[Photo: A wine tour bus / Credit: johnjoh]

Your vacation is a time to relax and a wine tour fits the bill wonderfully. But my tour guests are often surprised by how tired they are at the end of a day of touring. Often dinner plans are scrapped and wake-up calls ignored. Although they are thoroughly relaxed at the end of the day, they are not up for much more. And this not just due to inebriation—though excessive amounts of wine can figure in. Abiding by some good rules of thumb will help you maximize your energy without overdoing it.


Wear Good Shoes

Good walking shoes are recommended for tasting trips, because wineries are farms and it can be long stroll from the parking lot to the tasting room. Throw in a tour of a winery here and there, and you can track some serious mileage. Also, wineries are rarely next door to their neighbors, and its stressful driving down winding, unfamiliar roads looking for barely marked driveways. Even I, the guide, am exhausted. When I come back from driving a tour, all I can do is sit and stare at the TV—so imagine what it feels like after a long day of touring plus drinking a couple of glasses of wine. That's why hiring a driver saves your strength for the important stuff, like tasting and shopping.


Drink Water Too

Alcohol tires you out, admittedly in a pleasant way, because your body has to process the alcohol, and that's work. Drinking lots of water during the day makes it an easier task, but if you drink wine all day without the water, unless you've got some serious resistance, expect to fall asleep before dinner.


Eat Close to Home

Plan your dinners strategically. Wine country is necessarily sunny—it’s how vines make the sugar they turn into alcohol. But after a day of tasting, expect that your night vision will be gone by the time darkness hits. Better to plan for dinner in the hotel (room service is always nice) or pick a restaurant a short walk away. If you really need to travel, go with the less stressful option and grab a cab. Hint: When you pick your hotel, use a map program to see how close it is to the best places to eat.


Pace Yourself Like You’re Actually on Vacation

People often plan their day of touring like they plan their workday—packed and hectic—but this kind of trip is not about accomplishment, it is about enjoyment. Take your time, soak in the sun and the flavors, and fit yourself into the relaxed pace. Wear comfortable clothes, turn off your phone's ringer, and limit your wine appointments to one in the morning and one in the early afternoon, then play the rest by ear. It is more fun and leaves room for delightful surprises, because you never know who you might meet or what hidden gems you might discover. At the end of a good wine tour you'll be a little bit tired, but in the best possible way.

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