wine tasting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11067/all en-US 7 No-Fuss Wine Destinations Anyone Can Visit (and Enjoy!) http://www.wisebread.com/7-no-fuss-wine-destinations-anyone-can-visit-and-enjoy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-no-fuss-wine-destinations-anyone-can-visit-and-enjoy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-153717773.jpg" alt="wine tasting" title="wine tasting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wine-tasting can be a reasonably frugal activity, or it can be a very expensive one. If you are staying in a very popular area with a developed high-end tourist industry, like Napa, where hotels and restaurants are expensive, then your costs can rapidly skyrocket. Lodging and food in Napa will burn a hole in your pocket as quickly as tasting fees at celebrity wineries (which can be as much as $60). Luckily there are many lesser-known wine-producing areas in and near the US that still offer inexpensive tastings, unpretentious lodgings, and reasonably-priced food, not to mention delicious wines. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Wine Tasting Basics</h2> <p>I prefer walk-in tasting rather than joining a wine tour, which allows you to explore little-known, smaller wineries that are off the beaten tour bus path. It also gives you the freedom to taste a few wines, take a break for a picnic or a walk, and taste a few more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheers-to-the-holidays-10-affordable-wines-perfect-for-the-season?ref=seealso">10 Affordable Wines for the Holidays</a>)</p> <p>A great way to save on food is to pack some good bread, salami, cheese, and pickles; the perfect counterpoint to a bottle of wine. Take the time to enjoy the area &mdash; I often visit just three wineries throughout the day and take time to hike and snap some photos. That way, I'm out just $15 to $30, but I've had a great day on vacation. And don't feel obliged to buy a bottle if you're trying to be frugal; just savor the experience.</p> <p>If you love wine tasting, here are a few lesser-known wine destinations that won't break the bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-vacations-the-entire-family-will-love?ref=seealso">Frugal Vacations for the Whole Family</a>)</p> <h2>Willamette Valley, Oregon</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/winetaste-willa-151564339-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Oregon's Willamette Valley is a large wine region stretching from Portland to Eugene. Although it is Oregon's largest wine-producing region, many wineries are still family-owned and run, and the Willamette Valley lacks (for the most part) the snobbishness and commerciality many have come to associate with Napa. In fact, it has been likened to Napa Valley 25 years ago. The Willamette Valley isn't known for its big reds &mdash; this cool-weather region focuses on pinot noir, pinot gris, and chardonnays, as well as sweeter whites, such as riesling and gewurztraminer, more than bold cabernets and zinfandels.</p> <p>Larger wineries tend to charge more for tastings ($10-$15, which is often waived if you buy a bottle), but the smaller wineries further off the freeway often charge a more frugal $5 or offer free tastings. There are hundreds of wineries, so make a plan using the <a href="http://willamettewines.com/wine-tasting-tips/">Willamette Valley Wineries</a> website. You can find reasonably priced accommodation in any of the cities along the wine trail, from Portland to Eugene. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways?ref=seealso">14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a>)</p> <h2>Sierra Foothills, California</h2> <p>Just a few hours' drive inland from Napa you'll find the <a href="http://www.discovercaliforniawines.com/discover-california/sierra-foothills/">Sierra Foothills wine country</a>, what some call &quot;one of California's best kept wine secrets.&quot; Less sophisticated restaurants (no <a href="http://www.frenchlaundry.com/">French Laundry</a> here) and more affordable lodging mean that if you're looking for a wine tasting experience in Northern California without the Napa prices, the Sierra Foothills are a good bet. Zinfandel, cabernet, and syrah are popular grapes grown here as well as many other varieties.</p> <p>The scenery is outstanding, and if you're headed for Yosemite National Park, tasting the wines in the nearby historic &quot;Gold Country&quot; (site of the Gold Rush) is a great complementary experience. Since this area is off the beaten path, you'll find a lot of cute B&amp;Bs and independent inns rather than chain hotels. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-travel-off-the-beaten-path?ref=seealso">Reasons to Travel Off the Beaten Path</a>)</p> <h2>San Luis Obispo County, California</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/winetaste-sloca-177418872-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Within the Central Coast wine-producing region of California, Santa Barbara may be the most well-known wine-tasting area (popularized in the movie Sideways), but just an hour north of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo county is a huge wine-producing area with more down-to-earth prices. A host of small, family-owned wineries line the coast from Arroyo Grande to Atascadero, and up to Paso Robles.</p> <p>San Luis Obispo county has a wide variety of climates with an accompanying wide variety of grapes. Paso Robles has the warmest temperatures on the Central Coast, which produces intense, award-winning cabernets, as well as zinfandels, syrahs, merlots, and other Rhone varieties. For example, the wildly popular and affordable $12 merlot by <a href="http://www.jlohr.com/">J. Lohr</a> is produced in Paso Robles (and the winery offers free tastings). Meanwhile, Arroyo Grande has cooler temperatures and produces delicate pinot noir (my favorite is <a href="http://www.laetitiawine.com/">Laetitia Winery</a> right off Hwy 101).