for touring wine country is during the colder months. While there is no doubt that enjoying a tour in glorious sunshine is a special experience, at Wine Compass we love winter wine tours and many of our guests agree. It’s amazing to try a deeper red wine in front of an open fireplace, and if that’s not reason enough, here are some of the other advantages to planning your tour for winter:
Enjoying the open fires and cosiness of winter cellar doors
It’s a beautiful thing to enjoy your tasting or lunch in front of an crackling open fire. Also, just being nicely rugged up inside and enjoying the view out over a winter winery landscape is an experience in itself.
Wineries are less busy
Many of the usual visitors to the wine regions will find excuses to stay home and big bus groups definitely prefer the warmer months. This means less crowded cellar doors, lots of spaces for lunch reservations, fewer distractions and a little bit more flexibility.
New release wines
Winter is often when winemakers will release their new vintages. Usually the reds from the previous vintage have been in barrel or bottle long enough that they’re ready for people to taste. In the case of some white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, this year’s vintage are already in bottle and the early releases start to pop out at this time of the year. As we’ve had some stellar vintages in 2015 and 2016, it’s a great chance to be the first to try some excellent new wines.
Cold weather may limit some activities, but certainly not a hearty lunch next to an open fire. Heading out for a long lunch with your family, friends or colleagues is a pleasant way to stay social when our instinct might be to hibernate. It’s also a chance to experience the more hearty seasonal menus, with a focus on comfort foods like slow-cooked meats and rich pastas.
Photo credit: Lisa Eats World
Deeper look behind the scenes
The bulk of the effort in making wine is done prior to the cold weather setting in. The work over winter, including blending and bottling, is much less demanding. This means a higher chance of a winemaker popping up on a cellar door to have a laugh and a chat with customers. You might even get the chance to have a look behind the scenes. In the past we have experienced barrel samplings and impromptu looks at where the magic happens – it’s all about being there on the day!