How to Go Wine Tasting with Toddlers

How to Go Wine Tasting with Toddlers

wine tasting with toddlersSunlight refracts through the glass, casting ruby red shadows over the burnished wood bar. The limo idles in the long driveway, ready to whisk you off to the next vineyard. The musty smell of grapes soaks into your pores, coaxing you to relax.

Then there comes a loud BAM! CRASH! Your 2 year old starts screaming. Ah, yes. I’ve had that nightmare too about going wine tasting with toddlers. But does it need to be that way?

A tacit parental agreement seems to be to forego the pleasures of the Double-Income-No-Kid lifestyle once your little bundle of joy arrives. But why do we impose such strictures on ourselves? Should we not expose our kids to things we enjoy so they can know us as people, not just as parents?

I am not suggesting a sophisticated gallery opening or black-tie-only dinner. How about an experience that combines the great outdoors for them with a refreshing adult twist for you? Most vineyards start as farms, complete with large open spaces and animals to entertain little ones. Most places will also let you take your glass and wander a little while sampling their wares. Many even have family-friendly bonfires, barbecues, etc.

It took me 2 years and 9 months to try wine tasting with my daughter. Do not wait that long. Grab your generous pour and let’s head to the vineyards. I think you will find, as I did, wine tasting with toddlers and kids is much more pleasant and acceptable than you expect.

Tip #1: Wear sturdy shoes

As I mentioned, vineyards are also often farms or ranches. Excellent for seeing animals but some kids (*my daughter*) forget that not all animals are tame. We have encountered several chickens who peck at tiny fingers, goats who nibble on beloved Elmo-friends, and horses who have tried to open a Paw Patrol backpack, just to reach the apple inside.

Besides the tooth issue, consider the secondary effects of animals. Say you happen to choose an organic farm; prepare yourself psychologically for the sheer amount of scatalogical humor. “Mama, it’s poop!” Yup. Leave the stilettos at home.

Tip #2: Bring sunscreen

Sitting outside on a patio while sipping a cool rose sounds ideal. Lathering up your crying toddler in slippery aloe vera while keep falling in said good is not ideal. You will be outside if you bring your toddlers wine tasting with you.

Tip #3: Bring friends.

Your friends, their friends, stuffed or plastic. The more distractions, the more opportunity for you to sample all 5 wines and try their special chocolate boot filled with dark, sweet port. Besides, don’t you want to share the love a little?

Tip #4: Choose a winery that offers food.

Generally if they offer a restaurant or food trucks, the vineyard will be more family-friendly. Many vineyards now offer games or a playground, too.

Tip #5: Don’t pick a free tasting or reservations-only

Free tastings generally attract a certain crowd. This certain crowd tends to get rowdy, or inappropriate for young eyes. Reservations-only establishments also tend to attract a certain crowd. They do not always cotton well to 2 year olds who loudly demand to watch videos on your phone.

Tip #6: Ask the locals

Chances are, the people at your hotel or vacation rental are local, and have family in the area. What better people to ask about where would be a family friendly vineyard?

Tip #7: Relax

I waited more than 2 years worrying how my daughter would respond, whether she would distract people, whether I would actually get to try any wine or would I spend the entire time corralling her. None of these things happened. The tasting rooms welcomed her. Several other kids played with her, and we all had a fabulous time. Enjoy yourself.

My favorite California Wineries for Kids

folktale winery with kidsFolktale Winery in Carmel. Honestly, I would pay for an overnight babysitter just to go back to Carmel and visit this vineyard. There would be no need, though, because from the food to the entertainment and open lawn, this place is completely kid friendly. So sit back, enjoy your sparkling wine, and order a wood-fired flatbread while your toddler plays foosball.  Everything you eat and drink will be memorable, and your children will have a great time. Best place for wine tasting with toddlers and kids.

fazeli winery with kids

Fazeli winery in Temecula. Although the wine admittedly is not my favorite, you cannot beat the ambiance of a Tuscan-style villa set amid the rolling hills of Temecula. Just a short day trip from either Palm Springs, San Diego, or Los Angeles, the food at Fazeli compensates for the quaffable glasses of wine. Little V enjoyed a donut aperitif before the ham and cheese sandwich arrived alongside the delicious Baba Joon Persian tacos.

Longshadow Ranch in Temecula. Though the wines are drinkable, the kid-friendly atmosphere wins as the most kid-friendly winery in Temecula. Children seem welcomed even from the start. You park next to the tasting room which sits directly across from a jungle gym and multiple animal enclosures. You can bring your tasting along with you as you meet the horses, goats, and cows. They also serve port in a chocolate boot, but don’t tell them I told you 😉

Cass Winery in Paso Robles. Full disclosure: I have not actually been to this winery YET with my daughter. I have, though, met the vintner who assured me that this winery is very kid- and pet-friendly. I bring it up because they have delicious wine. You really cannot go wrong here. From the Marsanne to the Mourvedre, every grape is just delicious. If you find the TED wine, do not let it go. I will get here as soon as I can find a free weekend to visit Paso Robles.

Now, I have not unfortunately managed to go further North to visit the famous wineries around Napa and San Francisco. Fortunately, my friend from Henry and Andrew’s Guide has put together The Ultimate List of Kid-Friendly Wineries in the Bay Area. She’s given me some very good ideas.

Final Thoughts on How to Go Wine Tasting with Toddlers

Where do you like to go with your kids? Have you tried wine tasting with them? I have been thinking a lot about taking my daughter to Portugal–anyone know if the Douro is kid-friendly?

wine tasting with toddlers and kids

 

Two Traveling Texans

24 thoughts on “How to Go Wine Tasting with Toddlers

  1. I don’ have kids, but I have friends with little kids and I think this is really helpful. It’s nice to be able to do something that all ages will enjoy. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  2. I have some doubts that Napa wineries would allow kids on their premises. I have never seen anybody with kids on any of my wine tasting tours. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. Henry and Andrews Guide called over 60 wineries to see which would allow children. I don’t know if they would be on tours, but often we go just for the tasting room.

  3. We went to a brilliant winery in Italy last summer. We spent about 2 hours tasting wine and food while our children played with the owners’s daughter. It was such a lovely afternoon! I definitely agree it’s important to expose kids to these sorts of activities rather than just child-orientated places.

  4. I love wine tastings and I don’t have any kids yet. I never even had the slightest thought of bringing any kid to one of these. However, with these tips I suppose I could manage it one day haha

    #theweeklypostcard

  5. I’m getting to that age where I need to start coming around to the idea of starting a family but I’ve always felt I’d need to give up my spontaneous wandering life to do so. Reading blogs like this are inspiring and make it look like it’s possible to do both! Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    1. i had the same feeling before I had my daughter, but then I realized that if I love travel, so will she. Obviously I don’t give her wine but it’s outdoors and I like to pretend she’s learning about agriculture

  6. Does this work if you’re a kid at heart too? I really want to go to Napa this summer, I haven’t been yet and it’s calling to me. Although, I’m not a huge drinker, in fact I’m a lightweight at best so it might get a bit interesting.

    1. Definitely works for the kids at heart. Napa is great in the summer, but it’s good to take it slow. Otherwise the heat+alcohol combo gets dangerous

    1. I do love wine tasting. Monterey and Solvang/Los Olivos are my favorite weekend road trip wine destinations

  7. Love this idea, I’m sure it’s great fun for the kids to explore the vineyard as well! #blogstravaganza

  8. I was actually thinking the other day how much I want to go to South Africa but with two children it could be hard, some good tips if we do ever go and manage to go wine tasting! x #Blogstravaganza

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