</p> <p>The coastal scenery is one of this area's many draws. Pristine beaches, craggy cliffs, and sweet towns line the coast, perfectly complementing the region's delicious wines.</p> <h2>Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada</h2> <p>If you're visiting Niagara Falls, or if you live in New York or in Southern Ontario, the <a href="http://wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/">Niagara-on-the-Lake</a> wine region is a worthwhile trip. The village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, located where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, is known as one of the most picturesque towns in Ontario. There are a wide variety of wineries to visit in the vicinity, from larger corporate wineries to small family-run, organic and sustainable wineries. Often tasting is free, or the $5 to $10 fee is waived if you purchase a bottle &mdash; and you might want to do so if you find something you like, as many of these wines cannot be found in big box stores. Many tastings may include a tour of the winery as well.</p> <p>The soils in this area, formed by the the recession of Lake Ontario, offer a distinctive terroir you will not find anywhere else. Pinot noir, chardonnay, and cool-weather red blends are the local specialty, as well as cool-weather whites such as riesling and gewurztraminer. This is one of the best places to get ice wine and late-harvest wines.</p> <p>Niagara-on-the-Lake is a tourist destination, so there is a good selection of hotels at reasonable rates as well as cute little B&amp;Bs. If you are staying in nearby glitzy Niagara Falls, just a half-hour drive away, you'll find a wide variety of reasonably-priced hotels. If you don't want to cross the border into Canada, there is a small wine trail on the US side of the border as well, known as the <a href="http://www.niagarawinetrail.org/">Niagara Wine Trail USA</a>.</p> <h2>Finger Lakes, New York</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/winetaste-finlakes-93332898-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If you're a fan of riesling, you'll probably love a visit to the <a href="http://www.fingerlakeswinealliance.com/wineries.html">Finger Lakes wine country</a> in New York State. The cool lake country, which specializes in white wines, has been compared to the Rhine River Valley wine growing region of Germany. With over 100 wineries, it is one of the largest wine producing regions in the US outside of California. As a bonus, you can gaze out at the gorgeous Finger Lakes while you enjoy your wine.</p> <p>The Finger Lakes are a popular destination, so there is a range of accommodation ranging from frugal motels to upscale hotels. If you're looking to save on lodging while enjoying the great outdoors, there is also the option of camping in one of the area's many campgrounds.</p> <h2>The Western Slope, Colorado</h2> <p>Colorado isn't just a destination for skiing and hiking. If you're up for a change in pace, the <a href="http://www.gadling.com/2012/07/10/exploring-western-colorados-undiscovered-wine-region/">Western Slope</a> area of Colorado is an emerging wine region that has seen an explosion in wine production in the past few decades. This unstuffy, family-friendly wine region offers the highest altitudes of any wine region in the US. The area has stunning scenery, with views of vineyards set against majestic mountains, as well as fresh local produce and charming hotels. Find very affordable accommodation in the wine country towns of Grand Junction or Palisade. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-travel-accommodations?ref=seealso">How to Save on Travel Accommodations</a>)</p> <p>Tastings are affordable with many wineries offering tastings for $5 or less, and prices for bottles in this up-and-coming area are very reasonable, too. The high desert climate in this area is suitable for growing a variety of white grapes, but there are also large plantings of merlot, syrah, and pinot noir.</p> <h2>Hill Country, Texas</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/winetaste-hillcountry-89506674-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.texaswinetrail.com/">Hill Country</a> around Fredericksburg, Texas, is another emerging wine region that has been producing excellent wines in the last few years and doesn't yet have the high prices of more established wine regions like Napa. There is plenty of reasonably-priced accommodation and restaurants in the historic town of Fredericksburg and there are several wineries within a short drive of the city. On Saturdays there is also a free wine shuttle from downtown Fredericksburg that takes you to several wineries so you can imbibe without worrying about driving. Tastings cost between $5 and $15 and often include a free glass. Many wineries also have tasting rooms downtown.</p> <p>The landscape is reminiscent of Italy's vineyards and lends itself to Mediterranean varieties like syrah and tempranillo, but of course with distinctive Texas flair. If you've always wanted to enjoy BBQ with your wine tasting, this is the place.</p> <p>There are many other little-known wine regions around the country that the limited scope of this article cannot do justice to. With wine tasting becoming an increasingly popular pastime for many Americans, emerging wine regions abound and there are sure to be some near you. Going to your local wine producing area is one of the best ways to go wine tasting on a budget, with the added benefit of supporting local vintners.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite place to go wine tasting? How do you do it frugally?