Savings Tips: Wine Country, CA

I attended the WineFest at Mohegan Sun this past weekend and got to enjoy one of the highlight wines of my Napa trip.  It brought me back to my Wine Country, CA trip and the post I never finished writing on ways to save there.  Forgive me!  That said, it is PERFECT timing to start thinking of a trip this year and let these tips help:

Wine Country, CA

Wine Country, CA

  • Time of Year – peak time of year starts in May (on Memorial Day) and continues to October.  The busiest and most crowded day is Saturday.
    • Midweek offers less congestion and better rates
    • If planning for peak season make sure to book tasting, meals, etc. at least 2 months in advance.  If non-peak, than only 1 month in advance
      • We went during the beginning of peak season and had to miss out on some restaurants or take a lunch instead of a dinner because they were completely book.  A little advanced planning definitely pays off!
  • Car Rental – utilize bundles or leverage memberships you already have (AAA, Costco, etc).  Costco travel saved us over 50% on the car rental.
  • Tasting Fees – these can add up.  By doing a little advanced research, using apps or checking out the website of the winery itself, you can find exclusive offers or savings.  We saved $100+ in tasting fees by using these resources
    • Recommended apps — Daily Sip, Econcierge and FourSquare
      • These free apps offered anything from free tastings to an additional pour
    • You can share a tasting with your partner.  If you are going to multiple wineries, etc. save your stamina and palate by sharing so you can enjoy the wines you really like.
  • Buying & Shipping Wine – shipping wine back can be around $150/case for insured ground shipping (from CA to CT).  It is most cost effective to ship an entire case back, but you can ship smaller amounts.  Buy wine that is worth shipping back.
    • Avoid buying wine that you can buy in your home state.  Unless you don’t care about paying an additional $12+/bottle to ship it when you can get for the same price at home.
    • If buying multiple bottles, inquire at the winery what their rate would be to ship it for you.  Sometimes you can get better rates with the wineries.
  • Wine Clubs – Tasting Room staff are often compensated for getting you to join Wine Clubs.  Be sure it makes sense for you and isn’t something you are talked into in the lure of the moment.

Enjoy and have a glass (or two) for me!

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