Wine Tasting Open. Winemaker is in! Barrel Tasting Today

Barrel Tasting is the perfect time to buy wine futures along the Wine Road. Are you ready?

If you want to make the most out of barrel tasting, have a game plan of where you want to go, how and when to avoid crowds, and how to find the wines you’ll like to buy as futures.

The Wine Road provides wonderful tools to help plan your wine tasting adventures. In my last blog, I provided pointers on how to make the tasting experience as enjoyable as possible.

Key Points to Remember

Let’s review some key important points:

1) Barrel Tasting is two weekends
March 3 – 5 & 10 – 12, 2017
11:00 am – 4:00 pm each day
Note: March 12th is the first day of daylight savings time.

2) Advance ticket sales end Feb. 27th, so if you know you are attending Barrel Tasting and want to save on the ticket price, be sure to buy your tickets asap. You can also buy tickets at the door, but they do cost more.

3) Explore the roads less traveled on Saturday, and visit the heavily trafficked wine regions on Friday or Sunday.

4) The Wine Road website offers many tools to help you plan your Barrel Tasting visit, including a list of all participating wineries, an event map, and an event program that lists what barrel sample and futures each participating winery is offering. Some wineries are only participating the first weekend, so be sure to do your homework before you venture out.

5) This is not a food event. Either plan to take a break during the day and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant or deli, or pack a picnic or plenty of snacks.

6) Stay hydrated! Even though there is water at every winery, bringing along extra water is also a great idea. The more hydrated you stay, the better you will be able to taste the wines, and also stay sober!

Happy Barrel Tasters at Balletto Vineyards and Winery
Happy Barrel Tasters at Balletto Vineyards & Winery.

What are Wine Futures?

When you purchase wine before it is bottled, it is referred to as buying wine futures.

Barrel Tasting is just like it sounds—you get to taste unfinished wines, in most cases, directly from the barrel and to your wine glass. Often it is the winemaker or someone who works in the cellar with the winemaker who will be offering tastes of the barrel samples. Being able to talk directly with the winemaker or winemaking staff can give you the inside scoop on the wine. So, if you love what you taste and after asking all your questions about the wine (we’ll get to some sample questions in a minute), now is decision time. Should you buy this wine now before it is bottled? Should you buy this wine future?

Using a wine thief, wine is siphoned out of the barrel and into an awaiting wine glass.
Using a wine thief, wine is siphoned out of the barrel and into an awaiting wine glass.

What’s the advantage to buying a wine as a future?

Winemaker shares a taste of Pinot Noir directly from the barrel by using a wine thief.
Winemaker shares a taste of Pinot Noir directly from the barrel by using a wine thief.

How Do I Know If I’m Making the Right Decision?

If you like a barrel sample wine and are considering buying it as a future, here are a few questions you might ask:

The answers to these questions will help you decide if this is the wine for your life style or type of cellar. If you like to drink your wine as soon as you get it because of storage concerns, then buying 12 bottles of a Cabernet Sauvignon that needs another 1-2 years of bottling aging might not be for you. However, buying a Zinfandel that will be bottled right after barrel tasting, will be released in September, and will be drinkable upon release, is the perfect fit.

My favorite part about buying wine futures is picking up the wine at a future date. It is like buying myself a future present and knowing I’m going to love it.

As I sip that wine I bought as futures, I try to remember what the barrel sample was like and how that differs from the bottled wine I’m now tasting. With each wine futures I purchase, I learn more about what to look for, what I like and don’t like in wines, and how to choose wisely when selecting wine futures.

Now get your Barrel Tasting tickets, create your plan, and go forth and enjoy the world of wine futures.

Happy Sipping!

#WRBarrelTasting2017 #WineRoad @TheWineRoad

Enjoy springtime and flowering trees during Barrel Tasting along the Wine Road.
Enjoy the joys of springtime and flowering trees during Barrel Tasting.