Wine Tasting Attire: What to Wear in Wine Country

  • General
  • by WINECOUNTRY COLLECTIVE
  • on FEBRUARY 22, 2023
  • 163078
  • 0
General

Wine Tasting Attire: What to Wear in Wine Country

By WineCountry Collective February 22, 2023

Heels or flats? Dress shirt or t-shirt? Sun dress or jeans? White pants or… oh, you’re brave. If you’re going wine tasting, you might be a little unsure about what to do when it comes to dressing the part in Wine Country—especially when terms like “Wine Country Casual” and “Napa Valley Chic” come into play.

While there are seldom strict dress codes in Wine Country, we realize the topic of ‘wine tasting attire’ can be a bit confusing, so we’re sharing our best tips to ensure you look and feel good for your trip!

TIP 1: WEAR LAYERS

We put this tip first because it’s super important to bring layers for a day of wine tasting, even if the weather is supposed to be in the high 80s. Why? Because daily temperatures can fluctuate significantly in Wine Country, depending on how close to the coast you are or how high in the mountains. But also because some tastings and tours take place in cooler spaces like barrel rooms and caves, which are notoriously cold (around 55 degrees) to ensure the quality of the wine. When you are outdoors—particularly in the warmer months—it’s also smart to have a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen on hand, and even a breathable, light sweater to keep you safe from the sun, since you can’t always count on shade from umbrellas.

Unsplash+
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash+

TIP 2: CHOOSE WISELY BETWEEN HEELS OR FLATS

Some vineyards have parking lots, manicured walkways, and seated indoor tastings, in which case heels (or better yet, wedges) would work just fine. For the most part though, you can’t count on flat, level surfaces when wine tasting, as some wineries conduct tastings in grassy picnic areas, while standing at bar counters, or in basement level cellars (hello, stairs). Wearing comfortable shoes that can handle soft grass, wine stains, and uneven surfaces are key when wine tasting, as are closed toed shoes for those wineries that let you venture into the vineyards. If you’re on the fence, just slip a pair of flats into your purse as a back-up. There’s nothing worse than sore feet when you’re trying to enjoy yourself, so alternative options are always a good idea.

TIP 3: LADIES, FIND A MIDDLE GROUND

For the ladies out there who are worried about being over or underdressed, strike a balance! A blouse and blue jeans with wedges can look modern and effortless. A dress with a jean jacket and cowboy boots can look country chic. Use your style to express yourself, knowing that you’ll likely be indoors and out and in a variety of settings during a day of wine tasting. If you’re still a little unsure, try bringing a different pair or shoes, a scarf, or fancier earrings along with you. That way, you can dress up or down depending on how you feel once you reach your destination. Of course, if you plan to follow your wine tasting experience by going straight to a fancy Michelin-starred restaurant, you’ll want to wear something that can be dressed up.

Unsplash+
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash+

TIP 4: WHAT ABOUT THE GUYS?

Golf attire and button down shirts are always safe options for men. Stylish, dark wash jeans are acceptable too, but making a little more effort will ensure that you’ll fit in wherever you go. As mentioned in Tip 2, closed toed shoes are always a better choice versus flip flops, but if all the wineries you plan to go to are super casual, kid- and dog-friendly places, then casual shoes are a fine choice. Just be sure to nix the cologne (we’ll elaborate on the latter).

TIP 5: LET THE WINE BE THE ONLY THING YOU SMELL

Smell, taste, sight. All of these senses go into a well-rounded wine tasting experience. This means you should factor in what you put on your body. Perfumes, colognes, and scented body lotion can interfere with the subtleties that make wine so divine. There’s nothing worse than trying to take in a wine’s delicate aromas only for it to be masked by the smell of a fellow taster’s strong cologne.

Grand Reserve at Meritage
Photo Courtesy of Grand Reserve at Meritage

TIP 6: THINK TWICE ABOUT THE LIPSTICK

Ask anyone in the wine hospitality industry and they’ll probably say that cleaning lipstick off wine glasses is a thorn in their side. Even industrial cleaners have a hard time removing lipstick from glasses. If lipstick is part of your signature look, maybe go easy on it while wine tasting, or find a tinted chapstick that won’t leave as much of a mark.

TIP 7: CHOOSE YOUR COLORS WISELY

Unless you’re only sipping white wine all day, spills are something you need to factor in. Wearing darker colors can help camouflage any mishaps. Even if you’re extra careful, the person next to you may overindulge and spill a glass, or the wine bottle may drip after the server pours a taste into your glass. These things happen, so plan accordingly… but if you really want to rock white or lighter colors, go for it! In the end it’s just clothing, and depending on your personality, it could be a fun challenge to see if you can make it the whole day without a red stain.

Unsplash+
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash+

DECODING ‘WINE COUNTRY CASUAL’

There’s no standard definition for this rather vague term, but typically “Wine Country Casual” is somewhere between resort casual and business casual. For women, sundresses, blouses, and skirts all fall into this category, as do white jeans or nicer jeans with wedges. For the men, short-sleeved dress shirts, golf shirts, and khaki pants or nice jeans all work. A long-sleeved button down with dressier shorts and boat shoes are fine, too.

DEFINING ‘WINE COUNTRY CHIC’ AND ‘NAPA VALLEY CHIC’

Unsplash+
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash+

Many people who go wine tasting are on vacation, and the general tendency is to spruce things up a bit when it comes to dressing the part on vacation. After all, you’ll likely be taking lots of photos! “Napa Valley Chic” is simply “Wine Country Casual” on a fashionable vacation. Women will likely want to wear a dress or dress slacks with heels or nice flats, while men can opt for slacks and a jacket or sport coat (without a tie). Think sophisticated and elegant, not urban or flashy, and you’ll be fine.

Conclusion

We hope these tips on what to wear wine tasting will help you confidently find the perfect outfit for any day or night in Wine Country! But before you book that wine tasting trip to Napa Valley or Sonoma County, be sure to check out our WineCountry Hotel Perks for exclusive deals and special offers, including complimentary room upgrades, 2-for-1 wine tastings, spa credits, and more. We think that where you stay should be given as much thought as what you wear in Wine Country, so pack well, sleep well, and have fun. Cheers!