If you’re in a budding relationship or just trying to keep the romance alive, wine is the perfect tool to woo both men and women. (especially women, let’s be honest) With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’ve compiled a list of ideas of how to incorporate wine in dates in both go-to and nontraditional ways.
1.Visit a Winery (for a tasting, for a tour, for dinner, for lunch, for a picnic) – check out the VA wine map to find one close to you.
2.Visit more than one – take a wine trail tour, drive yourself or hop on a bus. This is a great way to spend a day and visit a bunch of wineries.
3. Paris Night In – Go to your favorite grocery store get a baguette, some nice cheese, and wine (from the Virginia section!) so you can be Parisian for a night.
4. Attend a Wine Festival – look at my calendar for dates!
5. DIY Tasting – all you need is a couple bottles, glasses, and an opener. This is perfect if you’ve been gifted wine and you haven’t found a reason to open it!
This can also be done with a group of friends, just pick a grape theme – like Chardonnay or Bordeaux blend – and ask everyone to bring a bottle.
6. Hit up a wine bar – bars specializing in wine is a new trend and they’re cropping up everywhere. Try and find one near you.
8. Go to a tasting at a Wine Shop – If you can’t make it to a winery, you’re in luck because many local wine shops host tastings. I’ve been to Bottle Stop in Occoquan,VA and Downtown Wine and Gourmet in Harrisonburg, VA. This is perfect if you want to try wine before committing to a bottle. It is also less of a time commitment than driving out to a winery and best of all, most of the time they’re free!
9. Go to restaurant and order a bottle – If you’re looking for a nice night out and you’re ready to splurge, head to a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try (or an old favorite) and order a bottle. The server will give you the cork so you can take the leftovers (if there are any) home.
10. Happy Hour – an oldie but a goodie. Though this really applies to any type of alcohol, places like Capital Ale House serve VA wines such as Trump Winery‘s Simply Red and Sauvignon Blanc
11. Picnic – pack a basket with lunch, wine and a comfy blanket. Hike up a mountain or visit your favorite park, just don’t forget your bottle opener!
You can also pack picnic at a winery, but you have to purchase your wine there.
12. Wine and Chocolate Tasting – another kind of tasting you can find at a winery or DIY. Dove dark chocolate goes really good with dessert wine too- especially if it’s got a hint of raspberry. This is something they do at Marterella Winery. If you want to DIY, here is Godiva’show to along with some pairing ideas.
Make sure to open yourself up to cupcake, cookie, and other sweet pairings! I really want to try champagne and Pop Rocks!
13. Wine and Art – this is such a classy pair, special events (such as openings) at a gallery or museum often have wine tastings or you can visit a craft wine event.
I’ve also heard of classes where you could learn how to paint with an artist and you drink wine at the same time which sounds just plain awesome.
14. Romantic Dinner In – cook dinner for your better half , light candles, pour wine, and play romantic music in the background. This can be as gourmet or simple as you make it. An easy pairing is, red wine with spaghetti and meatballs. But a more complicated meal could be chicken cordon bleu with Chardonnay.
If eating with wine isn’t enough, don’t forget about cooking with wine! I’m planning on doing a post soon about tip and tricks of cooking with wine.
15. Dinner Outside – barbecue and wine, just a more casual version of cooking for your significant other and a great way to use your patio. This is probably a pairing you didn’t think about but wines with smoky undertones go really well with anything off the grill!
16. Sangria and Mexican (Takeout) – Buy Sangria or make your own and combine with Mexican food which you can also buy or make your own! Other good takeout pairings are pizza with Zinfandel and Chinese with Viognier.
I hope this helps, especially with Valentine’s Day right around the corner! Tell me any other date ideas that incorporate wine in the comments below!