Wine tasting in Uruguay vs Napa, California

Take it from the Tannat Queen. If you want a wine tasting experience to remember - and generous pours! - Uruguay beats Napa hands down.
By Karen A Higgs
Last updated on October 18, 2016

What makes wine tasting extra special and value for money in Uruguay?

I have seen a few criticisms online about the price of wine tasting in Uruguay. Admittedly criticisms of that nature were very few. However I was curious.

In Carmelo wineries when I visited recently most wine tastings cost between fifteen and 25 dollars.

The $ 25 tastings included such a large cold cuts and cheese plate known as a picada and so much wine that most visitors were ready for a siesta after the tasting. They would definitely be skipping lunch.

So I thought I’d ask Leslie Fellows to compare the price and the experience between a standard wine tasting in Uruguay and one in Napa, California.

Leslie is a US wine expert who lives in California. Her family owns Artesana, a winery located in the Canelones region. It’s the only American-owned winery in Uruguay and is partnered with two award-winning Uruguayan women winemakers. Tasting Room Confidential called Leslie the Tannat Queen 🙂 – tannat being Uruguay’s equivalent of Malbec.

This is what she said about wine tasting in Napa

In Napa, many people visit as many as five wineries in a day, spending on average just 30 minutes to an hour. The wine tastings generally costs between 25 and thirty dollars for a tasting which is normally three small pours. You may have to wait in line and the winery may be crowded with visitors.

There would generally be no food and most often the person pouring would not be a winery principal.

Particularly in Napa it is becoming more of a trend to make an appointment for a longer and more VIP wine tasting experience. These can be quite expensive – anything from fifty to two hundred dollars or more per person.”

Uruguay wine tasting in comparison

In Uruguay you might visit one or two wineries in a day and generally have a much more personal experience, more ‘Old World’.

Often you can spend three hours at the winery between the tour, the tasting and appetisers. You’ll get to taste many wines including reserve wines and barrel tastings.

And what really makes the difference, you’ll be taken around by a winery principal – the winemaker or the owner.”

#GottaLoveUruguay. A small country once again provides visitors with the kind of authentic experiences that few places retain nowadays.

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Photo: Leslie Fellows



One Response

  1. This is a complete misrepresentation of tasting in California. Napa is for suckers at this point, choked with fumes from tour buses, ‘prestigious’ wineries packed to the hilt with tourists paying $25 a sip. You can visit Paso Robles or Sontouriststy (and many other world class appelations) and have between 4 and 8 generous pours for $10 (some wineries offer free tasting and most will refund the fee with any purchase). I can assure you as well that these wines are much more Interesting than what you get in napa. Who wants overpriced, heavy cab all afternoon? And yes, you will usually dealing with the owners and/or winemakers.

    I can recommend almost every major wine region in California over Napa with full confidence.

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