Q: I’m going on holiday to a wine producing region this summer. Can I visit a few wineries?
A: If you have even a vague interest in wine, a winery tour can be great fun. Seeing the tanks and barrels, walking among the vines, and tasting the wine, is one of the best ways of learning. Many wineries are situated in beautiful countryside too, so it makes a great day out.
These days most wineries welcome visitors, but it is worth doing some research and planning ahead. Larger producers usually offer tours, tastings and even food. In some you will be expected to pay for all of these. You may need to book ahead especially with smaller producers, often the most interesting.
Remember that smaller wineries are busy working farms. While you may not be charged for your visit, protocol suggests that you buy a few bottles of your favourite wine to bring home with you, or enjoy on your holidays.
Leave at least an hour per visit and don’t try to do too much in one day. Make sure you have a designated driver who doesn’t join in the tasting part, or relax and hire a wine tour company. They often have great local knowledge and contacts in the wineries.