A Quick Guide to Survive 95 Degree Days at Virginia Wineries
As Virginia winery hoppers for going on 12 years now, nothing stops the Notebook from visiting wineries: Rain, ice, snow, hailstorms, and those sticky, unbearable Virginia July and August days. This weather keeps many of the crowds away - only the hardy (and the crazy) would visit wineries in such weather.
These tips are for those who like to be outside in the summer, even in the sweltering heat (remember how January through March is around here!) If you prefer to stay inside the tasting room on these hot dog days, then you can ignore most of these tips. Except #2.
Bring plenty of bottled water. The hotter it is, the less food you'll be craving, so replace the coolers of food with H20. Make sure you have plenty of bottles with you at all time.
Load ice or those blue cold packs in your cooler and keep the cooler in your trunk. If you buy any wine at the wineries, white or red, you will want to keep them cool. Nothing will make wine turn quicker than cooking it in a hot car with the sun beating down on it.
If you must bring food, make it light. Vegetables (skip the fruit), hummus, light cheese, water crackers. Leave the chips, pretzels, bread, meats, and other heavy food at home. If you have a craving for salami, buy some at the winery.
4. DRINK LIGHT WINE
Probably a no-brainer. Buy a few bottles of deep red for the fall and winter (and be sure to keep them in your cooler!). Stick with light whites (even an off-dry or off-sweet style, as you will be sweating it all off anyway), Rosé, or even fruit wines (Apple, Peach, Strawberry). A non oaky, lighter, crisp varietal like Pinot Gris/Grigio, Traminette, Riesling, or Petit Manseng.
5. STAY IN THE SHADE
Another no brainer. Find a place under an umbrella, or trees.
6. ASK FOR A COOLING CYLINDER
Most wineries offer a cooling cylinder for keeping your bottles of white wine cold. This is essential. If one is not offered, ask. If the winery does not offer a cooling cylinder, ask the tasting room to keep the wine cold for you. (If you picnic far away from the tasting room, and the winery does not offer cooling cylinders, you will have to get creative with your cooler/cold packs, provided you followed tip #2 above).
7. BRING THE SUMMER NECESSITIES
Don't forget the Off!, sunscreen, ballcap, and wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes.
We hope these tips are helpful as you prepare for your next thick-of-the-summer Virginia winery outing!