Wine and Travel: The Perfect Pairing for Travel Belles and other "Normal People"

Meet Your Virtual Wine Travel Guide

We are thrilled to introduce you to Elizabeth Schneider of the blog Wine for Normal People,  who each 4th Wednesday of the month will enlighten us about two of our favorite things: wine and travel.

Wine and Travel: The Perfect Pairing for Travel Belles and other "Normal People"

Elizabeth Schneider will be joining Travel Belles every 4th Wednesday to talk about wine and travel.

Before I became an ultra wine dork, I was in love with travel.  And my love was well-timed. Living in Boston in the late 90s/early ‘00s, it was less expensive for me to hop a plane to Europe and stay there for a week than it was for me to travel within the US. As any travel-lover would, I took advantage.

[pullquote]Let’s be honest, as much as I love the stuff, there’s more to life than just wine. It’s only one aspect of any travel experience. [/pullquote]I had a ball Eur-railing through Europe…completely oblivious to the fact that I was bullet-training my way past some of the most amazing vineyards in the world. It was a few years into my fun travels that I started to get serious about wine. I realized that I’d traipsed through France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Spain and missed the chance to see and taste some of the most unique and fantastic wines in the world (ah, what a fool I was! So close to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, yet so far…).

Yes, I have a bit of regret that I didn’t explore wine regions or drink better when I was more footloose and fancy free (and the dollar bought you lots more for your money!), but even now that I’m a Certified Sommelier, wine writer, podcaster (is that even a word?) and educator, I wouldn’t change much.

Wine and Travel: The Perfect Pairing for Travel Belles and other "Normal People"

Let’s be honest, as much as I love the stuff, there’s more to life than just wine. It’s only one aspect of any travel experience. Would I have skipped the Sistene Chapel in Rome, Oktoberfest in Germany, or the Vienna Boys Choir perform on Christmas Eve so I could exclusively visit local wineries and vineyards? Not a chance. But I may have skipped a late night out and the resulting need for sleeping in so I could spend a day experiencing the country’s culture and history through its wines. My intent is to make sure you do what I didn’t.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that my love for travel is tightly connected to my love for wine and I bet yours is too. I find that many of us travelers also love wine. Why? Because as travelers we’re naturally curious. We’re explorers. We want to know about and experience the world.  Ultimately that’s also what wine loving is about.

I can think of few things that allow you to virtually travel the world and learn about other cultures and places in the way that wine does. After all, wine is about people and history and about something much bigger than “notes of raspberry” or “hints of tobacco.” If you’re willing to do more than chug the stuff, you can actually taste the result of climate, terrain, and culture in a glass.

Wine and Travel: The Perfect Pairing for Travel Belles and other "Normal People"

Wines in the tasting room at Henri Bourgeois on display with pieces of the rocks found in the unique soil of Sancerre in France's Loire Valley

With a bit of reading and trying, you’ll find that the act of drinking wine is a form of travel. You learn how “place” is even more important than the grape itself, often opening the door for you to learn about the geography, culture, and food of those regions all without leaving your couch! Then one day if you actually get a chance to visit these places, they become so much more meaningful because you knew them before visiting.

With all due respect to wine obsessives, I think “wine travel” is for a small handful of people. How many rows of grapes, crusher/destemmers, and rooms of oak barrels or stainless steel tanks can you look at before you’ve had enough? What most people who like wine want to do is tack on a day or two to visit wineries and vineyards. This augments your visit to the see the Spanish masters in the Prado of Madrid or the opera house in Sydney.

So given that, in this monthly feature we’ll talk about how to do just that – how to integrate wine and travel for “normal people” who like wine and want to learn a bit more about it. That way if you’re traveling to a region and want to add wine to your trip, you’ll know what to do, or if you’re not, you can take a virtual trip from home by learning about wines from a new place. Instead of details on winemaking or flavors, we’ll talk about what the wine can tell you about a place, keeping out the dorky stuff, but giving you enough information to appreciate the place, the people, the history, and the good stuff in your glass.

I’m looking forward to our travels in the wine world together. I hope you are too!

* Top photo provided by the author. Wine photos by Margo Millure, all rights reserved. ©

Wine and Travel: The Perfect Pairing for Travel Belles and other "Normal People"

Elizabeth Schneider

Wine and Travel: The Perfect Pairing for Travel Belles and other "Normal People"

Latest posts by Elizabeth Schneider (see all)

Wine and Travel: The Perfect Pairing for Travel Belles and other "Normal People"

Subscribe

Comments

  1. Tuula says

    Lovely introduction – great outlook on wine & travel. There’s so much to enjoy about both without getting too caught-up in the details. Stop, sip a bit…repeat as needed. Really looking forward to this series & thanks for letting us learn a bit more about you!

  2. says

    Elizabeth, what a great article! I had never really thought about wine as a way to experience different places and cultures. I’m looking forward to reading your future TTB posts and learning more about wine with you!

  3. says

    I’m a huge fan of visiting wineries around the world and learning more about local wine production (plus getting to say “I’ve been to that winery” when someone opens a bottle back home!) so am really looking forward to seeing which destinations you choose and getting a few more suggestions to add to my travel wish list!

  4. says

    Thanks to everyone for your support and comments. I’m so excited to be working with The Travel Belles and I hope you guys like what we’ve got in store for you. I’m so open to suggestions and ideas, so if there’s anything you’ve been wondering about regarding wine or wine regions/travel, please send me an email or drop a comment here or Wine For Normal People/ The Travel Belles’ Facebook pages and we’ll get it on the list!

    Thanks a million and looking forward to our virtual travels together!

    Elizabeth Schneider

  5. says

    SO glad you’re sharing your experiences and lessons-learned with us. :-) It is such a treasure to find balance in our travels – seeing sights, getting to know people, and tasting our way through one country after another. I look forward to hearing more of your stories. :-)