Here are some insider secrets that will help you prepare for a weekend in wine country.

  1. Pack a lunch. Restaurants in wine country are often few and far between. The ones you find will be overpriced. Plus, you won’t get through many tasting rooms on an empty stomach. The max is around 8, and that’s pushing it… trust me. The bar crackers only go so far.
  2. Bring a date who is allergic to alcohol. They will come to be known as your “designated driver,” but let them discover this destiny along the way. Staggering sideways toward the car and dropping your keys as you fiddle with the lock is a good way to encourage them to discover their destiny. Then be effusively grateful. If needed, convince them to come with promises of all the great restaurants in wine country. Dates with sulfite allergies work too, but make sure they haven’t brought a secret stash of whiskey. Search them if necessary.
  3. Make evening plans. Tasting rooms usually close at 5. That’s usually a few hours before your buzz peaks. Do the math. I suggest over-priced dining, drinking of bottles you purchased during the day, fire of some kind, hot tubs, movies, skinny-dipping and dessert. I suggest doing these first one at a time, then all at once.
  4. Use Vegas money rules. At first you’ll just pay for a tasting fee. Then another. Then you’ll taste an amazing wine and you’ll have to buy a bottle. Then you’ll go to a winery where everything tastes good and you’ll say “One of each!” At the next one you’ll reason, with what seems to be utterly sensible logic, that you drink wine all year so you might as well get the buying part out of the way when you can taste what you’re buying, and you’ll come home with a year’s supply of pink champagne. Whatever you do to protect your money from yourself in Vegas, duplicate it in wine country.

Read Part 2 now: At The Bar.