Although not usually expected, in most wineries and tasting rooms, tips are always appreciated. Especially if you've had a great experience, tasted more wines than you expected, or are with a large group, tipping your pouring spout is generally considered a charming gesture. I took a consensus between the tasters and the employees of the tasting rooms in different regions, and the simple answer is that it is not necessary. Most tasting rooms charge a fee so you can taste guilt-free.
But advice is always appreciated, especially when you've received excellent service. So, if you have spectacular service, if you are with a large group, or if you are served additional wine (beyond the fixed list), consider tipping. Whether or not to tip your wine tasting host is probably the most frequently asked question we receive. The quick answer is that it's up to you.
Wine tasting rooms aren't bars and hosts' compensation doesn't depend on tips. But, if the host has served special wines that weren't part of the tasting, you might want to consider. The image of the Wine Country visitor confidently approaching the tasting bar, with the swirl down technique, is iconic. If you pay full price for the tasting and don't buy wine, you don't expect a tip, but it's sure to be appreciated.
And some wineries have picnic areas where you can bring your own food while enjoying a bottle of wine. When large group wine tastings resume without restrictions, be sure to check with a winery for transportation regulations prior to your visit, as special arrangements may be needed for large vehicles, such as limousines and tour buses. Francis Winery has self-guided tours of its vineyards along a marked route, while Loxton Winery in Glen Ellen will show its crushing platform during harvest. Feel free to check the Sonoma Valley Visitors Office website to take a look at your options ahead of time, then check the individual winery websites to get an idea of the experience.
It's generally acceptable to revisit a wine after the experience, but don't abuse your privilege to retry one or two, especially if you don't plan to make a purchase. Tasting fees are the standard operating procedure at most wineries, although some still offer free tastings or tastings refunded with the purchase of wine. While there are quite a few wineries that accept walk-in tours, making an appointment in advance is a great way to ensure you get the time and attention you deserve. Booking appointments is a great way to ensure that, no matter how busy a winery is, they have time dedicated entirely to you.
More importantly, know that you don't have to drink all the wine that is served for you; it's OK to throw away the wine that doesn't end or that you don't like. And again, if you loved your waiter and joined the wine club, you're likely to see him again, so leaving them a good tip will mean better service in the future for you. Larger wineries tend to offer different tasting packages at different price levels, while smaller wineries offer a choice of between three and six wines to choose from. It means learning about what happens in the winery and the incredible alchemical effect of turning grape juice into wine.
When preparing for wine tasting day, avoid using cologne, perfume, or scented lotions. Also, be sure to check out the FAQs on our website to determine the best winery or tasting room for the experience you want to have, whether you want to find a kid-friendly winery or enjoy a picnic while you're there. .