|Tasting Room: Hidden Gems Sampler|
Touring your local wine country and paying a $5 tasting fee here and there to check out a particular winery's portfolio of wines is the ideal way to "speed date" before buying a bottle and committing to a real date, as it were, or joining a wine club and settling down into the marriage. But what if you don't live anywhere near wine country? What if it's simply unrealistic for you to get in your car and drive to wineries to sample?
One solution is to find your nearest boutique wine shop, wine tasting room, or fancy-pants restaurant offering an impressive wine selection. Wine shops frequently hold tastings and wine tasting rooms often offer happy hour specials. Why not try out a flight of wines before buying a bottle?
If you live in one of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia, you could also try out Tasting Room.
Tasting Room bills itself as the place to "try wine before you buy"; customers can, for a price, taste every bottle of wine they sell. According to the Tasting Room website, "The days of buying a bottle of wine and hoping you like it are over. Our unique wine samplers let you taste premium wines before you invest in the full bottle. And at a fraction of the cost of a regular tasting room. Just pick the wine sampler you want to taste, choose your favorites, and buy full-size bottles of wines you love. No risk. Just reward."
Indeed, say the folks at Tasting Room, why bother with Napa or Sonoma, where you'll pay exorbitant prices for tastings, when you can just order a sampler online and taste in the privacy of your own home? "Instead of travelling to a Napa Valley tasting room and paying $20 to taste a flight of wines, we bring the California wine tasting experience to you. Plus, you can pick the wines you taste."
|CA Wine Country: nothing beats the real thing.|
However, if it's within the realm of possibility to sample wines at an actual winery, I highly recommend taking that route as well. Most wineries, even those in Napa and Sonoma, do not charge $20 for tastings. (More like $5-10) And you're much more likely to find an expert on hand to discuss wines with you. Tasting wine alone, in private, doesn't sound nearly as fun or informative as getting out there and meeting people who know what they're talking about.