How to Enjoy a Wine Country Vacation

Wine industry insiders spill on tips for your next boozy vacation

Thinking about a trip to Wine Country? Forget what the tourist guides say and get the best memories — and best bottles — using these practical pointers from insiders. We asked a wine writer, wine region rep, and two estate professionals to help. 

Chris Taranto, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

It can get very hot during summer and early fall in some wine regions — and laid-back, neighborly regions like Paso Robles in north-central California don’t want anyone’s morning purchases to suffer in afternoon heat.

"As you are purchasing wines along the wine trail, don’t be shy about bringing your purchases from previously visited wineries into the next tasting room. The tasting room staff will not mind, and you will be assured that the wine you tasted will have the same quality when you open it at home," advises Taranto.

Out-of-date guidebook info and incomprehensible directions used to be part and parcel of a winetasting adventure, but not anymore. Just like most industries, the wine world now relies on Web tools, including interactive trip planners that create custom itineraries for consumers.

" is our brand-new tool that helps plot a course through Paso Robles wine country. Choose specific wineries, or search wineries based on varietals, or sort by amenities such as picnic grounds or dog friendliness," Taranto says.

As a denizen of one of the great Wild West wine regions, Taranto believes in practical provisioning: "Plan your midday meal ahead of time. Whether it’s a picnic lunch or a restaurant along the wine trail that requires reservations, you’ll be happy you did, since wine country can be rural, with limited options."