Looking for picnic ideas for your day in wine country? It’s easy to pack a picnic for wine tasting with these simple tips! Just choose a few cheeses, add bread & some savory elements for an easy & elegant feast that will compliment those wines perfectly.
Today one of my friends tagged me on a wino post on Facebook, yesterday a co-worker mentioned, “I saw a picture of you this weekend… WOW – You went wine tasting again?” And, when my boss went out of town and left me with a huge workload, he returned on Monday and thanked me with a bottle of Chardonnay. So, yeah, I’m that person.
You all probably know by now, I like my wine!
Yep, I go wine tasting – Like a lot… Like a lot a lot. Which is why, I feel qualified to offer you my suggestions on picnic ideas for your next wine tasting adventure.
Wines can vary quite a bit by region, with some areas, like Walla Walla, Washington, having heavier reds, and others, like the Willamette Valley, having softer, lighter Pinot Noir and bright, acidic, Pinot Gris. With a well rounded cheese plate, you’ll be able to compliment any of those flavors and an extra layer to your tasting experience.
Having a picnic at a winery
- Most wineries are happy to have you bring along a picnic for consumption with their wines. However, it’s always a good idea to check with them first on their outside food policy.
My go to for a picnic in wine country is an abundant cheese plate complimented by fruit, charcuterie & bread or crackers. I like a good balance of sweet and savory.
Assembling the perfect cheese plate for your wine tasting picnic
Choose your cheeses
Variety is important! I like to make sure I include at least one of each of these cheese types below:
- Aged: Aged Cheddar, Comté, Gouda
- Soft: Camembert, Boursin, Brie, Goat
- Firm: Manchego, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Monterey Jack, Provolone
Plan to serve 3-4 oz. of cheese per person, plus accompaniments.
Choose your vehicle
- Bread, crackers, crostini, or pita.
Tip: I like to pre-slice my bread or pita before leaving home, it makes things much simpler when you get to the winery and frees you up for drinking more wine!
Choose your extras
- Savory: Olives (Kalamata, Castelvetrano, and Nicoise are some of my favorites), Artichoke Hearts, Cornichons, Roasted Red Peppers, Tapenade, Tahini Yogurt Sauce, Baba Ganoush, Hummus, Greek Yogurt Onion Dip
- Sweet: Jam, Fig compote, Strawberries, Raspberries, Cherries, Blueberries, Apple Slices, Pear Slices
- Crunchy: Marcona Almonds, Cashews
- Meat: Prosciutto, Salami, Capicola
One of my favorite things to bring along, that is always a huge hit, is a small mason jar filled with jam or fig compote. Top that with some chevre and spread on crackers or bread. It’s got a great sweet and tangy note that really compliments almost any wine.
Picnic serving items
Finally, I like to bring along a large wooden cutting board to act as the serving platter, along with some cloth napkins, a few cheese knives, and a corkscrew.
That’s it – You’re set!
I can usually throw together a quick picnic like this in less than half an hour.
So, there you have it – my favorite picnic ideas for a day of wine tasting. Head out there with your favorite friends, be prepared to taste some amazing wines, and take all the kudos for putting together this AMAZING spread!
One more pro tip:
If you’re heading out to do some tasting and purchase some wines, and it’s HOT outside, be sure to pack a cooler with ice packs so that you can stash your purchased bottles in there between tastings. You don’t want your expensive wine overheating in the car. The corks can actually pop out of the bottles if it gets too hot!
What are your favorite spots for wine tasting? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
This post was originally published in 2015. It was updated in 2023 provide a bit of new information. Cheers!