Tips For Wine Tasting In Napa Valley

Whether it is your first time to Napa Valley or your latest, whether you are new to wine or an aficionado, here are our tips for wine tasting in Napa Valley. These top tips will keep you right and help you make the most of the experience:

Use a wine tasting tour. A tour will have an itinerary designed by experts.

A tour guide will have a tried and tested itinerary. It’ll include a variety of vineyards to give you the best experience of the area. You’ll also benefit from their experience and relationships with the vineyards, too. Plus using a tour will ultimately save you time as you’ll not have to book each visit independently.

wine bottle with a glass of wine and grapes on a table in front of a vineyard
#NapaValley wines are world class.

It also means you have a designated driver, so you can relax.

If you plan to consume the wine you are tasting, then a tour means you won’t have to worry about one of your party being the driver. Everyone can enjoy wine tasting.

Don’t rush. See about 3 wineries in a day.

Whether you are visiting wineries independently or as part of a tour, aim to see 3 or 4 in a day. This means you won’t be rushing and you’ll have ample time at each one, as well as travel time between each one.

an Italian style winery in the background with a wine vineyard in the foreground
Don’t rush. Savour your time in #NapaValley

Keep hydrated and eat well before you go and during the day.

If you are consuming wine throughout the day, it pays to stay well hydrated, so drink water before and throughout the day. Eat well before you start and build in time for a meal during the day, also.

Stop en-route and enjoy the views.

Traveling through the countryside to Napa Valley or throughout the Valley is one of the fabulous things about going wine tasting here. The views are beautiful. Make sure you take time to enjoy them as you travel.

golden sunset overlooking a napa vineyard during wine harvest
Savour the views on your trip to #NapaValley

Now for ‘how’ to taste the wine:

Swirl – when you swirl the wine in your glass, you are aerating it. The oxygen this adds will open up the aromas and the flavours.

Smell – appreciate the aromas of the wine. Each wine has a different one. In time, you’ll recognise the characteristics and connections between aroma and taste.

Look – take a look at the wine in your glass. Look at the colours, and how it looks in the light.

Sip – to really appreciate the taste, hold it in your mouth for a little while before swallowing.

Spit – or you may prefer to spit, particularly if you are doing a lot of wine tasting.

Stem – remember to hold the glass by the stem. Holding it any other way can affect the temperature of the wine, and that in turn affects the taste.

Visit Napa Valley Wine Country

At Gray Line San Francisco, we offer a Sonoma and Napa Valley Wine Country Tour which includes wine tasting at 3 vineyards, as well as time for lunch, shopping and to soak up the views of the countryside. Instead of us telling you more about it, here’s what our guests Ana and Colin thought. They took the tour with us October 2016:

“The Sonoma and Napa Valley Tour exceeded all our expectations! My husband and I both agree it is one of the most fun tours we’ve ever taken with Gray Line within the US.We got a chance to walk through the vineyards and see all of the grapes while our tour guide at each winery taught us about the process of making the wines. Not only were all the wineries fantastic, every minute we spent on the bus, our tour guide was either making us laugh, or sharing all of his knowledge about San Francisco and the wineries with us, he really made the whole experience unforgettable! We are looking forward to visiting San Francisco again and will recommend this tour to everyone we know. Thank you so much for making our anniversary trip such a special one.”

To find out more hop over to our website at or our Facebook and Twitter pages.  You can also find more reviews of our tours over on TripAdvisor.

We’d love to welcome you to this most beautiful part of the USA.