Now that we are into the summer, spending the day wine tasting is the perfect way to spend a Saturday or Sunday, or any day of the week. If you can go wine tasting during the week, you will find it less crowded.

Here are some tips on spending the day tasting.

Plan your visits. Visit wineries clustered together and no more than five ot six a day: two in the morning, one for lunch and two or three in the afternoon. That leaves you time to taste and talk. Go to both small and large places to get a sense of the range of wines produced.

Take a cooler. Pack a picnic lunch in a cooler, and then you’ll have a place to store the wines that you buy, so they don’t cook in the trunk. Most wineries will ship anywhere within the same state, and many across the country now—so think twice before lugging those bottles around: a case of 12 weighs 37 pounds. If you do buy a bottle, get one that’s only available at the winery—and ask the vintner to sign it. To learn more about shipping wine across state lines go to

Avoid strong smells. Perfume, cologne and aftershave all interfere with the wine aromas, so skip them when you’re going to taste.

Wear dark clothing. Even if you’re an expert spitter, the person next to you might not be.

Call ahead. If your favorite winery isn’t open to the public, call to ask if you can drop by anyway. Many will welcome fans by appointment

Go early. Tasting rooms are much less crowded in the mornings before lunch, and less packed on weekdays than weekends. And even though cabernet at 10 a.m. may not sound appealing, your palate is at its best in the morning.

Please share with me some of your wine tasting experiences.