Friday, January 14, 2011

WINTER WINELAND: Strategy Benefits

In the wine-making cellars of this hemisphere the Winter season is a busy time for the racking of new wines, sanitizing equipment and bottling finished products that represent the fruits of their labors.  Winery sales typically slow down as visitations are altered by poor weather and the general lack of wine driven holidays. It happens to be a great time of year for local wine events, like this weekends Winter Wineland.  Sonoma County's Russian River Wine Road, founded more than 30 years ago, continues to do a good job keeping local wineries on the itineraries of visitors and promoting standards for responsible hospitality.With 140 wineries from Cloverdale to Freestone participating in the January 15 & 16 annual migration, it benefits all participants to have a preplanned strategy to get the most out of their passports and maximize their enjoyment of this festive event.

  • Download the Google maps application or winery list by region(appellation) to minimalize travel time between venues and give you a layout of the landscape. Visit  My experience tells me that it usually gets more crowded and louder in the late afternoon, so there is less opportunity to speak with winemakers or knowledgeable staff.  Remember that late in the day, everyone wants to visit just one more winery!

  • Make plans to visit a few new wineries in the same area that are places members in your party have wanted to visit. Research these new venues, read reviews of their wines, and make a list of wines that you would like to try.

  • Get started early(this event starts at 11:00am) and drive towards your pre-designated, mid-day rest stop for a little nosh, a bite of lunch, or at the minimum, a bottle of water.  Be sure to take advantage of the winery prepared foods that complement their wines.

  • Don't be afraid of impulse buys on wines that speak to you.  It is nearly impossible to return later in the day once you get going on the wineroad. These are limited production, hand crafted wines, and when will you be here again?
  • Be sure to have a designated driver in your party.  Wineries can lose their license serving tasters that are intoxicated, and the potential for a DUI is too great a risk.  Know that local authorities have years of practice policing these popular events and will be looking for drivers under the influence.

  • Should you visit more than three(3) or four(4) wineries, be sure to use the available spit buckets.  You'll be able to enjoy the wines freely and limit your intake of alcohol.  You'll thank me in the morning! 
  •  It is physically impossible to do it all in just two(2) days.  So, be selective, concentrate on one or two areas, and make plans to return!

  • And, get your tickets for the regions Barrell Tasting Weekend, the second weekend in March.  You can pick-up where you left off!
As much as wine events such as these are personal explorations into finding new wines, the experience is so much richer if it is shared with other wine lovers who can provide their own insights into the ever evolving world of wine.  Whether along this wine road or others, a good, pre-planned  strategy provides visitors the benefits of an enriched tour with responsible sensibilities. 

No comments:

Post a Comment