Wine Tasting Tours on the Cheap

in Trip Planning, Wine Tours

It’s Friday, and so many workers around the world are starting to watch the clock and anticipate that first drop of weekend wine. You could have another get together with the girls, the same old bottle of sav blanc, and trashy reality TV, or you could do something different this weekend and go wine tasting. Wine tasting sounds like a posh activity for the well-to-do, and it can be, but it’s also an excellent way for frugal travelers to pass the time.

If you want to do things on the cheap, forget about private tours. Sure you might enjoy the intimacy and a ride in a luxury vehicle, but these tours can cost hundreds for every person in the party. Look for small wine tour operators that drive larger buses. With more people on board, these guides can keep the costs down.

If you want to cut costs even further, consider asking a non-drinking friend or one of your pals’ teenage kids to play chauffeur. Chip in for their gas and a little extra for their trouble, and it’ll cost you next to nothing. You’ll miss out on the expert knowledge of a qualified guide, but you’ll have the flexibility of planning your own itinerary. Most wineries have comprehensive websites which display the details on their range of wines and cellar door hours so it’s easy to plan your own route.

Wine tasting costs around the world vary significantly. In Australia, you’ll rarely pay to taste wine. In New Zealand, a small tasting fee of a few dollars is common, but you will usually recoup this if you buy a bottle or two. In America, small wineries will often offer free tastings while larger wineries tend to charge between $5 and $50 to taste their wines. Others also have a cap on the amount you can taste for free. In Europe many wineries charge between five and ten euros to taste, while others offer complementary tasting sessions.

All that drinking is fun, but it’ll go to your head if you forget to eat. Many wineries have restaurants attached to their cellar doors, but they can be pricy. Taking a picnic lunch is a more affordable option. The world’s wineries have some beautiful outdoor areas just waiting for you to relax and refuel amongst the vines.

Touring a vineyard and attending a wine tasting can be a fun, educational part of a custom culinary tour on a budget.

Touring a vineyard and attending a wine tasting can be a fun, educational part of a custom culinary tour on a budget.

While wine tasting is affordable and sometimes even free, you shouldn’t think of it as a cheap way to get liquored up. Wine makers put their heart and soul into their vintages after all. If you enjoy the wine you taste, make sure you take home a bottle or two. It’s a great souvenir of your wine tasting trip, and an excellent way to make your vacation in the vineyards last a little longer.

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