Two minute tasting Tips Podcast, By Kim Myers, Founder NW Wine Shuttle
Today we’re talking about winery visits vs tasting rooms. What are the reasons you should consider one over the other?
I’ll preface the podcast by saying, you should choose whichever you personally feel like. There is no judgement from me. I know there are many of you listening, who haven’t given tasting rooms a proper try. I hope to give you some confidence that there is magic in tasting rooms too. Perhaps after listening you’ll expand your horizons and change it up the next time you go wine tasting.
Let’s define these two terms so we are on the same page. The term Winery traditionally refers to where the wine is made. In Oregon, most wineries are located near the vineyard for which some or most of the grapes come from. At a winery there is almost always a tasting room or tasting area, but for the sake of this podcast, let’s keep it simple and say a wine tasting at a Winery is located at the Vineyard.
Whereas, a tasting room is usually in a town separate from the winery and vineyard (For winery lists use the following resources: Visit McMinnville, Visit Carlton, Travel Dundee). In the Willamette Valley, most tasting rooms are located in the three most popular wine towns in some of the popular wine towns of Dundee, Carlton and McMinnville. In fact you can find somewhere between 10-20 tasting rooms in a couple blocks.
I don’t think I need to describe a Winery too much. They usually have well manicured grounds, with rolling vineyard hills, some sort of view, and plenty of indoor and outdoor space. I almost always have customers coming to me for this type of experience. If you have never been to a Winery, it surely should be top of your travel, even bucket list.
I’m gonna focus on tasting rooms, today. Since I assume this is not the first thing we think of when going wine tasting. There is no doubt some amazing wine can be found in tasting rooms. In fact, many wineries establish tasting rooms in regions that are not where they are from to introduce their wine to new audiences. For example there are a number of Walla Walla wineries, such as Tertulia, Owen Roe, and Zerba Cellars that have tasting rooms in the Willamette Valley. It’s special because they offer wine varietals that many Willamette Valley wineries do not offer. And that many people desire, such as bold reds.
Other reasons to head into town for your wine tasting, my favorite would be eating out at the local restaurants. When you wine taste at the Winery, there is never enough time to stop at a restaurant. There is too much commuting time and tastings just take longer.
At a tasting room you can get more tastings in a shorter amount of time. They take walk-ins even during the days of Covid. This means you can be more spontaneous and not have to book reservations 3+ weeks in advance.
Tasting rooms also allow you to get a feel for the local community as you’ll see daily happenings, such local pedestrians, and small business bustle.
Shopping, window or otherwise, is a great way to travel from tasting room to tasting room. These stores cannot be replicated and often carry unique local goods.
So my challenge to you is, if you are visiting, spend a day visiting wineries and a day in town visiting tasting rooms. If you are local and no stranger to wine tasting. Perhaps visit one Winery and then spend the rest of your day in town visiting tasting rooms and eating the local cuisine.