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Traveling with Kids

As a general rule wineries are not set up to handle little tykes—after all this is a “no whining zone.” The stacked bottles of wine and Riedel Crystal are easy targets for a wandering 3-year old. Few wineries offer a play area as part of the tasting room or a playground for kids to enjoy. When they do, it is often more of a distraction to allow parents to sip and swirl and experience the wine. However, if you do have your children along and insist on checking out a winery or two, here are a few tips to make it family friendly in wine country.

First, make it informational and choose wineries that feature a wine tour. Treat it like a field trip and discover how wine is made. At harvest time it is not unusual to see kids stomping grapes (talk about cheap labor). The smiles on their faces are testimony to their glee.

Try and combine wine tasting with family activities such as picnicking at the winery, checking out a hands-on museum, or going on a nature hike. Involve the kids in the planning. Sure, you’re picking up the tab but if you give in to their needs it’s easier for them to accommodate you.

Don’t attempt more than a couple wineries in a day. Dragging kids to more than one or two wineries is a surefire way to squash a good day.

Finally, if your focus really is wine tasting throughout the day, consider splitting up. Dad takes the kids the first day and enjoys kid-friendly activities while mom checks out three or four must-see wineries. Perhaps on day two, it’s dad’s turn to sample his favorite wineries while mom has the kids. Divide and conquer!

There’s plenty to do in wine country for families. However, to make it truly memorable you need to plan ahead and create a win-win situation for both kids and parents.


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