If you are not budgeting and are creative and a little adventuresome, you might want to check out the wine trail that is near to where you live. I did a search on Google for Missouri wine trails, for example, and got many hits. I also tried a search for Michigan wine trails and got more hits than I expected. I know there are Colorado wine trails and California wine trails and New York wine trails. I am sure that wherever you are there are probably wine trails nearby. Even Rhode Island is part of the Coastal Wine Trail of Southeastern New England.
Oh - so what is a wine trail? It is a map or route going from one winery to another and you drive, walk or ride a bike a few or many miles and visit wineries along the way. How much you spend depends on where you are and where you want to go.
Here is the plan:
1. Get on the web and go to Google http://www.google.com) and do a search for your state name and the term "wine trails". Let's say you live in Alabama. I picked this state randomly since it starts with A and is at the beginning of the alphabet. You would type in the search box "Alabama wine trails". Do not include the quote (") marks when you type in your search. You should come up with many, many web sites that have this search term in them. I see just east of Birmingham, there are three wineries. White Oak, Bryant and Morgan Creek vineyards are all listed.
2. If the wine trails are close to where you live, plan how you are going to get there; drive? fly? train? etc.
3. Do you need to take a long weekend for this trip? Valentine's Day is on Thursday. Do you need a take some time from work or school to do this trip? See about getting the time off now, before you go any further.
4. Morgan Creek Vineyards is in the town of Morganville AL. I did a search at Google for "Harpersville AL bed & breakfast", without the quote (") marks, and see that there are 10 bed & breakfast places listed near Harpersville. I see from the list that Cobb Lane B&B has 4 reviews. I click on the link for Cobb Lane and it says that the place is very nice inside, but there is a lot of noise outside from nearby businesses. So that might not be the place to spend the night if you are looking for romance. Do this search for the towns that are around your vineyards to get an idea of where to stay.
5. Start booking your reservations now. Time is short. If you are driving, does your car need an oil change, how are the tires, etc. How many nights at the B&B? What are the eating places nearby? Do any of the wineries have a restaurant? Can the wineries suggest a restaurant where the restaurant serves their wine. Since it is winter in many places, see if the B&B offers a lower, winter, rate. When booking your reservation, indicate that the price is high and ask if they can take off 10 or 20% since you plan to stay multiple nights? You might also get 5% off if you hold the reservation with a credit card but tell them that you will pay cash to save money. Many will give you 5% since that is what they pay the credit card company to run the credit card.
6. You need to plan for dinner reservations too. Remember that you and your someone are not the only ones going to dinner that night and you want to be sure that you have the dinner meal covered as well as the other reservations. Before you book dinner reservations, ask the wineries when you call them, if they can recommend a place that is romantic. Also see if they have a relationship with one that would give you a discount if you mentioned the winery's name. What the heck? In a lot of places, if you say you know the winery they will take 10% off the bill - so go for it.
Don't forget that you are looking for a romantic trip. You want this trip to be one that you will remember for a long time. Depending on where you are and when you get to the destination, I would suggest that you pack a bottle of Korbel Brut Rose'. It is a nice light bubbly, that is good after dinner, and will help you both get into the romantic mode you are trying to achieve.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
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Jim Fortune - the Bella Wine Guy