Central Coast Wine Insider Blog

Cookies and Wine: Perfect Holiday Pairings!

Want to add the perfect sip of wine to your Holiday cookie ritual? Breakaway Tours has got you covered!

 

butter cookiesButter Cookies and Chardonnay

The buttery cookie pairs well with the smooth oak and vanilla in the Chardonnay. It’s a deliciously rich pair!

 

Chocolate Chip  and Cabernet Sauvignonchocolate chip cookies

America’s favorite Red and Americas favorite Cookie. Use a dark chocolate chip to draw out the deep flavors in this Bordeaux bottle.

 

gingerbread cookiesGingerbread Cookies and Dry Riesling

The slightly sweet and crisp Dry Riesling balances nicely with the spice in the gingerbread.

 

Oatmeal Raisin and Syrahoatmeal raisin cookies

The savory, salty oatmeal compliments the big fruit in the Syrah.

 

pb cookiesPeanut Butter and Port

This combo is as close to an adult PB&J as you can get! The roasted salt in the Peanut Butter and the sweet, deep, dessert wine are made for each other.

 

Shortbread  and Champagneshortbread cookies

This classic British cookie is a perfect fit for classic French bubbly!

 

molasses cookiesSoft Molasses Cookies and Pinot Noir

This rich and chewy cookie goes well with the bright acidity and berry flavors in the Pinot Noir.

 

Sugar Cookies and Proseccosugar cookies

The bright, crisp effervescence of this sparkling wine balance the sugar and butter in this Holiday staple.

 

thumbprint cookiesThumbprint Cookies and Merlot

The jam in these Cookies is echoed in this smoothest of Reds.

 

Oreo and Malbecoreop cookies

Ok, so Oreo’s don’t make it onto many Holiday Cookie lists, but who doesn’t love an Oreo? The rich earthiness of this South American varietal keeps up with that big chocolate crunch.

 

A cookie and wine party sounds like the perfect gathering for kids and adults alike (with sparkling cider for the kiddos, of course!) Let us know what your favorite combo is!

 

 


About

Wine Tour in Santa Barbara County

Private Wine Tour in Santa Barbara

Wine Tours on California’s Central Coast

Welcome to Wine Country on California’s Central Coast! Here at Breakaway Tours and Event Planning, we’re passionate about wine and sharing it with others. We’ve been Uncorking it since 1995!

We specialize in Deliciously Fun, Educational Wine Tours in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.For an afternoon, all day, or the weekend, we have a wine tour for you.

Wine Tours, Private & Scheduled

In 1995, before the term “Wine Tourism” was coined, ahead of the industry and with keen vision, Breakaway Tours began leading “Deliciously Fun, Educational Wine Tours” in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Beginning with Custom Wine Tours & Events for small private parties to large corporate and social groups and in 2009 adding Scheduled Wine Tours for the individual or couple; priced by the person with easy on‐line booking.

Specialty Tours & Experiences

Our Specialty Tours include in-depth Wine Education Options, including Blind Tasting, Cause ‘n Effect, Blending Trials, Winery Tours and Vineyard Walks. For groups we also serve Hearst Castle Tours, Combination Castle & Wine Tours, Zip ‘n Sip Wine Tours, Private Winery Dinners, Culinary Tours and more… All available from the most experienced, connected, trusted and respected wine tour operator on the Central Coast.

Our wine tour business quickly grew to encompass all aspects of wine and culinary tourism including destination management. Today our long term relationships afford our guests access and privileges within the wine industry that no other wine tour operator can provide. We are considered the premier wine tour company on the Central Coast with an emphasis on Corporate and Incentive Groups. Our level of service has earned us Rave Reviews and high rankings across the board.

We focus on Wine Education but you won’t find any wine snobs or geeks here; we look to dispel the intimidation that can follow wine tasting. We will tailor the level of education to meet your needs and interests; whether you’re a novice or enthusiast. We welcome you to put our reputation to work for you and look forward to having you on board soon!

Until then ~ Cheers!


Tasting Treks 101

TRsignThe image of the wine country visitor sidling confidently up to the wine bar, her swirling technique down pat, is an iconic one. But the reality is, it’s not always clear what to do, and – perhaps more critically – what not to do once you’ve arrived at the tasting room. Herein, tips on how to ace this vinous activity.

The Itinerary
The majority of wineries on the Central Coast are open to the general public 5-7 days a week depending on the season, but some are only open on weekends or by appointment; call ahead to ensure you’re able to go where you want.

This goes for groups, especially. Most wineries need to make special arrangements for groups of 6 or more, and some are not able to accommodate groups at all. Special arrangements may be needed for large vehicles such as limousines and tour buses, too.

Tours are offered at many wineries, and reservations for these activities are often strongly advised or even required. Especially on busy weekends, calling ahead to reserve tours or private tastings is essential.

Touring wine country with kids can be a fun family activity, and kid-friendly wineries abound, but call first to make sure the spots where you plan to stop fit this category. Same goes for your four-legged fuzzy kids.

Be Prepared    TR1
Wearing comfortable and casually elegant clothing to tasting rooms sets the tone for a sophisticated outing and is a sign of respect for wineries. You should always be comfortable,

Be sure to take weather-appropriate gear (e.g. jackets and sturdy shoes during the rainy season; lighter clothing, hats and sunscreen in peak summer periods), especially if outdoor activities like vineyard treks and picnics are on your agenda.

Don’t wear perfume or heavily scented cologne to tasting rooms; the scents can overwhelm the subtle aromas in wine – and interfere with your own and others’ experience.

Quick note on decorum: Wineries are wineries, not bars. Although alcohol is being served, it’s a relaxed and conversational environment. Save loud banter and raucous activities for later!
                
