As an author and storyteller, I love playing with words. I also like trying new wines. That why I loved this post contributed by peer writer and wine lover, Ana Wilson. In it, she shares with us her knowledge on how to do a wine tasting vacation, not a vacation full of whining.

Cheers Ana! Take it away!

Vacations are supposed to be amazing yet they end up going south sometimes. It’s hard not to argue when everyone is in close-quarters for fourteen days. In fact, it’s amazing the whole family arrives back home in one piece. Holidays can be the making or a murderer! Whining isn’t how you want to spend the time together, or is it?

Forget about moodiness and the nagging because this is a different kind of whining. This is driving around tasting the grapes on offer. Yep, it’s time to get drunk and have a good time. Here’s how to do it properly.

Pick A Designated Driver

There is going to be a lot of alcohol involved so no one should get behind the wheel drunk. The problem with wine tasting is that the vineyards are out in the sticks. Sadly, cultivating grapes in the middle of town is tricky business. Before you set off, play rock, paper, scissors or pick straws to see who has to drive. Then, mix it up from day to day so that everyone gets the chance to enjoy the fruitiness. After all, tasting it is the main reason you booked the vacation in the first place.

Book A Close Hotel

For those who want to have their cake and eat it, booking a nearby hotel is an option. Take Mirabelle Inn in Solvang. Solvang, CA is a great place to get to know wine. Plus, it’s cheaper than going to the Napa Valley and dealing with the hiked up prices. Because it’s close to the vineyards, this accommodation is a wise choice. The drive is short, and that gives you options. For example, you can get an Uber so that no one has to be sober. Or, you can rent bikes and cycle around the wineries taking in all the sights.

Entertain The Kids

With the wide open spaces available, it’s a shame for the kids to miss out on the scenery. Unfortunately, they can’t drink and they will get bored after a while. This is where research comes into play. Plenty of wineries aren’t kid-friendly, but some are and they are the ones to target. Check for things such as sports activities. A basketball net will keep them occupied for hours. Or, ask if there is a games room. Renting bikes is fun for them and it keeps them interested. Don’t forget the snacks and fluids for when they crash.

Go Early

Vineyards get busy at this time of year. The peak periods aren’t worth battling, especially if there are kids in tow. It isn’t worth the hassle. So, setting off early and beating the crowds will be a much more pleasant experience. There is another pro: free time. Once the tour is over, you can spend the time visiting the sights around town. Some people choose to chill out by the pool with their new, favorite bottle of vino because it suits the whole family.

So, is that one glass, two glasses, or as many as possible?

**Post contributed by wine lover and writer, Ana Wilson, based in the U.K.**