Off-Season Reasons To Go Wine Tasting

by Tamra Bolton

 Richard Williams photographer

Recently, I was driving past a local winery and I noticed that they were pruning the grapevines, which made me start wondering what vineyards and wineries do during the “off season” to attract visitors.  After doing a little research, I found that the winter months are a great time to check out the vineyards and savor a little sipping time in a cozy spot.

When the weather’s a little chilly or even downright cold, a day trip to a winery is a good reason to brave the winter air.  Often wineries will offer special tastings in the winter months, some even featuring mulled wine and other cold season favorites.

Some wineries even offer cellar door weekends where you can learn about pruning, winemaking and even blend your own wines to take home.  Winter is a quieter time for the vineyards, so the chances that you will get to meet and spend time with the owners, winemakers and even the chefs is very good.  Most inns offer discounts during the slower winter months, so you can enjoy the same escape for less.  Sonoma and Napa are much more relaxed and accessible to visitors this time of year, making it a great choice for a weekend getaway.  Check out the list of winter tasting events and other activities in your area and make plans to spend a little sipping time in front of a blazing fireplace…or you could always fly to California.