The Nitty Gritty 
Fees to taste are standard operating procedure at most wineries, though some still offer complimentary or very low-cost tastes. Many will waive tasting fees with a wine purchase (which takes some of the sting out of higher fees), so be sure to inquire about such incentives.

Splitting a tasting with a companion is acceptable, especially in light of ever-higher fees and a need to avoid becoming overly inebriated. It’s also a great way to stoke debate about the wines between you and your pal.

Splurge for a reserve tasting – when available, an optional sampling of a winery’s higher-end or limited production wines – if you’re interested in getting to know a spot’s more rare and exclusive offerings.
 
TR2The Technique
It goes without saying that tasting is largely about having fun. But for those looking to glean the most from the wines on pour, swirling is a great way to stoke (read: aerate) wine’s myriad aromas. For maximum control, place your glass on a flat surface and swirl while grasping the stem.

When tasting, hold glasses by the stem rather than the bowl; holding them by the bowl coats glasses in greasy fingerprints and can disturb the temperature of the wine (ideally it’s been poured at just the right temp).

Inhale deeply before taking a sip; wine’s aromas comprise one of its most beguiling offerings! Upon drinking, swirl the wine around in your mouth to ensure it coats all the surfaces; we pick up different texture and flavor sensations in different parts of our mouths.

Taste white and lighter wines before heavier wines, such as bold reds, and save the sweetest wines for last. This ensures the boldest and sweetest wines don’t overwhelm the more delicate ones you sip first. Wineries know their wines best and will structure your tasting experience to present all the wines in the best light.
                                         
The Quantity  
Pacing yourself is a critical if not often talked about aspect of tasting. Build moderation into your day by selecting a manageable three or four wineries to visit. Incorporating activities like tours and a big lunch breaks up the day and ensures you do more than just drink.

When at wineries, make use of  tasting buckets (dump buckets) – ask for one if it’s not at the ready. Spitting all or a portion of the wine you taste will help you to remain alert and get the most out of your experience. Never feel obliged to finish a taste.

Keep tabs on how much you’re consuming. Typically, wineries dispense tastes in the size of one-ounce pours. As a reference point, there are four to six ounces of wine in a typical glass; know your limit and spit or stop when you’ve reached it.

Drink plenty of water to stave off dehydration

Always have a designated driver, or better yet – let Breakaway Tours take the wheel!

The Buy   
Purchasing wines you’ve enjoyed is a great way to keep the memory going once you’re back at home. Make sure you’re aware of shipping laws applyingTR4 to your state if you need to ship wine back home; if you’re flying, consult your airline about weight, quantity and liquid restrictions. Tasting rooms are well equipped to help you figure out if shipping is a viable option for you, so feel free to ask!

Again, tasting fees may be waived or reduced if you purchase wine on your visit. Be sure to inquire about such incentives; you may find that you spend the same amount or only slightly than you would for a tasting by purchasing a bottle. Tasting rooms exist to sell you wine.

Most wineries have wine clubs that offer periodic shipments of wine on an ongoing basis. Besides the wines that come with memberships, benefits and perks abound. These may include complimentary tastings, release parties, access to limited release wines,  and discounts on wine purchases.  Don’t hesitate to ask about membership price, quantities shipped, when they’re shipped, and any other perks that might be included.

Following these tips should ensure a smooth wine country visit and – even better – afford you the ability to focus on making memories rather than sweating the details.

 

Cheers to that!


Dads and Grads

Fathersday1It’s that time of year. Spring has sprung and we’re already feeling the warm winds of summer that drive us on outdoor adventures, and in search of WINE!

What better way to celebrate this magical time of year with your favorite Dads and Grads than with a fully guided and curated tour of one of the Central Coast’s incredible wine regions?

Show your love and appreciation for Dad with a day tour through Grad1Santa Ynez (He loved Sideways, right?). Celebrate the milestone of your favorite College Grad with a trek through Paso Robles in search of the perfect Cabernet! With both private and scheduled tour options, you can bring along the party or make new friends along the way.

This year Father’s Day (June 21st) coincides with Passport Weekend in Paso Robles, so many wineries, restaurants, and other activities have planned special events.  Want to Paint while sipping an amazing Zinfandel? Sample BBQ wile listening to local music? Check out Paso Robles Wine Country for details on specifics.

So, whether you’re celebrating that special Dad or Grad in your life, or are on the hunt for an early summer adventure, look no further than Breakaway Tours & Event Planning to make your getaway one to remember!

 

 


New Central Coast Wine Blog!

breakaway tours blogNew Central Coast Wine Blog!

Hello from Jill and everyone at Breakaway Tours! Here we are pleased to offer you all the latest information about our Scheduled and Specialty tours, local winery events and happenings, and educational tidbits from the heart of the Central Coast wine regions!

Here’s what we have planned –

Live in the Field – Video’s from actual wine tours! Be there with us as you see guests enjoying the wines of Paso Robles, Edna Valley, and Santa Ynez. Step on to your own virtual coach with our guides and get a first hand view of the experience!

Tour du Jour – First Dibs on New, Seasonal, and even One-time tour offerings, such as our specialty tour designed for the Paso Robles Wine Festival and our new monthly Benefit series (coming soon)!

Wine Tasting 411 –  Do you want to know how to taste like a pro? Do you already know the Six S’s of Wine Tasting? This series of informational posts will have you enjoying your wine tasting experience more than ever. Also planned – and in depth look at some of your favorite varietals.

What else would you like us to cover, as your eyes and ears from the Happiest Place on Earth? Drop us a comment below and then subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss a thing!

Cheers!

Jill