Now that 2013 is in the can and our calendars have been reset, its time to start making drinking plans for the months ahead. From wine weekends at luxury resorts to tastings hosted by some of our favorite winemakers, here’s a list of wine trips we’re hoping to take this year.
February: In Pursuit of Balance
Rajat Parr of Sandhi winery and Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards conceived this bicoastal tasting event to change the conversation about California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Reacting against the state’s reputation of excess in wine (overripe, over-oaked), this event celebrates producers who strive for balance, such as Anthill Farms, Failla, Wind Gap, Copain, Lioco and more. February 4, New York City, $115; inpursuitofbalance.com
March: La Paulée
Daniel Johnnes created this event as an homage to Le Paulee de Meursault, a tasting party that takes place each year in Burgundy. But there’s nothing derivative about Johnnes’s Burgundy-drenched weekend, which brings some of the region’s best producers Stateside to pour and chat with their devoted consumer base. Events include seminars, walk-around tastings and, on the flashy end, a “Legends” dinner that features a ten-vintage vertical of Corton-Charlemagne and Corton-Pougets. March 12 to March 15, San Francisco, $75 to $10,250; lapaulee.com
April: Viña Vik
Experience the harvest season south of the equator at this holistic vineyard, which is set to debut a design-forward boutique hotel in April. Hotelier Alexander Vik brought on Patrick Valette, a former owner of Château Pavie in St. Emilion and a wine consultant, as his winemaker; last summer they released their first vintage, a blend of Carmenere, Syrah, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon and Merlot. Each of the 22 hotel rooms is designed by a contemporary Chilean artist. Hotel set to open April 2014, Millahue, Chile; vik.cl
For the best access to the wines of Bordeaux, there’s no better place to stay than on site. This tour of the region’s greatest hits sets up camp at Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron, and takes participants to on private tastings at top first-growth productions, including a stop at Chateau d’Yquem. May 12 to 17, Bordeaux, $6,200 per person; wine-tours-france.com/bordeaux
June: Food & Wine Classic
Now in its 32nd year, this star-studded weekend bring together the biggest names in food and wine. Take in seminars with Food & Wine magazine’s Ray Isle before tasting dishes from top chefs like Jacques Pepin and Mario Batali. June 20 to 22, Aspen, $1250 for a consumer pass; foodandwine.com/classic
Set against the backdrop of Oregon wine country, this annual event is like summer camp for Pinot lovers. Vineyard tours, alfresco lunches, seminars, an outdoor wild salmon bake and a Pinot tasting featuring more than 70 wineries round out the itinerary. July 25 to 27, McMinville, Oregon, $125 to 975; ipnc.org
August: Outside Lands
Though music is the main draw for this San Francisco weekend, there is an impressive wine program as well. Last year, while Paul McCartney rocked the main stage, wineries including Robert Sinskey, Bedrock Wine Cellars and Turley were on hand pouring their wares. August (dates TBD), San Francisco, $105 to 545; sfoutsidelands.com
September: Schramsberg Harvest Camp
Experience the harvest first hand at this annual autumn excursion with California’s most revered sparkling wine producer. You’ll spend mornings in the fields picking grapes, then break for lunch and a wine tasting. All guests will leave with perfected sabering skills and a firm grasp on pairing champagne with meals. September 7 to 9, St. Helena, $1,200 per person; schramsberg.com/news/campschramsberg
October: Douro River Cruise
Portugal’s wine offerings are increasingly gaining attention beyond the typical after-dinner tipple. Since most of the country’s wine regions sit along the main waterway, the Douro river, wine cruises are an ideal way to experience the offerings. Some outfits have strictly wine-focused itineraries, while others, like AMA Waterways, cross-pollinates with a 15-day excursion that includes winery visits and flamenco shows. October 25 to November 9, embark from Madrid, $4719 per person; amawaterways.com.
November: Wine on the Fly at Blackberry Farm
Wine and fishing might seem like disparate activities, but this weekend at the luxurious Blackberry Farm in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains brings the two together in surprisingly effective harmony. Chef Joseph Lenn and vintner Brain Lamborn of Lamborn Wines in California will create meals and pairings from the fruits of your labor on the river. November 9 to 12, Walland, Tennessee; blackberryfarm.com.
December: 12 Days of Christmas
Throughout the month of December, Napa’s Meadowood resort opens its doors to top chefs from around the world (David Chang, David Kinch and Andy Ricker were on last year’s line up), pairing each of them with a local winery (previous partners have included Harlan Estate, Scribe Winery and Araujo Estate) for a dinner series. These gastronomic one-night stands take place in the property’s stunning three-Michelin-star restaurant, and a portion of the proceeds goes to a different charity each year. Multiple dates throughout December, St. Helena, $395 per person; meadowood/events