We were visiting Temecula a while ago and were heading to Robert Renzoni vineyards. As we drove by the winery next door, we noticed a Grape Line Tours bus. I groaned inside. It would be filled with a bunch of tourists out to get drunk and not have to drive. Now guaranteed, when I am driving in wine country it is preferable that these type of folks are gathered in a vehicle where someone else is driving them, but I suppose that I always kind of looked down my nose at these tours, dismissing them as “party buses”.
Well we continued on to Robert Renzoni into a quiet tasting room and began our tasting. Then the bus arrived. 10 or so people poured in and gathered at the other bar to do their group tasting. We were surprised when Robert Renzoni himself came out to do their tasting with them. We were able to continue our tasting and listen in as he told the story of his family. Without that big tour group, we would not have had the opportunity to listen to the wine maker in his own words talk about the history of his winery and where his passion for wine comes from.
Now guaranteed I will not be climbing on one of these tour buses. That atmosphere is just not for me. But, I won’t be so quick to completely avoid small tasting rooms when those buses are in the parking lot. You never know what great conversations you might overhear.