These Tips For Cutting Costs When Wine Tasting may help you spend less, taste more and even stock your cellar with a few extra bottles after your next wine tasting adventure. Try any of these strategies to see how they work for you.
1. Plan Your Route. An efficient route cuts down on the cost of ride-sharing or taxi services if you’re paying by the mile, or simply gas and time if you’re driving yourself or, better yet, using a designated driver. Planning should begin with identifying tasting destinations and arranging visits to minimize the total miles traveled. Also consider traffic patterns common at certain times of day. For example, south-bound traffic on Napa Valley’s Highway 29 and Silverado Trail is often congested from 3pm to 5pm on weekdays, as is west-bound Highway 12 between Napa and Sonoma. Allow for delays or plan your route to avoid them.
2. Budget Your Wine Purchases. There are many great wines included in tasting flights and we shouldn’t try to buy them all. Establish a budget for the day’s wine purchases up front.
3. Skip The Tour. OK, there are some great winery tours that are truly unique and worth the time and expense (in Napa Valley I recommend Jarvis, Berringer, Pride and Quixote, though there are certainly others worth a visit). But if the tour is simply a tip-toe through vineyards, fermentation tanks and barrel rooms and you are already familiar with how wine is produced, you may want to opt for just a tasting.
4. Waive The Tasting Fee. Most tasting rooms waive the tasting fee if you make a purchase. Some waive the fee with any purchase, others require a minimum purchase measured by a number of bottles or dollars spent. The minimum purchase may apply to waiving the fee for one visitor or for waiving both fees for a couple. If the requirements for waiving the fee are not printed on the tasting menu, ask the tasting room host up front so you can plan your purchases accordingly. Don’t feel obligated to buy wine you don’t like, but consider buying enough to waive the fee if you taste something you’d like to take home.
5. Buy A Case. If your budget allows, take advantage of volume discounts. Most tasting rooms offer discounts on full cases, sometimes there are discounts for half cases or a Rutherford Case (15 bottles). If you like several of the wines you tasted, ask if the discount can be applied to a mixed case. If you are tasting with others, buy a case together and split the cost among yourselves.
I hope these tips for cutting costs when wine tasting are helpful. Please add any comments or suggestions below.