A lot of you have been asking for this post. You want to know how you can get free wine tastings because obviously, like all of us when we travel or just live life from day to day, you’re on a budget. I can attest to using these methods when I am tight on cash or just want to take advantage of living in the Okanagan wine valley. It’s a real perk to live in this gorgeous wine region where the closest winery is a 20 minute walk from my house.
With the cost of land here in the Okanagan, wine tasting prices have been generally increasing. This is especially the case in the Golden Mile sub-appellation of the Okanagan, located in Oliver. There, you’ll find wine tasting prices reaching an upwards of $20-$40 per person. So if you are on a budget, location matters when you are deciding where to go wine tasting.
However, I do want to mention that most wineries in Canada offer very affordable wine tastings typically ranging from $2-$10 per person. When you compare this price point to Napa or Tuscany you are already in the perfect area of the world to taste wine on a budget.
But I get it. Your bottom line is where it counts.
So how do you get free wine tastings for those times you need to stretch every dollar?
Visit wineries with a wine club member
Wine club members are treated like royalty around here. At CedarCreek, after their extensive renovation, they have a building strictly for wine club members and their guests!
It is one of the reasons my sister and I are part of 3 wine clubs. We share memberships which means we go to the wineries together, share the wine when it comes time for the wine club shipments or pick up parties and, yes, we split the cost.
When you’re a wine club member you get free wine tastings.
At some wineries, like Kitsch here in Kelowna, you also get discounts on merchandise & wine, as well as first dibs on events they’ll be hosting throughout the year. There are lots of perks to joining a wine club but the wineries tend to cater to locals most of all since it is easier for us to attend or enjoy these perks.
Find a friend within the wine region that has one of these memberships and you’ll get treated to these perks.
On the flip side, if you know no one you could hypothetically crash a pick up party where free wine is poured. But be ready to have an answer when they might ask your name or which member you’re with. You didn’t hear it from me!
You’re industry…as long as you actually are
Will you be documenting your visit to the winery with photos and video? Will you be sharing with your Instagram followers, website visitors, Facebook page and so on? Then you might be industry.
Now, don’t go ruining this for all of us. You need to be honest because giving wine to visitors for free does cost the winery. And we all want to support our local wineries. So you gotta be able to give back in the form of exposure to those that follow and read your social media, YouTube videos and or blog posts.
On the flip side, a lot of work goes into creating those posts and videos so please be respectful of both the winery and social media influencers/writers. Don’t go taking advantage of the system if you aren’t part of showing some honest love and support for the Canadian wine industry.Speaking of which, follow my Instagram for more wine!
Here in BC, particularly in the Okanagan, our local grocery stores like Save On Foods offer complimentary wine tastings. There’s a schedule on the tasting bar showing when tastings occur and which winery will be pouring that day. It is a great way to discover a new winery for free while also having the opportunity to purchase a bottle or two at your local grocery store.
Do your research & time your visit
Occasionally, wineries offer free wine tastings to visitors.
For example, in 2018, CedarCreek winery offered free wine tastings on the 30th day of each month to celebrate their 30th anniversary.
Follow your favourite wineries, or wineries you might be interested in on social media to discover complimentary tastings and events year round. It also doesn’t hurt to reach out to those wineries and e-mail them noting that you are planning a trip and looking for any events, complimentary or otherwise, to attend. In almost all cases, depending on your wording, they’ll be happy to oblige with a generous response.