Wine 101

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The Wine Experience

Wine Country Travel Memories

At the end of the day, you will most likely remember the experience of visiting the tasting room-the ambiance of the winery, the professionalism of the staff, the view from the tasting room and the grounds themselves. It is weird how a smell will take you back to the winery you visited or a fun label will trigger a memory of the terrific meal you had at the winery. Notice that we didn't say that you would remember the taste of wines themselves. Yes, you will remember the wines you liked and disliked. However, the adjectives that characterize the taste of the wine will quickly fade (good reason to take notes even though it feels rather geeky) and be replaced by the overall experience you had that day.

WineTrail enthusiasts know that a good day tasting wine can be elevated to a great day by adhering to some basic steps. Here's our top ten things you can do to create great wine tasting memories:

1. Designate a driver or hire a limo - those little ounces add up; have a strategy that gets you and your loved ones home safely (see our list of Dos and Don'ts).

2. See 4 or 5 wineries at most - seeing 17 wineries in one day is not a good thing.

3. Clip articles - increasingly, Northwest magazines and newspapers publish articles about our wine industry. Copy it, clip it, rip it and set it aside until you get that weekend getaway opportunity. 4. Surf the net - bookmark this website for the most complete and up-to-date information about Washington wineries. 5. Call in advance - the winery might have published that they are open on Sundays in February but the "Closed" sign will drop your happiness scale big time when you pull up. 6. Get directions and take along a detailed map - knowing turn-by-turn directions in advance is half the battle. 7. Take some cash - many wineries have a small tasting fee and those $2 tasting fees add up. 8. Talk to others in the tasting room - get real-time intelligence from the folks who just came from the winery that's next on your list. 9. Expect the unexpected - they might have sold out of that just-released Sauvignon Blanc, or their tasting room hours have changed, or they now charge a $5 tasting fee, etc. 10. Pack a camera - picture-taking opportunities abound in wine country.

With apologies to David Letterman, these are our top ten things you can do to improve your wine tasting experience. You might have others. If so, let us know. Shoot us an email at

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