Hello Readers! Working in the wine industry is an incredibly rewarding career path. I get to see happy people enjoying the universal language that is wine, sharing stories with one another, smiling, laughing, creating memories with friends and family. People from all over the country come out to Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino (American “Wine Country” technically resides in more than just these three counties, though I would be willing to say that most people believe that if you aren’t in Napa, you aren’t in Wine Country) to experience what I experience daily. Because the California wine regions are so popular, I thought I would share the top 5 things you should know before you make your way out here.
Wine Country is kinda like Las Vegas: What I mean by this is that the majority of the fun you’ll have in Wine Country is reserved for people who are over 21. Tasting experiences, wineries, even restaurants out here are really centered around adults having fun. As such, you may run into wineries where children are not allowed, particularly in Napa. There are always exceptions to this rule and parents traveling with children can find many hospitable wineries which will happily accept them with their children, like Ferrari-Carano in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma; Francis Ford Coppola in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma; or Hall Winery in St. Helena, Napa. Even then, children might only be allowed in one particular area, or discouraged from going on tours. The moral here: treat wineries like bars. You wouldn’t bring your infant into a bar (or, at least, I hope you wouldn’t), right?
Pick your season carefully: Fall has been widely regarded to bring the absolute most amazing colors, smells, and sights to Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma. Late Summer, when harvest is going on, is often one of the best times to be out in Wine Country, especially if you don’t mind crowds. Spring and Early Summer are optimal if you don’t mind fewer natural sights but would still like to be in bustling wineries. But to come out to Wine Country and really experience amazing, personalized, one-on-one treatment, you have to come out in Winter. True, you won’t see nearly as lovely sights as you would in any other season. The vines are going through dormancy and nothing is growing on them. Still, Winter is undeniably the best time to come out if you really want to learn and enjoy yourself at a leisurely pace. Plus, the winery staff will be ecstatic to see you (and oftentimes this season is a great time to come out and score some great deals).
Enjoying your time here? Show it! Wine Country is filled with people having wonderful experiences and wineries often depend on user feedback to give visitors the best possible experience. Trouble is, if someone isn’t enjoying a winery they may chalk it up to one poor member of the team; and if someone is having a blast, they may not feel it worth mentioning for any reason. Here’s the truth: We want your feedback. Find a manager and tell them how much fun you had with the guy at the bar. Tell them there’s no soap in the ladies’ room. Tell them that this is the last time you’ll come because you don’t like being talked down to. Our best measure for improvement is your reviews. Be vocal, help us out. And if you’re really enjoying your time with your bartender, tip. It is never expected, but it is always appreciated.