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Planning Group Visits to Wineries

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Whether it’s in Burgundy or Bucks County, Chester County or Chianti, getting together a group of friends to visit wineries is a great way to enjoy wine, camaraderie and regional culture.  The more than 150 wineries of PA Wine Land have their doors open and are waiting for you.

To get the maximum enjoyment out of group visits wherever you go, here are some ways to make the experience a memorable one:

  1. Call ahead.  If you have eight or more people, make arrangements with the winery (or wineries) well in advance.  That will allow them time to prepare and to have proper staffing to make your visit the most enjoyable.
  2. Make it special.  When you schedule, check options with the winery.  What wines will you taste?  Are there special cuvees or older library selections?  Do they offer barrel tastings and winery or vineyard tours?  Can they arrange a picnic or special luncheon?
  3. Take notes.  Too often details you want to remember about the bottles are lost during the group conversation, and you wake up the next day asking, “What was the name of that wine?”  Taking notes can also help you concentrate and get more out of the experience.
  4. Buy now.  If you find wines you really like, it’s better to buy on the spot rather than trying to come back later – when that bottle may be sold out.  Inquire if they have volume discounts on cases or mixed cases.  If you can’t take it with you, see what shipping options are available.
  5. Less is more.  Take time to smell the bouquets.  There is a temptation if you have a designated driver or rented limo to over-indulge, especially if you are visiting multiple wineries.  A good rule-of-thumb is to sip first, then drink more of what you enjoy most.
  6. Preserve the memories.  If you had a great time, share photos online by social media – or jointly put together a trip scrapbook.  Get on the winery’s mailing list.  An especially fun thing to do is to get the group back together a few months later – perhaps in the middle of winter – for a dinner at someone’s house, re-tasting those special wines you bought home.

To find out more about individual wineries and the 12 wine trails located throughout Pennsylvania, log onto www.PAWineLand.com.  The site also has maps and contact information for the more than 150 wineries spread across the state as well as wine tips and wine information.  And if you’re on the road, find nearby wineries by using the mobile website at m.pennsylvaniawine.com.