Guest Blog Post
Justin Falco, Certified Sommelier
August is a fantastic time to head into wine country no matter what region you’re closest to! The rapidly growing grapes are on their way to peak ripeness, filling with sugar, acid, minerals and water that will soon be harvested and turned into glorious wine. The vineyards are most lush during this time of year. So don’t miss out on booking a summer wine country tour today.
This month we’re excited to highlight four distinct wine growing regions and their AVA’s (American Viticulture Areas), which you’ll love to tour in August:
Napa Valley ~ Calistoga, St. Helena, Oakville/Rutherford, Yountville, Napa
In Napa Valley you will find many grape varietals being grown and used in wine making. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon continue to be highly popular varietals here, but don’t limit your palate in this extraordinary wine region. The number of beautiful wineries and breathtaking views will seem endless!
Rocky Mountains ~ Colorado
Two AVA’s exist here, Grand Valley in Mesa County (near the city of Grand Junction) and West Elks in Delta County (near the quaint town of Paonia). The most popular varietals in this scenic region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Riesling, Viogner and Chardonnay. Here you will find 100+ welcoming wineries to choose from.
Great Lakes ~ 8 US States: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and the province of Ontario in Canada
There is an amazing amount of winemaking history in this region, and today it’s gaining more and more attention. This area is the home of America’s oldest wine industry dating back to the 1600s. Very interesting native grapes can be found including Catawba, Delaware, Norton and Muscadine. More popular varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Syrah. Ontario has a history of German immigrants bringing the art of making ice wine to Canada. The ideal growing conditions here offer visitors delicious ice wines to taste. Ice wine is made from grapes left on the vines to freeze in the winter.
Upstate New York ~ Finger Lakes Wine Trails
In this region you will find 4 Wine Trails boasting many wineries in each. Canandaigua Wine Trail, Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Seneca Lake Wine Trail, and Keuka Wine Trail. In the Canandaigua Wine Trail, you’ll find the New York Wine and Culinary Center that has gained much popularity, offering visitors the chance to taste wines from many Finger Lakes wineries in one place.
The best wine tasting tips I’ve offered friends and family for years are pretty basic.
- Don’t overdo it. Only plan to visit 3-5 wineries per day. Take your time, enjoy the wine.
- If your group has a small range of wines they like, familiarize yourself with which wines are made at the wineries you choose. With that said, the adventure of trying new varietals is a lot of fun.
- Wine regions have a combination of small production, family run wineries along with the larger producers. Some are by “appointment only” and some require reservations for groups. It’s best to plan ahead.
- “Tula, eat something!” Don’t spend your day wine tasting with no food and water. There are top-notch restaurants to explore in wine country and many wineries offer food themselves.
- Don’t be afraid to spit. It may seem uncivilized but this is a very acceptable practice when tasting. You get to enjoy the wine without the side effects of alcohol. Just ask for a spit bucket.
- Consider hiring chauffeured transportation like a town car or sedan service, a stretch limo, or a party bus for larger groups – so you and your friends can have a great time without worrying about directions and a designated driver. Limo and private car service prices can be surprisingly affordable. Ground transportation companies often offer special wine tour deals, so finding an affordable ride to a winery is easy.
I wish you wonderful winery adventures and discoveries this August. Gather your friends, family and coworkers, and plan the most comfortable, luxurious and safe way I know how to explore wine country, with us at www.Limos.com.