Top 5 Tips To Savor Visits To The Santa Clara County Wineries
No trip to the Santa Clara County is complete without taking the customary tour of the wineries — especially if you happen to belong to the so-called sip-and-swirl traveler’s club. Yes, some of the established wineries like Almaden and Mirassou may have gone because of suburban development and the rise of tech parks. But other wineries still remain, thriving along with the growth of newer vineyards.
From the Fortino Winery in South West Gilroy to Sarah’s Vineyard, which has won awards for its Pinot Noir, you can’t pass up a tour of the Santa Clara County wineries. But to make sure that you don’t just sip, swirl, and well, pass out, here are top five tips to help you savor this bacchanalian trip.
1. Get a designated driver or get a car service.
There are more than enough wineries located in the Santa Clara Valley to influence your senses. While you’re not going to be drinking bottle after bottle in each winery but merely tasting or sampling their varieties, every sip will have an effect, especially if your goal is to tour all of the wineries in Santa Clara.
So a designated driver or a car service will make sure you don’t have to worry about getting behind the wheel — after numerous wine tastings.
2. Arrange accommodations.
Traveling through the “wine valley” will be better when you don’t have to hurry after each stop. The whole point, after all, of a wine tasting is to savor each glass. Wineries in the Santa Clara Valley produce wide-ranging varietals, from Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel to Colombard and Verdejo. You will miss out on every note, every bouquet, and every hint of unique flavor by gulping and dashing out.
Arranging accommodations at charming and reputable hotels like the Best Western Plus Forest Park Inn will allow you to pace every visit to the wineries.
3. Be bold and try a variety you have not had before.
Step outside of your wine comfort zone. Instead of your usual Pinot Noir, go for a Petite Sirah. Instead of the familiar Sauvignon Blanc, try a Gewürztraminer. You are at a wine tasting tour — so taste!
4. Get a box for the wines you buy.
You will, at some point, be tempted to buy a bottle or two from some of the wineries. You don’t want those bottles to jostle around the trunk of your car. So get a box; alternately, have your bottles shipped so you don’t have to worry about the wines baking in in the car, under hot weather.
5. Get to the wineries early.
The wine county will get crowded, especially during the weekends and when you’ve signed up for the Santa Clara Valley Passport Weekend, which is your all-access pass to the Santa Clara Valley Spring event. When you’re early, you’ll be able to enjoy the company of the people behind the bar and even have time to ask about the varieties they grow.