Once again, airports are a buzz with bustling travelers, making their way to their first big, post-pandemic adventures. Many of us are eagerly awaiting opened borders and capitalizing on cheaper flight tickets to our favorite destinations. For wine lovers, Europe is sure to be on the short list of desired locations. As they have in years past, wine enthusiasts will flock to Italy, Croatia, Spain, and France to take in the beauty of old-world wine and the culture that surrounds it. Many of us will stay in the U.S. to explore the new-world wine culture, from Napa to Willamette to Walla Walla.
If you love wine and are considering your next travel destination, then this article is for you. We spoke with renowned travel experts and oenophiles, Guy and Robin Glaeser to get tips and advice for even the most well-travelled aficionados. With more than
25 years of land tour and cruise experience, the couple founded InquisiTours, specializing in private and customized tours in the Pacific Northwest, as well as highly customized European tours. They know a thing or two about what makes a great tour, well… great. Read on to learn more.
Domestic adventures await
Did you know that there are nearly 3,000 commercial vineyards in the United States, and at least one winery in each of the 50 states? Known for its big, bold reds, Washington State is among the hidden treasures in new world wine, with more than 120 wineries and tasting rooms, and 3,000 acres of vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley alone.“If you want to stay in the U.S., Walla Walla Valley should be at the top of any wine lover’s list,” said Mr. Glaeser. “We’re not only known for our world-class wine, though. Walla Walla offers years of fascinating history, culture, rolling hills, plenty of sunshine, and a buzzing creative scene that thrives here.”
The Glaeser family lives in the heart of it all. In 2014, they moved from Portland, where they developed an appreciation for beer, to a home in Walla Walla, surrounded by seven wine-makers, ranging from boutique, small production to well-established, large production. with vineyards that have been passed down from generation to generation. As the couple’s network expanded, so did their knowledge about the Pacific Northwest culture and the art of wine making.
Armed with that “insider knowledge,” they develop unrivaled tours of the Pacific Northwest that cater to all levels of wine drinkers.
“Even non-wine drinkers will find adventure here,” said Mr. Glaeser. “From art walks to whale watching to wine tasting, there really is something for everyone. Come adventure with us!”
Take in the culture, not just the wine.
If you’re a wine lover, it’s easy to be overtaken by the full tasting experience, from visiting the vineyards, to stomping grapes. However, Mrs. Glaeser suggests emerging from behind the bottle to take in the culture of whatever region you’re visiting.
“Having travelled all over the world, I’ve learned that to fully appreciate a great wine, you have to experience the culture in which it was made,” said Mrs. Glaeser.
That’s the beauty of InquisiTours – they make experiences each individual will enjoy. The couple has a unique approach. They interview their clients, learn their personalities, likes and dislikes, and they build a tour that ensures a great time by all parties in the group. The Glaesers have spent years exploring the communities in which they tour, which is essential to getting the most out of any trip.
“Some of the best travel stories take place unexpectedly, outside of the touristy spots,” said Mrs. Glaeser. “So, you have to be nimble, and you have to know where those experiences can be found.”
“Exploring the unique attributes of the culture will not only provide a memorable experience for people who don’t love wine, but for those who do, it will enrich their appreciation of the wine they’re tasting,” said Mr. Glaeser.
Explore the perfect pair
There was a rumor going around a few years ago that wine pairing is “out of style.” But don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (except this article, of course 😉).
It is, indeed, a rumor. Anyone who has ever had chocolate and red wine knows there isn’t much more gratifying than the bold notes of a cabernet, coupled with the sweetness of milk chocolate or the bitter-sweet flavor of a dark chocolate.
“A meal can taste entirely different when paired with different wines, and vice versa,” said Mr. Glaeser. “A good chef and a master wine maker can create fireworks with a good pairing.”
So, explore your senses with the adventure of exquisite food and drink. Your nose and mouth will thank you.
Wine and beer lovers unite!
While sprawling vineyards summon wine lovers with tantalizing fantasies of finding the perfect flavor, hops and brew masters beckon beer enthusiasts on the prowl for the next big micro-brew. Are they to go their separate ways?
“Absolutely not!” said Mr. Glaeser. “Opposites not only attract, but they can make for a much more enriching experience for both parties.”
InquisiTours can create “hybrid” itineraries that incorporate multiple experiences, appealing to different tastes. This includes food, drink, as well as the local art and culture. The idea is that each person has an experience unique to them, and they can learn and grow throughout the journey. For beer lovers, it means getting to know what makes wine lovers tick, and vice versa.
“A tour that begins with wine and ends with beer can be a great adventure for all parties,” said Glaeser.
Wherever you are, BE THERE.
Every sense is heightened when you’re tasting good food and wine. But if you’re traveling through Walla Walla on the five-day Deluxe InquisiTours tour, you’ll want to make sure you can focus on the present moment. That means getting ahead of any distractions that could make your experience less than great.
“When you’re distracted, you don’t realize until later how much you truly missed on your trip,” Mrs. Glaeser said. “That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful and prepare to be fully present.”
She offered some tips for those who want to BE THERE, wherever they are:
- Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode. We use our smartphones to take pictures, so it’s not ideal to leave your phone at home or at the hotel room. But, if you can, put your phone in “do not disturb” mode. That way, you can snap some pics, and you won’t miss a text or a call, but you won’t be disrupted when you’re living in the moment. Spontaneity can add magic to any trip, but not if it is a spontaneous interruption from a noisy phone.
- Save social posting for later. We have a tendency these days to want to check in and post to our social channels every minute we are on the move. Social posting can be a great way to log your trip to reflect on later. However, all that social posting can keep you from losing yourself in the moment, which is likely why you’re on the trip in the first place. Enjoy now; social post later. You can always check in to different locations at the end of each day.
- Wear smart attire. Packing your nice dress shoes is tempting when you’re on vacation, but save them for a sit-down dinner. When touring and exploring, comfy footwear is a must. You don’t want the distraction of aching feet, and you don’t want to end the day early because you have blisters on your heels. Check out how to keep your feet healthy during travel on FitMyFoot FootPrints.
- Dress in layers. Wear a short-sleeved shirt and a sweater. Dress in shorts and bring a pair of long pants if the weather looks unpredictable. It’s important to be prepared for the temperature. It may be sunny and warm outside, but air conditioning can make the indoors unbearably chilly. Dressing in layers is always a good idea.
- Drink LOTS of water – a sip of water for every sip of beer or wine.
To learn more about upcoming tours with The Glaesers, visit InquisiTours.com, and start planning your next, post-pandemic adventure!