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The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

Boynton Beach...
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The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

Though another reviewer touched on this subject, I can honestly say that this whole wine tasting fee baloney takes the edge off of a once exciting Napa visit where you can taste wine, and you are served enough to make a decision when you have to consider spending $30 to a couple of hundred bucks for a bottle.

Sure, slamming may have been part of the rationale to start the fee, but fact of the matter is that most of the wineries take that money as additional revenue, and do not give it back by applying it to a purchase. What I have been told is that the Napa legislative body instituted that ordinance on the premise that it would prevent accidents from drunk drivers overdoing it at the wineries. If they had to pay, they wouldn't drink as much. But this gave an excuse for wineries to glean more revenue from visitors, and frankly that's a turn off and not really in the spirit of the law.

Meanwhile, they serve you a small puddle of wine in the tasting and expect you to make up your mind instantly to purchase an expensive regular or reserve bottle.

Some of the wineries do give you credit if you purchase, and in my opinion that should be the standard in all wineries. You might have to pay $20 for a tasting, but what they give you is much less than a traditional pour at a restaurant, hence the "ripoff."

Like many other attractions around the country there has been a turn to profits and revenue rather than to lure the customers into enjoying their experience. Consider, for example, Las Vegas where getting people to gamble was enough as they poured on you perks, great hotel rooms at low prices, etc. Not so anymore as costs there could be as much as visiting New York.

Similarly, Napa and Sonoma did the same thing by their comp tasting, but now it's also big business there, and I guess the wineries don't want to lose a penny from a drop of their wine. It's a shame, and that golden era of tourism in wine country is apparently now long gone.

1. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

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Removed on: 8:06 pm, July 05, 2012
2. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

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Removed on: 8:06 pm, July 05, 2012
Napa
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3. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

So many wineries actually do waive the fee if you buy one bottle per person. The smaller producers like Lava Vine, Jessup, Hopper Creek, Elyse - - the list goes on and on. They waive the fee. Even Quintessa will waive the fee if you buy a bottle that is higher than the tasting fee. Some waive if you buy 3, 6, a case, etc. Sure, if you don't buy the fee stands- these wineries are opening expensive bottles for people to taste.

If you are doing a special food pairing, lunch, cheese, tour, etc - those fees will not be waived.

The biggest exception to waiving the fees are the big producers. They get your money up front, sometimes before you even get to a tasting room!

Oddly enough, a lot of very tiny producers don't even charge for the tasting, they figure if you know about them, then you must like their wines and you will buy from them, since you can't buy from small producers in the stores.

I think next time you come back, (I hope you will come back) focus on these smaller producers- you will have a totally different experience.

( And of course, if you are a wine club member at any winery, the fee is waived.)

Boynton Beach...
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4. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

And, you are a "destination expert?" I just spent a week in Las Vegas in October, 12 days in December, another week next week, and probably all of February.

I have visited most of the hotels, and they give you basically very little. The room rates are extremely high when you consider the top rated hotels like Bellagio, Wynn, Venetian, Cosmopolitan, etc.

If you are such an expert you might consider what your background of "expertise" might be in Las Vegas as I have been going to that city regularly since the 1960s, and there has been a sea change in respect to the perks that were given to regular customers and/or gamblers.

I surely don't appreciate your remark about "whining" as this is supposed to be a fair discussion and review area. Maybe TripAdvisor might reconsider your standing in that respect as you apparently don't know much about what's been happening there in recent times.

Dublin, California
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5. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

I think the wineries in Indiana don't charge for wine tasting.

Boynton Beach...
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6. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

You have quite a nerve posting in that nasty fashion. I am not a local of Napa, just a visitor. Your reasoning doesn't make sense for an occasional tourist, and your response has nothing to do with the issue of wine tasting fees in individual wineries.

Your crude and crass remarks do not make for a very friendly TripAdvisor discussion. Do me a favor and look somewhere else for your aggressive remarks that seemingly are off point in general, and do not show very much expertise.

Boynton Beach...
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7. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

Thanks for your message. Napa and Sonoma have excellent wineries, but the issue here is the general policy of wine tasting fees, and the fact that so many do not apply it to a purchase.

My point was that it should be a general policy rather than a means to glean extra revenue from visitors. As a visitor for only a short three days it is generally impossible to visit all of the small wineries, but on this trip I only visited some of the more noticeable ones like BV, Arrowood, Gundlach Bundschu, Whitehall Lane, Provenance, Jessup (did get a comp tasting card from my hotel on that one, and don't know their policy otherwise), Folie a Deux, and Prager.

I suspect my wife and I will be visiting again. Just wanted to post my experience.

Boynton Beach...
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8. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

You could be right, but I was talking solely about Napa/Sonoma.

Lassen National...
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9. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

This is not the place to post reviews. Sounds like you didn't do your research before traveling.

San Diego...
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10. Re: The Great Napa Ripoff...Wine Tasting Fees

Ah the good old days when we payed 50 cents for gas, movie tickets were so cheap that we could all go to the movies for less than 20 dollars for the family but how times have changed.

I also remember the time when Cable car rides in the city of San Francisco were a buck and now I think they are 10 bucks or more (I may be wrong on that) . Oh My.!! We could go to Europe and a $100 dollars could get you a room for a week but oh my how times have changed.

Our state seems to have lost its charm. In NV, Vegas is expensive and more crowded and so extravagant. The State of CA is so expensive. A suite in a luxury hotel costs from 3000 to 10000 and people still pay for that. Wow.

Politicians used to raise a few thousand dollars to run for elections. Now Millions and Millions are being spent on Elections and the cost of an Ad at the Superbowl used to be a few thousand dollars but you won't get a nano second of ad time with that money

Oh My!!