Your Resource For
Wine Region Travel
Frequently Asked Questions About Wine, Wine Tasting,
and Travel in the Wine Regions

What's the best way to choose wine at a restaurant?

This seems to cause a lot of stress and anxiety. First, ask your companions if they have any wine preferences or dislikes. (Preferences could be reds versus whites, or Syrahs versus Zinfandels, or Napa/Carneros versus Russian River Chardonnays.) You can also ask them what they’re going to be ordering. Trying to match wines to the meals can be difficult, especially as you have more people, and more variance in the meals.

Second, ask the waiter, wine manager or sommelier for help with the wine list. Give them whatever information you’ve gathered from your table, and also any price constraints. These people want you to order the wine to enhance your dining experience, and they are there to help you. (Any wine is going to add to the bill, and they all have significant markup, so they’re not going to just point you towards the expensive wines.)

Third, when in doubt, go for the lighter bodied reds. A Sauvignon Blanc for white wine lovers would be a good way to start out a meal with a starter or salad, then you can move on to either a Pinot Noir or Merlot for the main course as they can usually be counted on to be a very food friendly wine, going with anything from steak to chicken to stronger fish dishes. These lighter bodied reds might overwhelm a more delicate fish dish; in that case you might think about just ordering a single glass of a white if someone would like that with their fish.

How many wineries should we plan to go to in one day?

How much time should you plan on for each winery?

Should we drive ourselves around the wine regions or rent a limo?

Are there any rules of etiquette that are unique to tasting rooms?

Is it OK to wear perfume or cologne when going wine tasting?

Do white wines come from white grapes, and red wine from red grapes? Is the juice a different color from each grape? What about Rosé?

Why should wine be decanted?

Why do you swirl the wine?

In a tasting room, white wines are usually tasted first, followed by the reds, and finally any dessert wines. Why this order?

What about other items in the tasting room, such as crackers, water and wine buckets? What are they for?

Should you taste all the wines being offered at a tasting room?

What is all the information on the label of the wine bottle?

How should open wine be stored?

How do I ship home the wine that I purchased while traveling?

What is a fortified wine? Where did they come from?