Prepare a list of strong questions. Wine conversations can be endless, so make sure you’re steering the discussion with questions more insightful than “What is the blend of this wine?” Engaging queries may get you invited back.
- Take notes. You think you won’t forget that incredible 1988 that Jean-Claude pulled out of the cellar for you, but 20 tastes of Gevrey later and you will. I take all my notes on my phone, sometimes voice recorded, and usually take a snapshot of the label. Ask whoever is guiding you which wines they enjoy drinking other than their own. It engages them on a level beyond the immediate interaction and could yield unexpected bonus visits if they name somebody local.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Wineries often have uneven flooring; I learnt the hard way that heels are a health hazard.
- Bring both a wrap/jacket and a sunhat. Vineyards are sunny and often windy; cellars and barrel rooms are frigid.