Summer's finally here, and those of us who won't be able to go on a long and relaxing vacation have to resort to short and sweet getaways, like day trips and overnight camping. But there is another fantastic option to consider if you're incidentally also a wine lover: booking one of the most buzzed-about wine tours in regions that produce some of the best tasting wines in North America. I am, of course, talking about British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. And considering some of these wine regions are also near beautiful beaches and exciting cities, you can even turn these wine tour plans into a mini weekend vacation.
Comfort, mild-temperate climate, scenic views of the country, and incredible culinary experiences come together to guarantee your little getaway is a memorable one. Relaxation and self-indulgence are usually not the only two things on the menu of well-established wine tours; they also present an elusive opportunity to develop a much deeper understanding and appreciation of wine in the most immersive way conceivable. So here are three of the most enthralling wine tours in the Pacific Northwest.
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Uncorked! Okanagan Wine Tours
Uncorked! Okanagan Wine Tours provides visitors with sensational tastings, visits to the best wineries, and lots of fun insights with their three well-organized and thorough wine tours in the Okanagan Valley. And not just the big names, they will take you to some boutique gems as well. They have four tours:
1. West Kelowna Wine Tour (aka Westside Wine Trail Tour)
Starting in West Kelowna with breathtaking views of the vineyards in the area and of course, Lake Okanagan, you will be tasting everything from refreshing whites to full-bodied reds.
2. Lakeshore – Fab 5 Wine Trail Tour
With the Fab 5 Wine Trail Tour, you will get to visit some of the oldest and most seasoned wineries in British Columbia while sipping on bubbles, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.
3. Summerland Wine Tour (Bottleneck Drive)
Bottleneck Drive Region has some of the most fascinating vistas which you will get to bask in, and you will also visit some of the most exciting Okanagan wineries like Sumac Ridge and Dirty Laundry.
4. Too Much Fun Beer Wine & Spirits Tour
This is the tour during which you will get to visit an Okanagan winery dating back to the '30s. Plus, this tour option has a wider variety of tasting experiences, from bold reds to lavender gin to honey lager.
Woodinville Wine Country, Washington
Barrel Wine Tours
Barrel Wine Tours offers fun, relaxing, and educational full/half day wine tasting tours in Woodinville Wine Country just outside of Seattle, which houses nearly 100 wineries - including one of the most critically acclaimed wineries of Washington, Chateau Ste Michelle. The wineries that you will get to visit with their tours completely represent the spirit and characteristics of Washington wineries, from a Chateau to the smallest boutique winery you can imagine. On these tours that are entertaining as they are educational, you will experience the best of Walla Walla, Red Mountain, and Yakima.
They hold private tours, but they also have very reasonably-priced half day and full day public tours. Even just the half day tour, which is only $99, includes luxury transportation, getting introduced to winemakers at three Woodinville wineries, and the entirety of the tasting fees. Plus, you will have 4-5 glasses of wine at each winery. You can find the details on all of their other tasting tour options here.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Black Tie Wine Tours
Located in Newberg, OR, Black Tie Wine Tours is one of the best in the Willamette Valley. A team of courteous, fun, and professional gentlemen pick up your party (up to five - they have shuttles for larger groups) with their luxury SUVs to give you a completely customizable and insider tour of the best of Oregon wine country have to offer. You can either choose to let them take you to their favorite wineries or plan your own trip based on individual preferences. Willamette will be your oyster!
All of their tours include pick-up and drop-off services, a lunch stop at a restaurant or cellar of your choice or a picnic lunch arranged by them, insider tips, and more. It's $75/hour (up to 5 people), and you can find additional information and contact them on their website.