You may find it all overwhelming or too stimulating or maybe not like it used to be. But here are some secrets to help you have a more memorable experience and enjoy the original nature of Barrel Tasting (which is tasting from the barrel and then buying a future!)
If you are a first-timer
It can be overwhelming to see a list of 130 wineries and not know where to go. I would suggest starting small and in town somewhere (Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor, or Santa Rosa). This way you can walk to multiple wineries and can avoid the roadways and trying to use GPS on your phone…
P.S. If you do decide to tackle the roadways, don’t use Google! A lot of wineries register their offices or production facilities and not their Tasting Room address. Our Google Map will get you where you need to go.
If you are a seasoned vet (or just trying to avoid the crowd)
Then you probably don’t need any insider tips – but I’m going to give you one anyway: Occidental, Sebastopol, Graton, Forestville, and towards Asti. Even try Limerick Lane South of Healdsburg! These towns have one or two wineries that are well worth the drive. These wineries see less traffic and generally seem more relaxed than the buzzed hype down Dry Creek or Olivet Road.
If you are a group of 8+
You’ve seen the list, most of the wineries have asked for no groups because they cannot accommodate them. Please don’t try to sneak in, park around the corner, or come in 4 by 4 by 4. The wineries have specifically asked for no groups and they will turn you away. To have a great group weekend and also appease our participating wineries, please schedule your route according to the wineries without an asterisk (*) and be considerate – as considerate as being invited to someone’s home, because for most winemakers and winery owners, it is their home.
Check out the participation list to find wineries that welcome groups.
And remember, we do not allow large buses that carry 24+ passengers
Buying Futures FAQ
Should I buy this weekend or wait?
It may be too crowded or too chaotic but it’s just like the REI sale – you won’t be able to get a better deal! If you buy wine (and you should if you are coming to Barrel Tasting), you will want to purchase futures! It is like the outlet sales of wine with some wines up to 50% off.
***And some wines sell out during Barrel Tasting weekend and are not available once bottled!
How do I know I will like the future?
If you like the young wine, you will love the future – that’s how it goes. If you aren’t sure, you can see if the winery has the bottled version from a previous year to try.
How will I get my future wine?
EASY. Your purchase will be shipped to you or you will be notified once your iwne is bottled for pick-up!