This is a guest post by H. Bruce Smith who runs Dry Creek Valley Wine Tours. Bruce suggested that I did not have enough consumer information on WineCountryGetaways.com about the Van-based wine tours vs Limos. Upon review I agreed with Bruce and asked him to provide us with a comparison.
There are many benefits to booking a wine tour with a van-based service. While there are many sizes of vans, the smaller (8-15 passengers) are more likely to be of a personalized experience. Most tour companies of this size are either operated by the owner or knowledgeable staff to perform the tour.
The key word here is “knowledgeable.” Often limo drivers know little or nothing about wine, while van drivers usually are well versed, not only in wine but the region itself. You should choose an experienced tour company if you want to get a better understanding of the wines of a particular wine region.
Some van touring companies go one step further and offer wine tasting tips in order for their clients to better enjoy the tasting experience. While a limo driver may simply wait at the car, a van driver often accompanies the tasters into the winery. They often will introduce you to the winery staff, and if you’re lucky the winemakers themselves.
Much of the fun of wine touring is enjoying the vineyards in a beautiful country setting. Vans are built for this purpose. With large tinted windows and an elevated seat height, you can take in the wine country surroundings. This is in comparison to the low riding limos with small dark windows.
Finally, van-based tour companies are likely to offer complete packages. This can cover everything including a full lunch and all tasting fees. Your one cost for the tour can cover all expenseses, save any gratuity you deem appropriate and, of course, any wine you buy.