Wine Country Tips:
Things you should know
Leave Early from San Francisco
For a wine country tour whether by tour group or by personal car, it's best to commit to it and leave the city as early as possible. If you arrive at 10:30am at your first destination that is best. For one, your taste buds are more ripe and ready for great wine and secondly you may really start getting into the groove of visiting different wineries right at the end. We think you should get into that groove at 1pm and not 4pm when the wineries start to close.
Be Open to try new wines/wineries
There is a gem out there waiting for you. Maybe it's a wine or a winery. Don't worry whether you prefer to go to certain brand name wineries or a certain region over another. Something in either Napa or Sonoma will surprise you.
Have a Picnic Lunch
How often do you have the opportunity to have a picnic lunch? Sure, there are lots of good places to eat in Sonoma or Napa, but the best part of going to the Wine Country is to live it up. Grab a blanket or a table and be willing to sit outside and eat somewhere (even on the grass).
Ask your Tour Guide Lots of Questions
If you go on a California Wine Country Tour be sure to ask lots of questions about wine in general. Wine and how it is made is facinating. The appreciation for this food is insurmountable around the world. Get the most out of your wine country visit and learn as much as you can about wine and the wine country.
Have a plan
The best thing about a tour to the wine country is you don't have to think much. It just happens and all you have to do is taste good wine. However, if you're planning on renting a car and going on your own, we recommend getting a good wine country map and talking to your hotel concierge about a wine country plan and route. We would even recommend having them suggest places to eat, where to get a picnic lunch and good driving directions in case of traffic. Again, if you're going on a wine country tour, this will all be taken care of for you.
Reservations at wineries (tasting and winery tours)
Many wineries open their doors between 10am to 4:30pm. However, some require reservations before visiting. Most of them require reservations because of local permit laws. It's always best to call ahead. Wineries update their schedules very frequently so do call if you want to take a winery tour at a specific winery.
Napa Valley Driving Tip
Travel the Silverado Trail as much as possible to avoid Highway 29's traffic. Traffic on Highway 29 can get really bad. Try to avoid Main Street in St Helena during May through October.