There are over a thousand wineries between Napa and Sonoma Counties, spread out into a number of valleys and further separated into appellations. The wineries themselves range from a trailer to a small country style house to an edifice with 25 foot marble pillars at the entrance. Each winery will offer its own variety of wines and many will offer unique experiences such as barrel tastings, cave tours, food and wine pairings, blending classes, sensory tastings along with sit down and bar tastings. Appointments need to be made especially for 6 or more guests. Tasting fees are normal and vary based on the experience you choose. Our staff can certainly help in your planning. Check out our Daily Wine Tour Options for more information.
Wine Tasting Technique, the 4 S’s
See – Look Closely
Hold your glass to a light and peer through it. Try placing a white surface behind it.
What is its color? For White Wine; white to yellow to bronze. Red Wine; ruby to burgundy to purple.
What is its clarity? clear to opaque. An older wine can be opaque from the residual fruit(sediment). Age can also lighten the color.
Sniff the Wine – The two positions for the wine glass are:
1. Nose at the bottom of the rim to experience the fruit. Powerful? Exotic? Oaky?
2. Nose at the top of the rim to examine the alcohol. Harsh? Playful? Do this selectively and carefully, it can damage the “nose”.
Swirl it – Place the base of the glass on a flat surface. Put your fingers on the top the base, the stem in between. With a round motion swirl the wine. The ‘esters’ in the wine become excited and open up the wine. Sniff again.
Sip – Take a big sip. Leave it there on your tongue. Play with it. Carefully breathe some air. Spicy? Sweet? Fruity? Dry? Astringent? Aggressive? The finish. Does it linger? Swishing will intensify the flavor.
- Book your limo tour in advance. Secure your car.
- Don’t wear white if you can help it.
- Don’t wear strong perfume. The nose…
- Think about booking appointments for special tastings.
- Couples can share a flight. Share two.
- Hydrate. Drink lots of water during the day.
- Nibble frequently. Have lunch.
- Search Napa Coupons. Search Sonoma coupons.
- Start early, avoid late crowds, rest before dinner.
- Those sips add up. Dump it? Try to pace yourself.
- You can hold your glass by either the stem or bowl.