While we all had ups and downs (let me tell you!) I wanted to share our experience with Wine tasting with a toddler...
- Don't go in for the fancy nighttime meal. There's nothing worse than spending almost $100 on the really fancy meal then not going to the really fancy meal. Regardless of the best of intentions I can almost guarantee that after travel, the excitment of a new place, and despite the best laid plans that all hell will break loose and the night you are supposed to go to the fancy dinner you will not. It's not inclusive, it's probably not a great meal anyways, and even if you did make it out of the house you might be worried rather than happy.
- Leave to go wine tasting at nap-time. Especially if you still have a morning nap. Wineries are often far from each other, so this way you can drive the longest distance, let the little one sleep in the car, then have the rest of the afternoon before nap #2 to head back to base camp. If you only have one nap, I suggest starting close by, heading out far right as naptime starts, then working your way back to base camp.
- Have a designated parent. This could be the designated driver. Or it could be a different parent throughout the day. But it's really key to have one person both designated as the 'more sober one' and the 'officially watching' one. Wineries are busy places, and they serve a lot more wine to you than you might realize. Even if neither of you are the DD, one of you needs to stay in control in case there is a toddler emergency. Additionally, between the patio, the grass and the place where you get the tasting, it's helpful to know constantly who's officially on watch.
- Visit wineries with grassy areas or patios. We went to J.Lohr, and a few other larger wineries. As long as they had an outdoor patio- we were golden. The problem comes in when you try to bring the kids indoors. Where there are people waiting in line for the wine, and chochskies for them to break. So, keep it outdoors and you are golden.
- Do bring LOTS of food, and stop for lunch. I'm sure you know about this advice for yourself, when drinking eat a lot. However, it's even more important with the kiddos. Lots of wineries have cheese to try with the wine, and on a nice weekend with a designated driver this might seem fine. For your kids, it's a different story. They need a meal, something related to what they normally eat, and the stability of sitting down to do it.
- Give them a sip if you want to. I have absolutely no judgement here. When we do Shabbat EG gets a sip of wine, so when we were out I gave her one or two moments. Just be careful, since there are judgy people, and no one wants to be going to the hospital because of a broken glass (winery glassware is notoriously cheap).
- Rent a house/cabin if you can. If there are cabin or house options where you are, go for it! Rather than a hotel, which is only one room, having the extra space a cabin or house provides can be wonderful for the kids. While you are napping off the morning drinking the kids can be running through the house, working through some of that energy
Moral of the story, just do it! It's fun, and awesome, and a chance to enjoy being an adult while still being a parent.