Last February, I enjoyed a beautiful wine tour through Marlborough, New Zealand. The sun was shining, we were surrounded by vineyards, and our bellies were full of the best wine in New Zealand. As the day continued I came to the conclusion that being a winery tour guide must be the best job in the world!
Fast forward a year and the tables have turned. I am now the guide standing in lush vineyards, telling curious people about San Diego wines. But what exactly does a tour guide do? Is there more to it than meets the eye? Most importantly – is being a Winery Tour Guide really the best job in the world?
My day starts by checking reservations and making a driving schedule. San Diego Beer Wine & Spirits Tours offers door-to-door pickup, so the most efficient route needs to be mapped out. Next the wineries must be contacted to confirm the size and time of the day’s group. Then it’s time to text the guests and confirm their pick up time. Since there is a schedule to keep pick up times can be very precise (ex, 12:05PM).
There are several items a winery tour guide needs to bring on tours, including water, waivers, a first aid kit, and wine prizes. After driving to the office and inspecting the van it’s time to pick up guests. There could be as few as one stop, or as many as five, depending on the number of reservations. Either way, the group is at the first winery by early afternoon
Pick-ups are the hardest part of the job. Sometimes a group is late or someone books the tour last minute. That being said, the fun begins when everyone is settled in the van. I can start commentary, tell guests about the day’s wineries, and get into my groove. Questions are always exciting. When someone asks a question I can research the answer and constantly expand my knowledge.
The day involves driving to three different wineries, and at each winery guests are given 5-7 tastings. Depending on the winery there may also be a tour of the property or a talk from the winemaker. During down time the next winery needs to be contacted with last minute updates of the time, group size, or perhaps dietary restrictions. I also talk to the guests and make sure they are enjoying themselves. As long as they are happy, so am I
As the day goes on everyone gets more social. By the third winery the group has come together into one unit. The best part of the day is when people are laughing and telling stories over dinner. A key part of the job is to make sure everyone is having a good time. Thankfully, it’s easy to be happy after a beautiful day outside and 15 wine tastings.
On the way back to San Diego I turn on some music and listen to my wine-happy guests. As the van pulls up to each stop people exchange numbers and say their goodbyes. Most guests are tired from a day of wine tasting, but occasionally they want to be dropped off somewhere exciting like downtown. Once everyone is safely home I drive back to the office, clean out the van, and send a detailed report of how the day went.
The most common question I get asked is “Is it hard to be around all those people drinking wine when you can’t drink?” Not at all! People are more likely to tell great stories after some wine tasting, and listening to stories is the best part of my job. I also enjoy everything else that comes with being a winery tour guide – driving, being outside, and talking about wine. Is being a winery tour guide the best job in the world?
While I’m sure Anthony Bourdain and David Attenborough also have some of the best jobs in the world, so do I!
Tour Guide Tiffany
Editor’s note: Tiffany delights guests on our Chauffeured San Diego Winery Tour. Ask for her by name when you book!