Another question that we receive often from people…What is the best time of the year to visit the wineries? Similar to some of the other questions that we receive about wine tours, this is a reasonable and perfectly legitimate question. If you are going to be visiting the area and you had to pick a season wouldn’t you want the best one for your experience? Yes, but when people are involved things are never that simple. Superlatives like “Best!” are impossible to apply to everyone in a broad generalization. What is best to one might be worst to another. Thankfully, we are NOT all the same. Think about how boring life would be if everyone had the same interests, likes, dislikes, etc. The fact that I can’t answer this question directly is a good thing. Actually, it is a wonderful thing! So rather than try to pretend that I know what I am talking about and that I know your personal tastes, why don’t I just tell you the pros/cons about each season and you can decide for yourself. Let’s get started…
What is there not to like about the summer? It isn’t cold, the sun stays out late, the kids are out of school, you can wear topsiders, and everyone seems to have this laid back summer state of mind. I would guess that many people are going to say that summer is their favorite season. At the wineries, summer is a busy time as the vines are in full growth mode and will be green and lush. The staff will be working hard to manage the growth and ensure that this years harvest is the best that it can be. Veraison, when the grapes get their color, will set in during the summer setting the stage for harvest which may actually start in late summer (for some varietals).
The wineries will typically be in full operational mode during the summer with an abundance of offerings that may include live entertainment, food trucks, special events, and/or extended hours. All of this will make summer one of the more popular seasons for visiting wineries and there is some exciting and funs things to see and experience. Yet the summer also has its drawbacks. Summers can be exceptionally hot and/or humid. There are also the summer storms that can popup on warm afternoons. Wineries also will be generally more crowded during the summer months. And finally, insects are more active in the summer (not that this is a huge issue anywhere but worth a mention when comparing the pros/cons of each season). Is summer the season for you? Maybe, but also check out the other seasons.
Quite possibly the most welcomed season by folks who live in the Carolinas. There is nothing like that first cool morning after a long hot summer to remind you that fall is on the horizon. The leaves will all turn brilliant colors, autumn sunsets are absolutely stunning, the cool evenings mean you can light fire-pits, and you can openly drink pumpkin spice without any shame. At the vineyards, harvest will be finishing up and the process of vinification (a fancy work for wine making) will begin. The oppressively hot and humid days of the summer will fade into pleasantly mild days in the 60’s and low 70s.
All of the things that most people would consider negative about the summer will go away except the crowds. Autumn is by far the most popular time to visit the region and the wineries are no exception. So while everything else is borderline perfect, you are going to be sharing that feeling of autumn bliss with a lot of other people
I think that the winter is the most under rated season and I actually wrote another blog article about it (Vines Go Dormant in the Winter, Vineyards Don’t). Yes, it gets cold in the winter and it can snow. The vineyards are brown and it gets dark early. Everyone is always hating on the winter but think of the positives that I am borrowing from my other blog post. With the sun setting early you will get to experience the beautiful architectural lighting at the wineries and you are also almost guaranteed to experience the sunset. The cool days and evenings will also let you experience fire at the numerous fire-pits and fireplaces at the wineries; some of which are quite stunning.
Winter is also going to be the least crowded of the seasons so if you are the type of person that doesn’t like crowds, consider the cooler months for a visit.
Similar to how Autumn reminds us that the heat of the summer isn’t permanent, spring reminds us that the cold of the winter is also only temporary. Spring is a wonderful season where we appreciate the warmth of the sun as the days get longer and warmer. Everything starts to turn green again and the cycle of growth begins anew. While the days are pleasantly warm again, the evenings can still have enough brisk coolness that you might still have an evening fire going at the wineries. The vines at the vineyards won’t be lush like they are in the summer but the splashes of green that appear after bud break will slowly break up the brown that has dominated the winter months.
. As the season progresses there will be a million shades of green between all of the different trees and plants that are working overtime to grow leaves and capture the ever increasing sunlight. It is a very nice time to be visiting the area as Spring seems to strike a good balance with everything that is either a positive or a negative with the other seasons.
The Winner Is? You Decide…
So what do you think is the best season to visit a winery? Is there one in particular time of year that stands out as your favorite or are you thinking that each season is unique enough to warrant visiting year round? Did I change your mind if you had a favorite season to visit before reading this post? I remember that I was at a social function once where the question “What is your favorite season?” was asked of everyone in attendance. Everyone was quick to blurt out their favorite except this one person who simply stated “Whatever is next!”. It is true that sometimes our perception of a favorite is often influenced by our current situation. While autumn might not be something we are looking forward to after winter, it sure is welcomed after a hot summer. Perhaps your favorite season will depend on when you are reading this post. Leave me a comment below and let me know what you are looking forward to right now. And whatever the season you want to visit the wineries just know that we can safely get you there any time of the year. We book our vans out and run wine tours year-round! When would you like to go?