When you go, I would suggest planning ahead of time for what kind of trip you'd like. For example - is this a learning trip? Do you want to understand how wine is made and learn about the different scents and tastes of different wines? Is this a trip devoted to specific wineries? Are there some that are on a "these are my favorites" list that you MUST visit? Are you a fan of only white wines or only red wines? Or...is this a casual wine tasting? For me, I'm all about the casual so I chose to look for good deals on tastings and spend a little extra money on travel so I can enjoy the wine and not be concerned about the ability to drive later. :)
Since the trip can be pricey, I look for free tastings (very hard to come by) which are listed below. I've also included a few that aren't free but pretty close.
- Downtown Napa wine tasting - "almost free" just buy a Taste Napa Downtown card for $20, it allows you to taste at any of the ten downtown Napa tasting rooms for only 10 cents a glass
- Rombauer Vineyards - it's free but I know a few people that have visited and had a very difficult time leaving without at least a bottle...PS try to visit on a weekday since weekends can be very busy
- V. Sattui - the tasting is free but it can be very busy...go figure!
- Sequoia Grove - now...even though you didn't technically visit the site, I will pass on the knowledge that if you mention you saw a "Two For One Tasting" offer on winecountry.com - you can enjoy a bit of a nice discount
- Robert Mondavi - along the same lines as above, here's a coupon for two for one
- Hess Collection - another two for one!
- Chandon - one last two for one, just click here
Another good tip is if you choose to go to a winery that does cost a bit more - buy one glass and share. :)