Not everyone loves crowds. Those who do are ultra social beings and it’s great for them. (Keep it up!) It works, because the vast majority of people love being social and in crowds.
But, there are others who prefer more intimate settings, so a list of ways to avoid wine country crowds needs its place, too.
Most of us who are in the wine business and are a bit more seasoned than just starting out, tend to know this list. But, most people don’t, because it takes a while to come to this point, too.
1 — Think Tuesday through Thursday.
- Weekends are definitely out.
- So are holidays.
- Mondays – could – be part of a holiday; otherwise it would be okay, too.
- Fridays – could – also either be part of a holiday, or someone’s long weekend.
2 — Check first to see if a wine event is going on; if so, pick another date.
- More education and intimate conversations will be all yours.
3 — Find wineries that are “by appointment only.”
- You’ll have very special attention.
- But… be prepared to buy more than a bottle of wine.
- You may even have nibbles to go with your food, so consider the labor and food costs.
- I’d be prepared to buy a case of wine, at least.
4 — Travel to places less traveled, including other countries on planet earth.
- There are 130 official American Viticultural Areas in California – alone, with examples like the following:
- The Foothills
- If you love cowboys, go east into the foothills.
- If you’re enamored with the Gold Rush, the foothills also applies.
- The Coast
- Santa Cruz Monterey, Carmel, and Santa Barbara are gorgeous.
- The Foothills
- I chose to include a picture showing vineyards in Portugal (Carmim Winery in Monsaraz for the landscape, and Adega de Borba for the wine cellar, and Adega de Redondo for the wine cellar).
- Have you ever considered the Wines of Portugal?
- You wouldn’t be disappointed.
- You wouldn’t find crowds, except maybe in the Douro.
5 — Avoid the summer and harvest seasons.
- From June through October, these are the busiest times of the year.
6 — Avoid the most popular winery, as hard as that may be to do.
- You’re going to be one in a crowd of plenty.
- These places do, though, offer small classes.
- But, avoid group tours, because you’re back where you started.
7 — Make your journey about education, so seek out those who have an educational aspect to them. (Napa Valley is well established. Many of these programs have developed over time. You won’t avoid the traffic, but here’s how to get around the crowds).
- St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery – Aromatherapy with a Corkscrew
- Robert Mondavi’s Food & Wine Experiences
- Hess Collection’s art museum
- Take a vineyard tour
8 — Give yourself a garden or outdoor art tour, instead of a wine tour.
- The crowds will be in the tasting rooms, not in the gardens or exploring sculpture.
- Clos Pegas, for instance, has great sculpture.
9 — Picnics
- Buy a bottle of the winery’s wine – first.
- Head to the winery’s deck or picnic grounds.
- Enjoy the view and quiet company of friends.
10 — Rent a place on the grounds.
- Before 10:00 a.m., you’ll be all by yourself on the property, except for staff.
- By 5:00 p.m., you’ll again be pretty much alone.