Whether you’re taking that romantic vacation or just feel like staying at home, here are some ways to have a memorable Valentine’s Day experience this season, complete with wine, cuisine, epic travel options and beyond.
Private Winery Tasting
If you’re not too enthused with a big group tasting event, call your local winery and see if they would be open to doing a private tasting for you and your partner, group of friends, or anyone else you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. Some wineries already organize private tastings or group tastings, so it will be easy to find what you’re looking for. For inspiration, check out our list of favorite wineries around the world to see which one(s) are perfect for your visit.
DIY At-Home Tasting
Planning and organizing your own wine tasting at home can be a unique way to sample new (or your trusted favorite) wines. This can be done in a variety of ways:
Order a wine subscription box. Let someone else do the work for you, and simply wait for your box to come in the mail! Whether it’s affordable biodynamic wine from California, or an assortment of sparkling wines from around the world, you can easily find a box right for you.
Dive into food pairings. Creating a tasting with specific food pairings may seem like a lot of work, but it will pay off when you’ll get to enjoy different wines and cuisines. For inspiration, see some of our best articles on food pairings:
- Tips for Pairing Wine with All Kinds of Food
- Best Wines to Pair with Pizza
- 5 Food and Wine Pairings to Practice at Home
- Recommendations for Pairing Wine with Cheese
- Pairing Cuisine with Bordeaux Wines
- Pairing Wines With Asian Food: Top Sommeliers Discuss Their Favorites
- How to Pair Wine with Sushi
- Comfort Foods – This Food, That Wine
Valentine’s Day wines to try, consider a theme night. We’re not talking Disney, or ‘into the jungle’. We’re talking travel themes — there’s nothing more romantic than an Italian or Spanish-inspired wine tasting experience. Think seafood pasta and Frank Sinatra with Italian wines, or Rioja specialties with tapas and flamenco tunes. This can be especially memorable if you base your tasting on a recent trip, or one you’d like to take when travel picks up once again. Pulling out your photos of the French Riviera to match your French tasting, or cozying up while digging into a map of wineries in South Africa (your dream trip) can be a real bonding experience. Your theme can also be wines from a specific state, region, or country, organic wines, or wines by color, style, or intensity. And don’t forget, a Champagne, Cava, or Prosecco tasting can be especially romantic!
Hit up your local wine store. It’s amazing how much you can learn from a wine store employee, manager or owner. If you’re not sure where to begin, visit your local wine shop. Explain you’d like to do a tasting at home, and ask for advice and recommendations.
From your local winery to Airbnb experiences to wine hubs around the world, everyone is offering different wine experiences via Instagram live, Zoom and even Twitter these days. This is an excellent way to either support your local wine providers or enjoy a virtual trip around the world. For example, Insider’s Travel, based in Spain, offers Spanish Saturdays, virtual wine tastings that include tapas preparations with wine artist and cuisine connoisseur Raúl Orantes that will take you right to the sherry vines of Seville or Barcelona’s winding Gothic streets.
At worst, get together with some friends or family and all get the same bottle(s) or subscription boxes, and do your very own DIY virtual tasting.
Intimate and Unique Wine Experiences
If you’re looking for something a little different, there are plenty of cool ways to celebrate love with wine. Check out your local winery and shops to see if they offer any types of special tastings, tours, events, or excursions. Some fun wine experiences to consider are:
- A wine picnic. Weather-permitting, this could occur at a local winery, nearby park, or even your very own yard. Get creative with picnic food items, and enjoy this alfresco culinary and wine experience.
- Wine with animals. This may sound weird, but horseback riding and wine is a fun way to experience nature while also sipping on your favorite varieties. Especially when it can be done at the base of Mt. Vesuvius.
- Boat rides with wine. Tasting doesn’t have to be done at a bar or kitchen table. Do it out on the open seas, or better yet, on the Douro River in Portugal. If closer to home is easier, consider a sunset and wine sailing charter. If you’re interested in activities like these and looking for something local to you, don’t hesitate to contact our team of travel experts at [email protected]. We’ll help you arrange a guided wine experience regardless of location (if it’s available) free of charge, you’ll only be responsible for our operating partner’s fees!
And, depending where you’re located, you may be able to take advantage of one of these unique wine tasting experiences around the world: a vintage filling station winery in California, an underwater winery in Croatia, or an ice winery in Canada.
Valentine’s Day with Kids and Pets
If you don’t have the option to relax with a significant other, or are alone on Valentine’s Day with your cat or children, don’t worry! There are still ways you can celebrate the holiday.
With pets: Drinking if your dog or cat is home means you’re not boozing alone. Grab a glass of your favorite variety, then pick up some dog and cat wine from PetWinery to give your furry loved ones a special treat too. From ‘Meow and Chandon’ to ‘Bark Brew,’ your pets can indulge in some non-alcoholic, pet-safe ‘wines’ along with you.
RELATED: 9 Tips To Have an Ideal Family Wine Country Vacation
With kids: You can involve your kids in the fun of wine tasting without the actual wine (for them, at least). Teach them about blind tastings. Buy different kinds of food, candy, and snack items and blindfold your child. Have them smell each item and try to guess what it is. This would be a great time to also discuss different tastes, like bitter, acidic, sweet, and savory. Then, have them taste each item, and guess not only what they’re sampling, but also the taste group. You can also do this with non-alcoholic beverages, such as different types of juice, milk, water, soda, and decaf coffee or tea/herbal infusions. You’ll get them excited about the idea of classifying different smells and tastes — and who knows? You may have a future sommelier on your hands!