Curious about Old Mission Peninsula wine tours, but afraid you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing? Don’t worry!

As one of Traverse City’s leading wine tour providers, we are happy to share some etiquette pointers to ensure you don’t stand out for the wrong reasons on our Old Mission Peninsula wine tours:

Bookings are key. If you don’t think you need to book a tour, be aware that some wineries are only open certain days, hours or by appointment. Others prefer bookings for groups of eight or more. Thinking of chartering a bus or limo? You might need to make special arrangements for parking. Make sure you call ahead to check (or make it easy on yourself and just book a tour! Old Mission Tours will take care of these details for you).

Timing is everything. Particularly in the summer and fall weekends can be very busy. This is the time when reservations might be necessary or at least advisable. If your schedule has some flexibility, you might want to consider taking an Old Mission Peninsula wine tour on a weekday when it’s a little quieter so you can relax and really chat with the owners and staff.

Dress for the weather as well as the occasion. Some tours include walking around the property and touring the vineyards; and many summer tastings will be on an outside patio or terrace. Forgo the fancy formal footwear in favor of comfortable walking shoes. Bring umbrellas for rainy days, pack an extra cardigan or a shawl for chilly days or breezy summer evenings, and don’t forget your hat and sunscreen for nice days. What should you wear? Think snappy casual – comfortable but somewhat elegant clothes suitable to a sophisticated tasting room but not too formal for the vineyard.

No scents make the best sense. Leave off the perfume or cologne and go easy on scented detergents. A big part of wine tasting is enjoying the subtle bouquet of aromas in each wine. Wearing heavy scents will not only interfere with your wine appreciation, but will spoil the experience for others.

Act like you’re in someone’s home. Visiting a winery or tasting room is very different from hanging out at a pub or bar. The ambience is typically relaxed and not formal as you’d expect; but with small wineries in particular, you are often being entertained by the owners. By the way, the intent of a wine tour is to sample and learn about different wines, so grace the person pouring with your attention while they talk about the wine.

Be prepared for wine tasting fees. Wineries set their own pricing for wine tasting fees; charging is a standard practice around the world. The wineries we visit on our Old Mission Peninsula wine tours typically charge between $3 to $5 per tasting (not included in the cost of the tours, nor are gratuities for the driver). It is not considered poor etiquette to share a tasting with a companion, particularly for high-end wines that are quite costly.

Wine tasting technique. Don’t feel overwhelmed if you’ve never been shown how to taste wine properly before! Winery owners and staff enjoy sharing their passion for fine wine and will happily show you how the experts do it. You’ll learn to swirl your wine gently to stoke (basically aerate) the bouquet of aromas. While holding the glass by the stem so you don’t increase the temperature of the wine, you’ll inhale to enjoy the distinctive aroma. When you take a sip, you don’t swallow, but rather swirl it over your tastebuds to enjoy the full flavor and texture of the vino.

Don’t overdo it. Ideally your Old Mission Peninsula wine tour will incorporate a little sightseeing along the route, perhaps a break for a meal or even time to take some nice photos on the grounds of a winery or another point of interest. You’ll notice that wineries have tasting buckets so that you can taste a wine and then spit it out. You can taste several wines without finding yourself three sheets to the wind. Don’t forget to drink water! You can quickly become dehydrated and worse – hungover.

Find out about perks and special offers. Before the tasting is underway, find out if the winery waives or reduces tasting fees if you buy a bottle of wine. Others offer discounts for buying certain quantities or will offer shipping incentives. Be sure to inquire about shipping laws for your state so you don’t meet with disappointment due to state restrictions.

Feel better prepared to book an Old Mission Peninsula wine tour? Contact Old Mission Tours for expertly-guided Traverse City wine tasting tours that can be customized to suit your preferences. For more information or a reservation, call us at (231) 883-TOUR.