Remember the scorchers of summers past? The endless heat, dry winds, and unseasonably warm Indian summer nights? This fall, things are looking a bit different, and with the welcome change in weather, will come ample opportunities for more enjoyable fall outings to your favorite wineries.
Get out some scratch paper, and start planning your next tour to Oregon's wine country. Right now! With more than 350 artisan wineries on the map, of which 200 or so are open for daily tastings, there is no shortage of locales for your next winery visit.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your outing.
* Plan your trip in advance. Try using WineNav, the official touring guide from OregonWines.com, as you can look up wineries, locate them on a map, and plan an itinerary accordingly. Try to plan for a maximum of four or five wineries for your trip.
* Call ahead to any wineries you plan on visiting, to ensure they will be open on the day you stop in, and not closed for a private wedding or party. This can help you keep your tour moving along smoothly.
* Establish a designated driver for your tour. Knowing you won't be left with the keys and behind the wheel will help you relax and enjoy your afternoon. More importantly, it will ensure that all of your fellow wine lovers are in safe hands as you hit the road. Better yet, hire a limo or, if you can muster 10-15 dedicated wine lovers, hire a private coach. There are multiple touring companies throughout the state that cater to private winery tours, and all of these are valid options for relinquishing you of the responsibility to get from point A to point B safely.
* Pack at least one or two water bottles per member of your party. While on the road, you'll quickly realize that the last few sips of reserve Pinot Noir, while a fantastic experience, nevertheless dried out your palate to no end. While touring wine country, you need to remain hydrated. Otherwise, at the end of the day, you'll end up feeling - if not looking - like a prune. Keep the water flowing, and whenever you have a chance, enjoy a few palate-cleansing ounces to refresh yourself.
* Also, consider packing some food - a picnic basket, even - as many Oregon wineries welcome travelers with grassy lawns or picnic tables. In any case, some solid foods, such as aged cheeses, deli meats, or simple sandwiches, can all help you keep some food in your stomach, and help prevent overconsumption of wines on your journey.
We hope these tips help you make the most of your next tour to Oregon's fantastic wine country. For more information, or to plan your next trip, stop in and visit WineNav: