How to go wine tasting with kids: tips on visiting wineries as a family

With vineyards springing up all over the U.S., wine tasting has become more popular than ever. Visiting wineries is a great way to assist a local economy, taste local pairings, and learn about an area’s agriculture. In fact, vineyards are now a big part of agricultural tourism. But what if you have the kids along? Can you go wine tasting with kids? We believe the answer is yes. Follow the tips below to have a fun, successful, and positive experience at a winery with kids.

Cliff Creek Cellars

Pair vineyards with outdoor activities:

Instead of telling the kids that they’ll be touring tasting rooms all day (get ready for a negative reaction on that one), pick one winery you’d really enjoy visiting and pair it with a family outdoor activity. Many wineries and tasting rooms are ideally located in the countryside surrounding tourist destinations and cities: think of your wine tasting day as an opportunity to explore a rural area. Outside of Portland, Oregon, for instance, lies the Willamette Valley brimming with wineries…and family fun. Before heading the casual and cozy Alloro Winery, we opt for a bike ride or a side trip to nearby Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum for hands-on, kid-centric entertainment.

No matter what region you’re visiting, before your wine tasting, parents can take the kids on a hike in the area, rent bikes and go for a bike ride, or tour a local museum or amusement park. Consider your wine tasting to be a complement to this family day outside, not the sole reason for it.

lawn games at wineries

Select no more than one winery per visit:

Multi-vineyard wine trails are a lot of fun…for adults. Most kids, however, are pretty much of the opinion that if you’ve seen one vineyard, you’ve seen them all. Most tourists spend an average of one to two hours at a winery: plan for one and done to avoid tired, bored kids. Which winery to pick? Ask your hotel concierge or another local for the scoop on the most family-friendly winery in the region, or pick one closest to other area attractions.

Opt for a family-friendly tasting experience:

Yes, they do exist! The emphasis of a successful family day at a winery is not on the wine itself, but rather on the ambiance and togetherness. That said, my kids will tell you it’s not much fun if everyone has something good to drink except for them. We pick wineries that serve sparkling cider or root beer to the kids while adults enjoy tasting flights, and those that will put together a kid-friendly snack, such as a cheese plate.

Cliff Creek charcuterie plate

Many wineries now allow picnics and other food items to be brought in by guests. Check ahead of time to make sure the one you want to visit has this policy, and if so, bring a spread! Look for wineries with plenty of outdoor space, and a staff who will welcome your kids. During a recent visit to Cliff Creek Cellars on the Upper Rogue Wine Trail of Southern Oregon, our kids were greeted by the vineyard dog and offered their pick of bocce ball or other lawn games by the winery staff.

Get on winery mailing lists to learn about events and festivals:

Many wineries host summer concert series, holiday events, and other family-friendly happenings. One of our favorite Easter Sundays was spent at Troon Vineyard, where the kids enjoyed an elaborate Easter egg hunt while adults enjoyed tastings and brunch. Other wineries in our region host bluegrass bands (perfect for dancing to, if you ask any toddler), art festivals, and local charity events. During the summer months, kids can spot hang-gliders coming in for landing at many Applegate Valley Wine Trail vineyards.

Above all, be responsible:

Of course, you want to be safe and set a good example to your children whenever you consume alcoholic beverages. If you think you’ll need it, hire a wine tour service to drive you to the tasting room and back again, or set out on a short walk with the family post-tasting before you get behind the wheel of your car. Most wineries don’t mind a bit if you linger: bring extra outdoor toys for the kids or even a pack of cards and play a family game before heading home.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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  12. I didn’t realize that wineries often host family-friendly events that everyone can enjoy. My husband and I really enjoyed going to wineries before we had our daughter, and now we want to start that up again because she’s five now. It’s good that they will also have things that she will like to do. We haven’t been to a winery since we moved, so we’ll have to find one near us to go to.

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