As a professional sommelier who travels frequently for work (I’m actually on a plane as I type this), my business trips are more likely to take place in tasting rooms than conference rooms. Wine travel is a big part of my job, and I admit that jet-setting all over the world to visit glorious vineyard properties and meet with winemakers is a massive perk of the gig! However, it can also be totally grueling. Sometimes I’ve tasted over 100 wines before lunch--- and if I’m in a wine region for a limited amount of time I try to cram in as many meetings as possible, so sometimes I’m seeing as many as 5 or 6 wineries in a single day.
Now that I have a ton of friends that are planning bachelorette weekends in Napa and wine honeymoons in Italy with similar action-packed wine tasting itineraries, I thought it was perfect timing to share some of the tips I’ve curated over the years to feeling energized (and looking picture-perfect) through your whole wine trip. I keep a travel kit well-stocked and ready to throw in my suitcase at a moment’s notice--- and today I’m spilling the contents to show you exactly #howitravel.
The #1 thing I cannot say enough: hydration is your friend. Drink way more water than you think you need! This will help you power through hangovers, jet lag, hot vineyard hikes, and marathon wine dinners.
A surge of vitamin energy that will boost your immune system if the jet lag and all-day-drinking are taking a toll. Keep a couple packets in your purse--- if you need an afternoon pick-me-up and there’s no Starbucks or Stumptown remotely in sight, you can shake up one of these in your water bottle.
3. Sheet Masks
I love love love these things. I keep several in my kit, and the first thing I do when I arrive at a hotel is throw a couple into the mini-fridge in my room. Putting on a chilled mask full of hydrating and revitalizing beauty serum is the best thing in the morning for that Insta-worthy glow.
4. Energy Shots
These are excellent before dinner after an epic wine tasting day --- especially if all the rosé got you feeling sluggish and/or tipsy.
5. DeTox Tea
Do this right before bed to help your body break down any toxins from the day while you sleep. Added bonus: you’ll wake up less puffy.
Same rule as water: plan on more than you think you will need.
You need something to record all the tasting notes you’ll be documenting!
8. Cucumber Eye Pads
Perfect puffy-eye hangover solution.
9. iPhone Portable Charger
Take if from someone who knows: the last thing you want when you’re gazing upon a perfect Tuscan sunset is your phone dying! I love my charger and it’s rescued a photo opp time and again. Mine was a steal on Amazon.
10. Pure Energy Drink Packets
I like these sugar-free packets from Crystal Light because they do have a dose of caffeine. If you’re jet lagged and need a little jolt to get moving in the morning and coffee and breakfast are a ways out, these are clutch.
I usually keep Lara Bars and roasted almonds on hand for low-blood-sugar travel moments… wine country is simply not as much fun if you’re hangry.
12. Facial Spray
To refresh and revive on a hot day of vineyard-hiking.
THIS. Stick sunblock is fantastic because it usually makes it through the TSA screening a lot easier than lotion form.
14. Allergy Meds
I like to pack a Zyrtec tab just in case. A vineyard is a farm after all--- and there are tons of pollens and natural debris flying around that can wreak havoc on the allergy-prone among us (especially us city folk!)
15. Sleeping Pills
This may be controversial, but in my experience a little dose of Tylenol PM has been very helpful when fighting jet lag and trying to sleep through the night.
16. International Outlet Adapter
This should live in your suitcase. Yes, different countries have different power outlet shapes and I learned the hard way that if you’re in a remote area, these can be really difficult to find if you forget yours (no such thing as a CVS down the road when you’re in a tiny European town!)
Other items I recommend: a Bluetooth travel speaker is a fun addition so you can pump the Rihanna with your girls in the hotel while getting ready to go out for the night. If you’re a fashionista, pack a mini travel iron-- in my experience, often you won’t be provided with an iron if you’re in an Air BnB or a small European inn. And you should definitely bring a hat! Check out our guide to wine country fashion essentials here. Here’s to a healthy, happy wine tasting adventure!