Tips for Booking an Austin Wine Tour - Twisted Texas

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Are you planning an Austin Wine Tour to the Texas Hill Country?  If so, you probably noticed there are a LOT of options.  Wineries have been growing like weeds along the 290 wine route.  Tour companies have followed suit.  And if you’re thinking that some must be better than others, you would be right.

We’re not here to tell you which company to pick (because obviously we’re a bit biased…us, duh).  We’d love to have you on our tours, but more than that we want you on the right tour for you.  Austin wine tour companies offer a crazy array of prices, itineraries, group sizes, and winery choices.  So let’s talk about what factors to consider to help you book the best possible option out there for what you’re looking for!

7 Tips on How to Book an Austin Wine Tour:

  • Private vs. Public

  • Tour starting point

  • Type of vehicle

  • Winery selection

  • Tastings included?

  • Food inclusions

  • Price

Private vs. Public

The first question to ask when picking a wine tour is whether you are ok with being with other people on your tour.  The obvious first answer might be, “Private for sure!”.  I mean, why share you experience with some strangers?  Two reasons.  One, price.  We will get into pricing a bit more below, but for pretty understandable reasons public tours are almost always more affordable.  The one exception to this is if you’re traveling with a large group, typically 14+ guests.  If you’re just going with your lover or a small group of friends, public tours will usually offer you the better price.  Also, sometimes traveling with others is a lot of fun!  You meet people from all over the world, and after a few glasses of wine everybody is BFFs.

Tour starting point

Take a look at where the tours start and end.  Find one that is convenient for you.  Some Austin wine tour companies may offer complimentary pick-up at your location, while others will have a central meeting point.  A BIG thing to pay attention to is that some companies are based in the Hill Country so their tours will start there…which is 1.5hr drive from Austin.  Which is not something you want to deal with after a day of wine tasting!  So make sure if you’re staying in Austin, the tour  starts there.

Type of vehicle

Ask.  Always ask.  Some budget-friendly companies offer tours in your “church van” style…with the low roofs and a lot of climbing to the back rows.  Nothing wrong with that, but if you’re expecting a luxury limo or SUV you will be disappointed.  Vehicle types usually correspond to price point…the more you pay the nicer vehicle you get.  But some newer companies started buying high-roof luxe vans from the start, so you might get a nicer ride for a similar price as at one of the more established companies.

Winery Selection

This is a big one.  Let me tell you why.  In Texas, it is perfectly legal for a winery to buy their grapes from California, Arizona, or the moon, and still label their wines as Texas wines.  Which in our humble opinion, it is not much fun to go on a Texas wine tasting just to be sampling grapes from somewhere else.  If this is important to you as well, look for wine tours that only visit wineries with 100% Texas grapes.  We require this from our winery partners.

Another question we get a lot is if guests can choose the wineries.  Some Austin wine tour companies operate a bit more like a shuttle service and give you the option to tell them where you want to go.  We do not do that, and a lot of companies do not either.  The reason we choose for you is that we’re a bit picky.  And we’ve invested a lot of time and manpower into testing these wineries to find the best wines, the best customer service, and the best overall experiences for our guests.  We do not like the idea of rolling up to a winery recommended on the internet and trusting them to show our guests a 5-star good time.  So choose a company who has policies that fit what you’re looking for.

Tastings Included

We’ve all been lured in by a hot deal before.  A price that seems too good to be true.  For wine tours, if a tour has a much lower price tag than others you’ve been seeing you will want to pay close attention to what is included.  Some wine tours are priced low upfront, but you will be responsible for buying wine tastings and food along the way.  While others may include tastings at each stop, food, free swag, and sometimes even tour guide gratuities.  So check what’s included when comparing price tags.

Food Inclusions

For a full day of drinking, food is always a good idea.  Some wine tours will include a lunch stop.  Some include the food, others leave it to you to purchase on your own.

Price

All of the things listed above affect the final deciding factor:  price.  Everyone has a different budget, and you will find Austin wine tour companies offering tours for every one of those budgets.  Just remember to ask questions about what is included so you are not surprised along the way.  Also remember that tour guide gratuities are typically not included, so mentally budget that in as well.  But for any tour you choose, we always have fun wine tasting in the Texas Hill Country!

 

Want to check out our Road Trip: Texas Wine Tasting tour?