Did you know that there are over 4,700 wineries in California and over 11,000 in the United States? One of the best parts is within every region at every winery, you can have a different wine tasting experience. Your mood, your attitude about what you are looking for and the people you are with can all change that experience.
Visitors often ask: what is better, a sit-down tasting or a stand at the bar type of tasting? We asked our resident Sommelier and Owner, Mick Wilson to give us some insight.
I enjoy vineyard wine tasting. No that is an understatement; I absolutely love vineyard wine tasting. I enjoy it all: bellying up to a wine bar, sitting on a couch outside the winery, or enjoying a tour. The experience I love the most is the sit-down wine tasting experience, where I can taste high level wines with a trained server while I interact with my friends.
Throughout the years, my wife, Deanna, and I traveled a lot with Rosie and Gerry. Every time we visited another winery, we did a sit-down experience. I learned a lot about each region by asking questions. I grew closer to the wines simply by relaxing, tasting and learning about their philosophies and history. Conversely, we have had some fun experiences standing at the bar as well. We have had some darn good wines doing both!
I’ve noticed these differences between the sit-down experience and the stand-up one:
- You feel less rushed with a sit-down tasting: Usually you have around 75-90 minutes to take your time and enjoy the process. I like a timeframe, but a big one, where I don’t feel hurried.
- Interaction: Enjoying wine is all about community. I love the interaction and discussion in a wine tasting. You can get the synergy with both options, but I find it is so much easier than in a sit-down setting.
- Less people with the sit-down experience: I like tasting with up to six people in a small group (two or four is the best). This intimate environment is difficult standing at a bar. If you are feeling a more energetic vibe, I like tasting at a bar. I tend to prefer the smaller amount of people in a quitter setting.
- Engagement with the server: Every time I visit a winery, I want to learn something new. I love it when there is an knowledgeable server who can share with our group the backstory of the winery, the vineyard practices, how the wine is made, what restaurants to go to, and so on. A good server engages and answers questions, but they don’t hover. A good server discerns when to engage and when to let you enjoy your group alone. At a sit-down tasting, the server has more room to move about and visit another table, letting you enjoy your company whereas at the bar you may feel the need to constantly engage with the server and not so much with the person next to you.
- Experiencing the good stuff: Sit-down tastings showcase a winery’s best wines in their best stemware. There often are food pairings or a charcuterie board to use as a wine pairing experience. The server can answer any pairing questions you may have. For the most part, food is not an option at a stand-up bar.
- Reservations: Reservations are only accepted for the sit-down tastings. They work the same way as in a restaurant. I like knowing that there is a table or couch arrangement ready for my group at a particular time. When I arrive my spot is reserved, the glasses are buffed, the wine is ready, and the server is scheduled. Sweet. With a stand-up tasting, you do not have to arrive at a particular time, but you may have a wait.
- Value: I have learned that there is not a big difference from a sit-down tasting versus a stand-up but I do feel you get so much more for your money. You get the crystal stemware to taste out of, the reserve wines, the interaction with a trained server, a quieter room with a view, a place to unwind, and intimate time with your company.
Book Your Wine Tasting Experience
Wilson Creek is excited to be adding another tasting opportunity at our vineyard! Our new sit-down wine tasting experience in our Library Room takes place in an exclusive location on the second floor above the tasting room, tucked away behind our Wine Club Lounge. The view is beautiful! The balcony overlooks the Cabernet Vineyards and you truly feel like you are in a secluded location.
You can enjoy our high-end library wines, and our aged reserve wines that are only available in The Library. Come learn about what makes Temecula wines unique. Our winemaker (Gus), our Vineyard Manager (Greg), as well as myself (Mick), along with other owners and family members will even stop by and make some surprise visits.
To make your vineyard wine tasting reservations for the Library, visit: https://www.wilsoncreekwinery.com/winery/visit-us/