10 Unique Wine Tasting Experiences Slide Show
January 11, 2011
California: Bicycle Tours
Spend a day cycling through the flat roads of the California’s Carneros region, known for its superior pinot noir and chardonnay wines, with Getaway Adventure's Carneros Sip ‘n Cycle. Stop for a spectacular picnic lunch amongst the vines then with a couple more vineyard stops, and a chance to ride through a vineyard, before ending the day with a glass of bubbly at a winery modeled after a French chateau.
$149 for five-hour tour. Bike and helmet rental, water, and lunch all included.
California: Ski in/Ski out Wine Tasting
If you’re a first tracks kind of person, the Last Tracks Wine Tasting Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe is a great chance of pace. It takes place at 4:30 p.m. at the mid-mountain Snowflake Lodge, after a day on the slopes. Taste a variety of wines from producers like Beringer and Franciscan while enjoying appetizers and the view of the lake, then ski down en masse just before sunset.
$29 per person, includes a ski lift ticket valid from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
California: Train Tours
For an unforgettable experience of Napa, board the Napa Valley Wine Train for their Ambassador Winery Tour. After a short tutorial from the wine educator, lunch in the elegant Petite Gourmet dining car. Once you’re finished, your server will escort you to the train’s 1815 Pullman car for coffee and dessert. Then transfer from train to coach for tours and tastings of Raymond Vineyards and ZD Vineyards, concluding the day with a spread of cheeses, fruits and nuts overlooking the valley before heading back home.
$189 per person.
California: Segway Tours
For a more technologically-advanced way of visiting the vineyards of Sonoma County, choose Segway of Healdsburg’s Russian River Vineyards Deluxe tour. After being outfitted with your own Segway Personal Transporter, you will ride through vineyards like Rodney Strong and “J”, before stopping for a tasting. After working up an appetite riding through the vines, you will break for a catered lunch or snack before heading back, travelling through the vines at Foppiano Vineyards, the area’s oldest working winery.
Starts at $99 per person.
France: Marathon in Bordeaux
Started in 1984, the Marathon du Medoc is a classic long-distance race, not unlike the New York City Marathon, but with some wine thrown in — all runners are given a bottle of Medoc red wine to take home. The race, which takes place in September, follows a route through the Bordeaux region of France, marathon weekend events include visiting the chateaux, lots of wine tastings at area vineyards, pasta parties, and a grand ball with fireworks.
Registration fees not yet released as of 1/11.
France: Wine Tasting and Champagne Cruise
For the wine-lover who has never seen Paris — or wants to see it again — O-Chateau’s Le Petit Big Day tasting experience is a unique way to explore French wines. The afternoon begins with a wine crash course in O-Chateau’s private cellars near the Louvre, followed by a tasting of three wines. Then you'll board a river boat, where an English-speaking sommelier will guide you through a private tasting of three champagnes as you sail past sights like Le Pont Neuf and Notre Dame.
€70 Euros per person.
Italy: Walking Tours
For those who would rather earn their wine tasting and dinner by embarking on 3-4 hour hikes through the Italian Alps, or along the rocky Amalfi coast, rather than sitting trapped on a bus, La Dolce Vita Wine Tours leads a variety of wine-tasting treks throughout Italy and Spain. Mornings start with a hike to the next destination, followed by a leisurely lunch and wine tasting, before finishing the day with a delicious dinner featuring local specialties.
Rates begin around $3,000 for six nights, all inclusive.
Oregon: Equestrian Tours
In the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Jake and Don Price of Equestrian Wine Tours offer guided wine tasting tours astride their well-trained Tennessee Walking Horses. Once outfitted on your horse, you will travel through the beautiful Oregon countryside and see different working vineyards up close before tasting some of Oregon’s finest pinot noirs.
Two-hour guided tours start at $200 per person.
Michigan: Sleigh Ride Wine Tasting
For a more rustic setting, Thunder Bay Resort’s Elk Viewing Gourmet Dinner is something not to miss. The experience begins with a sleigh ride driven by teams of massive Belgian Draft and Percheron horses to your gourmet five-course dinner set in a wood cabin along the banks of the Thunder Bay River. There, guests will taste five locally-made wines, including a dry Silver City White and a semi-sweet cherry wine. After dinner, the sleigh returns for a trip into the forests to look for elk.
$86 per person.
Texas: Vintage VW Bug Tours
In the heart of Texas Hill Country, Austin is most commonly associated with good food, not good wine. The best way to discover this emerging wine region? Board a vintage 1971 VW Bus to travel along the Texas Wine Trail with Vintage Tours of Texas. The tour includes stops at three of the 25 wineries, and your choice of box lunch, to be enjoyed al fresco at one of the wineries on your trip.
$130 for the tour alone; $150 for the tour and a full lunch.