There are still a few wineries that offer complimentary tastings. What used to be standard practice is now very rare. The free logo glass is gone. We are even starting to see the end of complimentary tastings when you purchase wine.
Tasting fees vary depending on the wine region you are visiting. Napa is the leader when it comes high price tastings. The average in Napa is somewhere around $25 for a basic tasting of 3 to 5 wines. For an elevated experience or library tasting, you can quickly get into the range of $120 per person.
The central coast regions of Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara charge $10 - 15 on average for 5 wines. We are starting to see this creep up at some wineries in the area. There are also more options for private seated tastings, food pairings and tour plus tasting combinations. These are typically over $50 per person.
Your best bet for affordable wine tasting is inland. The Sierra Foothills region, Lodi and the central valley still offer moderately priced tastings and the quality of wine is getting better and better.
So what can you do if you don't have the time or inclination to travel to the eastern part of the state?
We recently partnered with Priority Wine Pass. This pass can save you hundreds of dollars on tasting fees, tour costs, food pairings and transportation. They are partnered with wineries from Napa to Santa Barbara. This pass makes those areas affordable again.