Travel Along the Pinot Trail
The Prince's favorite wineries to visit and wine country lodging and restaurant suggestions organized by region. Invaluable information for your next trip not available from any other source.
Along the Pinot Trail with the Prince
If you fall in love with Pinot Noir, you will eventually be drawn to visit pinocentric regions and notable Pinot Noir producers. I have compiled an extensive listing of Recommended Wineries to Visit (Prince Drank Here), Lodging (Prince Slept Here) and restaurants (Prince Ate Here) to enhance your wine country journeys. This invaluable reference is organized by region for California and Oregon and will be updated periodically. Relevant websites for further research are included.
Prince Drank Here: Many Pinot Noir producers are small and have no tasting rooms. For those wineries that have tasting rooms, the location and hours of operation are listed. Many wineries now charge a small tasting fee, usually $5-$10 per person, which often includes a tasting glass. Reserve level wines may cost more to taste. A personalized tour and tasting by appointment is usually preferable. It is common courtesy to purchase some wine after an appointed tour and tasting unless you found the wines very disappointing. Call ahead and confirm your appointment the day of the visit. Be sure to have good driving directions and allow extra driving time so you arrive on time. Be courteous and phone if delayed. Plan to spend 1 to 2 hours at each winery for an appointed tour and tasting. Wear appropriate clothing including shoes for walking in the vineyard and winery and coats for tasting inside the winery. Wear darkly colored clothes since Pinot Noir stains lightly colored clothing! Don't be afraid to ask what seem like stupid questions. Remember, you don't farm grapes or make wine, you just enjoying drinking it. When visiting wineries for all day long, eat food throughout the day and drink plenty of water." Learn to taste by spitting and swallow only what you truly enjoy. Consider a designated driver or some form of chauffeured transportation. When you call to arrange an appointment, feel free to use my name or The PinotFile as a reference. If you need assistance in making an appointment or help with your itinerary, feel free to e-mail me and I will make every effort to insure that your experience is grand. The wineries I have recommended specialize in Pinot Noir and I believe they warrant your special attention. In some cases, I have listed additional wineries that you may find of interest as well.
Prince Slept Here: I have either stayed at or visited nearly all of the lodging recommendations. In general, the lodgings are toward the high end and do not include chain hotels. Remember that accommodations in many wine regions are limited and reservations must be made well in advance, particularly during the spring and summer. Winemakers and wine personnel are very busy from August until November and although the fall is a lovely time to visit, winery principals are often unavailable for personal tours and tastings during those months. Many wineries welcome volunteers at harvest and this is an experience to consider as it is truly exciting, educational and fulfilling.
Prince Ate Here: I have dined at one time or another at practically all of the restaurants recommended. Most restaurants in wine regions allow a diner to bring his or her own wine, assuming the wine is not on the wine list. However, most wine country restaurants feature an extensive lineup of local wines offering the visitor a great opportunity to sample the local Pinot Noirs. Reservations are a must during high tourist seasons (spring and summer).
I know that when I am looking to stay or eat in a region I have not visited, I discard the commercial reviews and look to reviews from everyday visitors. If you had a good or bad experience at a winery, with a particular lodging, or a restaurant, please e-mail the Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. This will help me advise others. At some point in the future, I will post these reviews by the Crew for others to read (anonymous if you prefer).
Disclaimer: I have no financial ties to any of the recommended wineries, restaurants or lodgings.
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