March 30th, 2016/ BY Elvis Deane

5 Things to do before you head to wine country

With rolling hills and a vineyard-studded landscape, wine country is the perfect getaway. And whether you’re looking for a classy weekend adventure or celebrating a special occasion, a wine tour is always an excellent choice. However, before you hop in the car and head out to wine-derland, it’s essential to do a bit of prep work. Follow these steps before you go to make sure that your stay in wine country is as smooth as a good Chardonnay.

1. Ready Your Camera

Wine country offers some of the most scenic vistas in the land, and you’ll want to capture the plethora of picture-perfect moments you’re bound to have on your trip. Your car may have a charging port, but it’s likely only enough for one person at a time and ideally, you won’t be spending too much time in your vehicle. Especially if you’ve got more than one photographer in tow, you’ll need to take extra measures to make sure that everyone’s cameras and camera phones are up to the challenge.

If your camera uses batteries, be sure to bring an extra pair, just in case. An extra pair of fully charged rechargeable batteries wouldn’t hurt as well – or, just don’t forget to bring the charger! If your phone is your camera, it’s even more imperative to bring not only your regular charger but also a portable charger. All you have to do is charge this device before you go, and you’ll be able to use it to recharge your phone (and your camera as well, if it has a USB cable) several times before needing to recharge the portable charger itself. It only takes a couple hours of near-constant use for many phones to get a low battery, and you’ll want the ability to document every moment of this trip. Thus, portable chargers are a must.

2. Invest in a Wine Travel Case

There’s nothing worse than the sound of bottles perilously clinking as they roll back and forth in the trunk of a woefully unprepared wine lover’s car. If you’d rather save your money for spending on wine, a basic cardboard box and an ample supply of bubble wrap will do. However, a Google search of “wine carrying cases” yields many results. Some wine carriers hold glasses and others are made for efficiency, accommodating over 20 bottles. Some are styled like rolling suitcases, others like coolers and still others like backpacks and lock boxes. Find one that suits your needs, make room for it in your car and bring back wine without worries.

3. Bring Snacks

It’s no secret that wine gives many people the munchies (or the drunchies!). Sometimes it’s hard to know if a winery will give you food or not, and it’s even harder to know if it will be enough! Bring some crackers or pretzels to soak up the alcohol and cheese to go with any bottles you decide to open en route (if you have a chauffeur) or at the hotel. Popcorn is also a good choice, since it’s something to eat but won’t fill you up quickly.

4. Plan and Print Your Route

A normal GPS can be frustrating, and you’ll want to keep the one on your phone turned off to conserve battery if your phone is your camera. This is why it’s essential to plan your route beforehand and print out directions. Map out directions from your hotel to all the different wineries you’ll plan to visit. If you’re going to hit several wineries in one day, it will be easier on the driver and the tipsy passengers if you don’t need directions on the fly.

5. Find a Driver or Transportation

Find a designated driver or book a transportation service, like a limousine or party bus. Even if someone in your party thinks they may not want to drink, the sheer beauty and ambiance at the winery may change their mind. Give everyone the opportunity to indulge and make a concrete transportation plan beforehand.

Once you’ve done these five things, you’re good to go and are bound to have an excellent trip. Wine country awaits!

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