Today’s Wine Word: Collective Tasting Room


Have you ever heard of a collective tasting room? It’s a good word to remember next time you’re planning a trip to wine country.

By now, just about any wine region that you’d like to visit has at least one collective tasting room – and, often within walking distance of your hotel!

Collective tasting rooms serve and sell several different brands of wine from the region – it’s kind of like one stop shopping. They’re often located in town, rather than out in the country where the wineries are. So, instead of going to a winery and trying just their brand, you can try several brands in a very short period of time.

I know what you’re thinking: Kind of lacks romance, huh? No grapevines, no barrels. I agree – If you want to take a walk in the vineyard or go on a tour of the winery you need to head out of town and go for it!

But, to me, the most compelling reason to go to a collective is that these rooms tend to feature wines from tiny little wineries in out of the way places. You can taste and purchase wines you may never find at home.

Of course, the other reasons to go this way are if you’re short of time and you really want to buy some wine – or maybe you’re toured out – you’ve gone on a tour or two and visited other winery tasting rooms. And, these collective tasting rooms become an attractive alternative if you just feel like strolling around town and trying a few wines.

How to find them? Just do a search on “collective tasting rooms” in whatever region you plan to visit. I just did a search on Napa Valley and there are lots and lots of choices!

My favorites are actually surrounded by vineyards so you get the best of both worlds: Silenus Vintners, north of downtown Napa and the Napa Wine Company in Oakville. They serve wines you’ll probably never find at home.

So, you’ve got one more option to add to your wine-country plans. Incidentally, winter is a great time to go winery hopping. You’ll have the region all to yourself and get lots of personal attention at the wineries, restaurants, hotels, spas – and at a great price! Cheers! 

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