San Luis Obispo has been known as an eclectic hub of agriculture, tourism, and local hospitality for many years. One of the biggest combinations of these sectors is the wine tasting and touring industry, which provides a classic activity for all guests – local or touristic – (well, those over 21) who want to enjoy the beauty of the Edna Valley region, learn about some viticulture, and taste some of the delicious offerings of the local vineyards and producers. Booking a tour requires a bit of knowledge and planning, however, so we’re here to show you how it’s done!
1. Map your wineries and make reservations!
There are dozens of wineries in Edna Valley, and a typical stay is about an hour to enjoy a tasting flight and learn about a winery. There’s also nothing wrong with spending a full afternoon overlooking the vines and Central Coast scenery with a glass in hand, but the point is that you’re going to need to allot your time very specifically if you want to see multiple places. Be sure to check out each tasting room’s website to learn about what they offer, and choose one that suits you and your group!
Additionally, while the environment at wineries is laid back and the staff is always going to be accommodating of guests’ needs, they are greatly appreciative of you letting them know that you’re coming in advance. They can learn about your wine preferences, set up pre-fix menus, and will be a much happier than if you show up with a large group unannounced.
2. Hire a professional driver!
Wine tours are meant for relaxing, celebrating, or enjoying an afternoon out in the vineyards. There’s no reason to stress out over who has to be the designated driver, whose car to use, and especially when you have a large group, taking multiple cars and figuring out parking. A booked limousine or Mercedes Sprinter will allow you to ride in style, enjoy yourself in between wineries, and make sure everyone is safe and sound.
One thing to make sure is that when chartering a ride, the company is reputable and has the proper licensing and professional drivers. There are many cut rate services or ride-share apps that do not have quality control guarantees, and you don’t want to have to deal with that while sipping in style!
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3. Picnic in the vineyards!
Wine is at its very best when it can be paired with accompanying flavors to create a wonderful palatial experience. This can work with cheeses, chocolates, fruit, nuts, crackers, cured meats… the list really does go on! Bringing some of your favorite foods along is the best way to enhance the already outstanding wine tour itinerary that you have put together, and ensures that you won’t get the munchies afterwards!
If you would prefer for someone to prepare a delicious pairing for you instead, there are a plethora of options to suit your needs! Select wine tour companies offer to provide catered lunches of your choice, or tasting rooms usually come equipped with the requisite snacks to pair with their wines, and if you’re lucky, some even have a full restaurant or a food truck on-site. If you’ve never paired a grilled cheese with a good glass of wine, you don’t know what you’re missing out on!
4. Keep an open mind!
Wine tasting is for everyone and all occasions, so keep that in mind when planning your day! You can be celebrating a wedding anniversary with your partner, have a large group for a birthday party, or be rolling solo as a way to relax for an afternoon. There really is no way to go about it, especially if you consider how educational and enjoyable the experience will be for everyone who goes. The only thing you shouldn’t do is judge people for their knowledge of wine, taste preference, or reason for being out there. Finally, regardless of your level of wine-tasting expertise, the staff at each tasting room are trained to help you taste at the correct pace without being judgmental, so don’t stress if you are inexperienced—it’s all about having fun!
If you follow these four key points, your San Luis Obispo wine tour has a great chance of being successful. There’s so much to see and love in the Edna Valley, and we hope that we shed some light on the best way to enjoy it all!