OK – so you’ve booked a tour, and you’re really excited, and now you want to know which wineries you’re going to!
We totally understand the desire to preview your big day – and, in some cases, to make sure the itinerary is “up to snuff” with what you are expecting or hoping for.
However, please let me explain why that might not be the best plan for your tour, and why we simply can’t promise exact itineraries prior to your tour date.
1) We do not have a routine “route.”
Every tour we do is a carefully crafted day, personalized to your tastes and your personality. We frequent over 60 different wineries. Each of them are different in many ways. We select 3 or 4 of them for you based on what we think are going to be PERFECT for the day. This is why we have our Questionnaire – it will help us begin to understand what kind of day you’re looking for.
2) We often don’t make the winery decisions until you’re in the van!
Sure, the Questionnaire gives us a good foundation of knowledge about your group, but it’s difficult to know exactly who you are and what you’re like until you’re in the van and we’re talking to you. At that point, we’ll decide where to go first and then we will actually gauge your reactions and get feedback from you before selecting the rest of the day. Keeping the itinerary dynamic like this is really one of the keys to our success. It helps us stay flexible to respond to your needs.
3) There are other intangibles that go into our decision-making process.
We factor a lot of things in to our choices that can only be sorted out on the day of your tour: Each guide has their own set of “best relationships” to draw from. We factor weather in to the considerations. (Some wineries are only fun when it’s sunny. Some wineries are delightful when it’s raining!) If we have heard about a special event or if a winery is running a deal or pouring an interesting limited-time flight – we consider all this as well. We will even call ahead to the next winery and make sure it isn’t crowded. If it is, we’ll think on our feet and pick a different one. The list goes on… the day is dynamic, and having the ability to “call audibles” will make your tour the best it can be.
4) We can still work with you on specific requests even on the day of the tour.
I understand some of you have a list of requested wineries, or one or two that a friend or colleague has recommended you check out. Please understand that even though our technical policy is “we cannot guarantee any specific winery” – still, we aim to please and we will try to fulfill any and all of your wishes. It is best to list your requests in the Questionnaire, and then let us work our magic. The only reason we wouldn’t take you to your requests is if it was logistically unfeasible, OR if we talk about it together in the tour van and agree that perhaps we might have a better idea based on our expertise and our understanding of you.
5) There’s no big hurry to set an itinerary.
Some of you may be familiar with Napa or other regions where you almost HAVE to have appointments all set up in order to get to the “good” places. This is simply not the case for the Willamette Valley. Most wineries are open to the public, and those that do require an appointment are usually available for same-day bookings. We have all the best wineries and winemakers saved on speed-dial in our phones. Putting together a stellar day on the fly is super easy for us!
6) Setting up prior itineraries is very restrictive.
We have no idea what kind of pace you’re going to taste at. We don’t know how long you need for lunch. We don’t know if somebody might want to give you a little extra special extended visit somewhere… If we have a timed schedule of appointments all set up, it becomes very restrictive. We’re watching the clock and we can’t just let the day naturally unfold. We would much rather just let the pace of the day reveal itself as you go along. This results in the most relaxing days, and that’s how the magic happens.
7) All we do is go to great wineries.
I know some of you would like to see which wineries you’re going to in order to confirm that they are at the quality level you are looking for. To this concern, I humbly ask you for your trust. We’ve been doing this since 2011, and have hosted literally thousands of wine tours. Our whole reason for getting into this was because we saw a need for a company who put quality over all other considerations. That’s our specialty! The wineries we frequent are ALL in the top-most tier excellence, both in the quality of wine AND the quality of experience.
8) If you are just curious to know a sampling of what you might experience:
I have put together a pretty exhaustive list of the wineries that are on our regular rotation. Feel free to browse those and certainly you are welcome to mention any that stand out to you – but again, it’s probably just best to let us make the calls because we know a lot more about each place than a website can tell you.
9) Don’t worry – we won’t duplicate any wineries you’ve already been to.
This is a common concern for guests who have been here before, or are doing a day in wine country before their tour date with us. With over 400 wineries to choose from, and over 40 just on our “regulars” list, there is absolutely no reason why we would ever bring you to a place you’ve already been. (Unless of course you want to go there!) This is actually one of the many advantages to our “winging it” attitude: you can just tell your guide where you have already been, and they can quickly scratch them off their mental list and select from the many others we know and love. Very easily handled on the day of the tour.
I hope this little essay makes it easier to go with our flow! We truly appreciate your business and we want you to know you are in good hands! We look forward to hosting you and creating the perfect day in the Willamette Valley for you! Cheers!