Napa Valley attracts wine lovers with its legendary tasting rooms, premium cabernet varieties, and Michelin-starred restaurants. Fortunately, even for those new to wine tasting, Napa is a friendly and welcoming destination. If the world of wine is new to you, here are some pointers for wine tasting on a budget that should put you at ease. The standard cost for the honor of wine tasting at an esteemed Napa estate is between $50 – $60, but that is typically waived when you buy a bottle of wine (or two…or twelve…) AND it becomes free in most cases, when you sign up for the wine club.
The following are some wine tasting in Napa tips to get you started while tasting whites and reds:
Tip #1: Enjoy weekday tasting
Are you looking to learn something valuable about wine tasting? There’s no better time for wine tasting than weekdays. During these less-trafficked periods, attendants at wine tasting rooms have ample time to focus on your party and share some of the longer stories behind the wines.
Tip #2: Embrace the picnic
Go all gingham and picnic. Call ahead and inquire if it’s permitted to carry your own food. (We have a picnic table just for this purpose, waiting for you, overlooking Chardonnay and Merlot vineyards.) After your tasting, buy a bottle and enjoy your leisurely meal seeing the seasons reflected in the vines.
Tip #3: Make a reservation
Most of the best wineries to tour in Napa are “appointment-only” for tastings. Usually a quick phone-call or online RSVP will do the trick. Simply conduct a quick Google search and call ahead to the cellars that interest you. Even those that don’t require a wine tasting RSVP still appreciate reservations, particularly with parties of 6 or more.
Tip #4: Consider sharing
While it might feel weird to request a single glass for you and a friend, it’s completely appropriate to share tastings. Just know that the standard tasting room pour is one ounce. The average tasting is 5 – 6 wines or roughly 1 wine glass per visit. When you’re purchasing the wine you want to take home with you after your tasting, you can always get an extra bottle of your favorite wine to enjoy with a picnic lunch in one of Napa Valley’s beautiful parks. Try a picnic or hike at: Bothe State Park, Oat Hill Mine Trail, Mount St. Helena, Table Rock Labyrinth, Westwood Hills Park or Skyline Park.
Tip #5: Consider visiting with a member
One of the “best wine tasting for those new to wine loving” tips is going with a member. Most of the best Napa vineyards to visit have wine clubs. Since the fun of the trip is discovering new wineries, consider balancing out tried-and-true wine clubs with the new places.
Tip #6: Engage your pourer
The other thing you need to do is engage with the tasting staff. If you’re an international traveler, come from across the country, or live in the state of California, winery employees are priceless resources for local intel. They might be able or willing to open special wines, too, if you express a strong interest.
Wine Tasting In Napa on a Budget – Ideas for Newbies to Wine
A well-planned wine adventure in Napa makes you feel like an in-the-know VIP as you taste one-of-a-kind local wines at the best Napa valley wine clubs. A spontaneous trip to Napa to taste our world-famous wines will leave you feeling mischievous and inspired. Either way, you can’t go wrong.