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-no-fuss-wine-destinations-anyone-can-visit-and-enjoy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers">15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-spring-break-destinations-that-wont-break-the-bank">7 Spring Break Destinations That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-hotel-stays-with-wyndhams-best-rate-guarantee">Get Free Hotel Stays with Wyndham&#039;s Best Rate Guarantee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30">The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-around-the-guidebook-techniques-for-researching-your-trip-without-spending-a-fortune">Getting Around the Guidebook: Techniques for Researching your Trip Without Spending a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel frugal travel wine wine tasting Mon, 09 Dec 2013 11:36:06 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1099006 at http://www.wisebread.com Wine Tastings: Finding Cheap Wine That You Like http://www.wisebread.com/getting-drunk-on-the-cheap-wine-tastings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/getting-drunk-on-the-cheap-wine-tastings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wine tasting2.jpg" alt="Wine Tasting" title="Have a pour" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="271" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Say you want to have yourself a drink&mdash;whether it's because <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2009/06/12/when-things-get-crazy-at-work/trackback/">work has been rough</a> or the kids have been especially bad&mdash;without spending a ton of money. You'll find tons of advice on how to save money on booze. From BYOBs to specific recommendations for wine.</p> <p>Let's say you've moved on from the days of buying dirt-cheap 30-packs of beer and want to be a little classy. So you decide to get some wine.</p> <p>Let's be honest: most of us browse for wine at a restaurant (or at the liquor store) and don't have a clue. Then there is the waiter, who is just trying to be helpful: <em>The 2001 Bordeaux is just fabulous!</em></p> <p>It may be fabulous but you just might not like it.</p> <p>There are also tons of books out there listing cheap wine that has already been through exhaustive testing and tasting from wine experts. Books like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0974014354?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=thwrsco-20&amp;linkCode=xm2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creativeASIN=0974014354"><em>The Wine Trials</em></a>, which a friend gave me and is very helpful but still doesn't do the trick.</p> <p>The problem with wine is that it's a very fickle beast.&nbsp;You may find a bottle of wine to be really fantastic and tasty (official wine-expert terms, fyi), while critics and experts think it's trash. Does it matter?&nbsp;Nope.<strong>*</strong> If you like it, that's all that counts&mdash;it'll still get you just as buzzed as the fancy, expensive stuff.</p> <p><strong>The only real way (and the best way) to find cheap wine that you know you'll like is to taste as many as you can without spending a lot of money.</strong> That's where wine tastings come into play.</p> <p>I&nbsp;just attended my first one a couple of weeks ago and here's how they all basically work:</p> <ul> <li>You get a glass and a menu</li> <li>A person who knows all the wineries' wines runs through the selection</li> <li>You're told to taste them from sweetest to not so sweet</li> <li>You get a certain number of picks for free (we got six)</li> <li>You get a pour and you smell the wine</li> <li>You take a sip</li> <li>You figure out if you like it or not</li> <li>You repeat</li> <li>You feel very happy</li> </ul> <p>Some people spit the wine out into a spittoon (do NOT&nbsp;mistake your glass for that!) but most people just drink it. I've only been to a few, but the whole thing is a lot of fun.</p> <p>I'm no expert, but here are my tips to getting the most out of the experience:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Take notes: </strong>they'll give you a pencil and that menu of options&mdash;rank the wines and put stars next to the ones you really like. Something so you'll remember because after six types of wines they'll start to look the same on paper.</li> <li><strong>Talk about it: </strong>you'll see your language start to get very weird when you're talking about how wines taste&mdash;that's OK. Sometimes a word someone else uses (&quot;Blustery&quot;) will make sense to you and describe the wine perfectly. Write it down.</li> <li><strong>Ask questions: </strong>the people working there love to talk about this stuff, so ask away.</li> <li><strong>Go to a bunch of wineries at a time: </strong>Hit up three or four wineries in a day and you'll have tasted 18 different types of wine&mdash;plenty of choices to find something you like and want to buy without busting the bank.</li> </ol> <p>Wine isn't for everyone&mdash;but that's mostly because people are intimidated by what they don't know. Wineries are the perfect antidote: you'll have a chance to taste a bunch of different wines and figure out what you like and don't like. Forget about what the experts say&mdash;follow your instincts and your taste buds.</p> <p>They'll lead you to the wines that taste good without breaking the bank.</p> <p>P.S. If you really want to learn more about wine, check out <a href="http://tv.winelibrary.com/">Wine Library TV</a>, run by the infamous Gary Vaynerchuk&mdash;he's all about bringing wine to the people.</p> <p><strong>* </strong>There's a raging debate about this in the wine community. Should you care?&nbsp;Not really.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-drunk-on-the-cheap-wine-tastings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-hidden-costs-of-drinking">The 9 Hidden Costs of Drinking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/argentine-wine-hack-make-bad-wine-better">Argentine Wine Hack: Make Bad Wine Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-theres-no-reason-not-to-buy-store-brand-baby-formula">Why there&#039;s no reason NOT to buy store brand baby formula.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink drinking wine wine tasting Thu, 02 Jul 2009 11:26:50 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 3342 at http://www.wisebread.com