If you don’t consider yourself a wine connoisseur, wine terminology and tasting might feel a little bit intimidating. Going on a wine tour is a great way to learn about wine from the people who make it. Before you embark on a tour, you’ll want to plan ahead so that you make the most of your experience. Here are some tips that we think will help make your tour a great one!

Ask questions

Don’t shy away from asking the winemakers questions, it is their passion after all! A guided tour or tasting is the perfect opportunity to learn more about how wine is grown, produced and even how to taste it properly.  While you might not be able to pick up on certain flavors or tasting notes, you will know whether or not you enjoy its taste. If you find a variety you like, the owners and producers would be pleased to share their knowledge, and appreciate your interest in their passion. 

Take notes

While you’re sampling different varieties of wine, take notes on which ones you do and do not care for. You’ll likely be sampling several different types, so it can be easy to forget which one you enjoyed. You can also take photos of the labels of the wines that you like, which can be especially helpful if they include tasting notes. Learning and remembering what flavors and styles of wine you enjoy will help you when selecting wines to order or purchase in the future. 

Take your time

If you’re planning to visit multiple wineries in one day, make sure you plan for time in between them. Not only will it allow time for your palate to reset, but wine tasting should be an activity where you take your time and enjoy the experience, rather than rushing from location to location. Take breaks between tastings by talking to the winemakers, having lunch at a local café (the vineyard workers will make great recommendations!) or to do a little shopping in a local town. If you can, take multiple days and visit a few each day so that you can really appreciate and enjoy each winery.

Book transportation

If your tour does not include transportation, it is well worth it to hire a driver. Wine tastings can be a great time, but chances are you might take one too many sips of your favorite, making it unsafe for you to get behind the wheel. There are many options in the region for transportation to and from the different wineries, so be sure to plan ahead and enjoy our wine region responsibly.

Avoid strong scents and flavors

Before embarking on your tour, you’ll want to take it easy on the perfumes and strong flavored foods so that they don’t interfere with your taste and smell. Inhaling strongly scented perfumes while you sip wine can have an effect on how the wine tastes. If you chew gum or smoke cigarettes beforehand, these flavors will also linger on your palate and make the wine taste slightly different than it might with a clean palate. Avoid these things so that you don’t ruin your experience, not only for you, but for the others in the room.

For more information about planning a wine tour in Northern Michigan, check out these resources to make your experience one to remember: https://petoskey.wine/plan-your-tour/.