Anybody who’s seen Sideways has probably thought of jumping in their car and cruising from vineyard to vineyard, sampling everything from a lovely brusque cabernet to the decadent, infamous pinot noir. Drinking in the brilliant sun and delicious wine sounds like the perfect weekend getaway; it’s an American dream that combines the freedom of the road and the allure of heady liquor. It really is a shame that wine and motoring are destined to be at odds, if not by legality then at least by sanity.
Since this is America after all, some genius finally figured out how to turn a profit from these two great American passions. Just take one knowledgeable driver, give him a decent, comfortable limousine, and a wine-studded state like California, and you’ve got all the ingredients for the brilliant limousine wine tour.
What Is A Limousine Wine Tour? Is There Arm Candy Involved?
The limousine wine tour expands on the existing practice of wine tasting, which is available in most vineyards along with winery tours. Tasting is often free or at low cost, and it is encouraged that a person spit out their wine afterward. The point is not to become inebriated, but to assess the flavors, age and depth of a wine, which you can purchase in cases right at the winery to enjoy later.
Most American wines come from California, though limousine wine tours are also available in the Northeastern United States. Popular destinations include Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Long Island. Depending on your destination, a single winery can have many different kinds of grape and therefore many different kinds of wine.
Limousine companies offer their wine tour service as a full-day hire. The driver is yours from pickup to return, amounting to three or four vineyards in the space of a day. Vehicles range from luxury sedans to your standard limo to full-sized buses, and a stretch limo with room for eight can run for about $60 an hour Destinations are discussed prior to departure, and can include local restaurants as well. . If you don’t mind sharing with strangers, some companies offer group tours at about 50 bucks a pop.
And no, you have to provide your own arm candy.
Should I Go On A Limo Wine Tour?
Well, there’s a limo… and wine… honestly, it has all the makings of a righteous weekend party. If you’re looking for an idea for somebody’s birthday or other event, this is certainly a novel experience.
Even for someone new to wine, a winery will often employ staff that can educate you on the finer points of tasting a wide variety of different wines. This means that a wine tour is also a very good introduction for a beginning enthusiast.
The advantage of having a driver instead of driving yourself means you can count on getting home safe. This is in fact a marketing point for many of these limo companies’ advertisements. Driving to wineries means meticulous planning around wherever your safe haven is, because you will be increasingly inebriated with each passing vineyard.
Of course, not swallowing the wine is an option, but simply spitting out the wine deprives the beverage of its full potential, since the finish and aftertaste are extremely informative. You can also count on definitely not being the designated driver and left out of the party if you hire a designated driver.
A limo also provides a level of privacy for your party beyond your normal drive. A driver will have valuable local experience, as well as a flexible schedule so you can fully enjoy your time at each winery.
Wine tours will also improve your knowledge of wine, no matter what your experience. So, to sum it up, you will be arriving in a limo, drinking as much as you like, and will be able to spout cultured opinions of wine on command. How much more Bond can you get?
Unfortunately, alcohol and stupidity go hand in hand. Because limo wine tours allow people to become as drunk as they like, the biggest concern in joining one is meeting roving bands of drunks that happen to be going exactly where you are. There’s also the possibility of getting completely wasted, though fun for you, not so much for your party.
The intrusion of drunken, irresponsible tasters also means that some wineries are charging as much as $50 a tasting in an attempt to curtail drunken behavior. Of course, this can be solved by a simple phone call to ascertain the cost of your destination.
The cost factor doesn’t end there. Limo companies are notorious for being untimely or providing vehicles that don’t turn out as stately as expected. The result is potentially catastrophic if you’re hiring for a special occasion.
Fortunately for us, the age of the Internet means that all of these risks are easily investigated and can be avoided. If you can visit a wine boutique in your area, you can get information from other enthusiasts about reliable limo companies and cheap, quality vineyards. If everything checks out, party on, it’s going to be a smashing time.