It’s easy to get carried away with the thought of touring wineries and sipping delectable wines when making travel plans to Wine Country. There are many additional activities in Wine Country in addition to the amazing experience of wine tasting. When it comes to experiencing wine country, there is something for everyone to do, from seeing breweries and learning about various grape varieties to taking cooking classes but also going on olive oil-tasting trips.
Here are our top 10 ideas for anyone seeking experiences other than the typical wine sampling.
1. Tour a Local Winery
A winery tour is a great way to learn about the craft of winemaking and the history behind each winery. During the tour, you can expect to see the fermentation equipment, tanks, barrels, and other tools used for creating different wines. Depending on the winery, you can also learn about the grape varieties used in various blends.
At the end of the tour, you can sample some of the wines produced by the winery. This is a great opportunity to learn about the wines’ different flavors and aromas and ask questions about the winemaking process. You may even be able to purchase a bottle or two to take home with you!
2. Explore a Vineyard
Exploring a vineyard is one of the best ways to appreciate Wine Country. Many vineyards offer tours that will take you through the vineyard and teach you about the process that goes into growing grapes. Go on a self-guided tour in Wine Country and look out for the different types of grapes, or find a guided tour that teaches you about the various winemaking techniques used by the vineyard. Either way, it’s a great way to discover more about wine and its production.
After completing your tour, you can sample some of the wines produced by the vineyard. This is a great way to learn more about the different wines’ flavors and aromas and find out which ones you like best. You can also purchase bottles of wine from Wine Country to take home with you, so you can enjoy the vineyard experience even after you leave.
3. Take a Cheese-Making Course
Cheese-making is an often-overlooked art form that goes hand in hand with winemaking. Not only is cheese-making a delicious skill to learn, but it can also be used as an accompaniment to your wine tasting. Many Wine Country destinations offer cheese-making classes that teach you how to make cheese from scratch and also provide samples of their homemade creations.
In addition to learning the basics of cheese-making, these classes can also allow you to explore the different types of cheese available. From soft, creamy Brie to sharp, crumbly Cheddar, you’ll be able to sample a variety of cheeses and learn how to make them yourself. You’ll also learn about the different types of milk used to make cheese, the aging process, and the techniques used to create unique flavors.
4. Enjoy a Picnic in the Vineyard
Take your time and experience a vineyard in a relaxing, leisurely manner. Pack a picnic basket with some delicious food and drinks, and enjoy eating under the sun in the middle of a vineyard. Take in the beautiful scenery and also let the tranquility surround you. There’s no better way to spend an afternoon among the vines.
Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning views of the vineyard. You can also stroll through the vineyard and learn more about the different types of grapes and the winemaking process. After your picnic, you can purchase a bottle of wine from the vineyard to take home and enjoy.
5. Visit a Brewery
Beer lovers need not miss out on their favorite hobby while in wine country. While most people don’t think of visiting a brewery when touring around wine regions near Northern California, plenty of craft breweries dot the countryside. Check if there are breweries close by, and also take a guided tour or sample some of their brews – it’s an experience you won’t forget!
Breweries in wine country often offer unique flavors and styles of beer that you won’t find anywhere else. Many of these breweries use local ingredients to create their brews, giving them a unique flavor you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, you can often find a brewery that offers food pairings with their beers, so you can enjoy a full meal while sampling some of the best craft beers in the area.
6. Learn About Different Types of Grapes
For many, grapes remain an enigma – they hold the secret recipe to producing such wonderful wines. However, their origin and purpose still elude us. To truly appreciate the art behind winemaking, it’s important to understand the different types of grapes used in the process. Take a viticulture class or attend a seminar to understand this fascinating subject better.
Grapes come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, and each type of grape has its unique flavor profile. Some of the most popular types of grapes used in winemaking include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and also Pinot Noir. Each of these grapes has distinct characteristics. Understanding their differences can help you choose the right type of grape for your wine.
Additionally, learning about the different growing regions and climates that grapes thrive in can help you make the best selection for your wine.
7. Go on a Grape-Picking Adventure
This may come as a surprise, but many vineyards welcome visitors to help them pick grapes during harvest season. Ditch your regular sightseeing activities for a day, and take part in this unique experience as you pick grapes and learn about what goes into making each bottle of wine. It’s definitely an activity that you won’t find anywhere else! It is more exciting than hot balloon rides.
You’ll get to explore the vineyard and learn about the different types of grapes that are grown there. You’ll also get to meet the people who work in the vineyard and learn about their daily lives. Plus, you’ll get to sample some of the wines made from the grapes you picked. It’s a great way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process and taste the local culture.
8. Attend a Cooking Class Featuring Local Produce
One of the greatest pleasures when visiting wine country is savoring all the delicious local produce. To get the most out of your culinary experience, sign up for a cooking class and learn how to create delectable dishes using local ingredients. You’re sure to find some new recipes that you’ll love.
9. Take an Olive Oil Tasting Tour
Olive oil is an important component of most Mediterranean dishes. Still, it is also an integral part of many wine-producing regions. Take an olive oil tasting tour and explore some of the most esteemed producers in the region – learn about their processes, and savor some unforgettable samples.
10. Go on an Artisanal Chocolate Tour
Chocolate is one of our favorite treats, and there’s no better place to indulge than in Wine Country! Go on an artisanal chocolate tour and discover some incredible local producers as you learn about their production methods and indulge in some delicious samples. It’s sure to be a sweet experience!