Tasting tips and winery visits

Starting and maintaining a wine collection is a lot of work. Also a lot of fun. Part of the process is evaluating  the wines you would like to add to your collection and periodically revisiting  the ones you already own. This can be accomplished by attending tastings with friends or on a more formal basis as a member of various food and wine clubs. Another way to keep up with the annual releases of your favorite wines is to visit the producers directly . This will allow you to see new wine releases , occasionally buy older wines directly from the producer and ask them questions about the suitability of their wines for aging. I would like to offer you some advice on making this process entertaining and valuable. I’m going to structure my advice around traveling in the Okanagan but the information translates well to other regions.

  • Start out on a positive note. Get plenty of rest the night before , eat a good breakfast and bring water with you when you start your day.
  • Brush your teeth in the morning but don’t use toothpaste and the wines right after will taste like your toothpaste.
  • Have a plan. Double check which wineries need/require appointments . IE Laughing Stock Winery in Naramata is appointment only. Nichol Vineyards doesn’t require appointments. Some wineries are very small and close 1 or 2 days a week to allow owners/staff to rest and do other things.
  • Have all your wineries you want to visit in your phone contacts should you need to call for directions that way you will use less data.
  • Bring a map. Most wine lovers only visit a winery 1 or 2 wines a year max. There is a good chance that you will get disoriented in unfamiliar territory at some point.
  • If you are flying you will need some way to transport your wine shippers can be purchased from wineries however I like to go in style so I bought a Wine Check.  See above. This fantastic case has wheels on it and a strap so you don’t need to carry it through the airport. You can put a 12 bottle cardboard shipper or a 12 bottle Styrofoam shipper for better thermal protection.   If you order one from the website  http://wineopulencecanada.com/ please let them know you heard about it from Spit Happens
  • If it’s warm make sure you keep the wine inside the car and the AC on as much as possible. The temperature in the trunk can get insanely hot . Your wine will be compromised before you even get home.
  • If you want to leave it in the hands of someone else  hire a guide and let someone else do the driving. You could even take an Okanagan tour with me ! I drive for Experience Wine Tours http://experiencewinetours.ca/ . We are very highly rated on Trip Advisor  and offer day long tours of many parts of the Okanagan with pick up and drop off at your Kelowna based hotel/motel/B&B plus a fantastic picnic lunch. If you are staying in the south then you need to check out Ron Rocher at Vine to Wine Tours http://vinetowinetours.ca/

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food.


David Lancelot