No no no–not like that! But to my surprise, I’ve found that wine tasting actually makes for a pretty good time despite chronic pain. Tasting rooms, especially the big fancy ones in Napa and Sonoma, have many amenities that make for a comfortable and convenient daytime activity.
* Mobility access: Many winery tasting rooms are fully wheelchair (and walker and cane) accessible, with elevators, ramps, and accessible restrooms.
* Bathroom facilities: Speaking of restrooms, I believe that all winery tasting rooms are required to provide facilities as a condition of their liquor license (at least in California). The fancy Napa and Sonoma estate tasting rooms often have comfy, clean, and even beautiful bathrooms that are easy to access.
* Seats: Here’s the one problem–many tasting rooms maintain a wine bar without so much as a bar stool in sight. An average tasting takes about 15 minutes, but can run up to an hour if there’s a big crowd or if you take a serious interest in the wine. That’s a long time to stand up, or even to sit on a backless stool.
To catch a seat for a while, two options work best.
– One, grab a bench outside of a ritzy “estate” tasting room. These often have garden benches, picnic tables and benches, or both.
– Two, find a tasting room with table service. Sparkling wineries such as Mumm and Gloria Ferrer are most likely to have this setup. Take a seat, order a glass (or a flight), and sit back in a real chair for as long as you like. Mumm offers free nonalcoholic beverages to designated drivers who identify themselves as such.
Just be very VERY careful about mixing any pain medications with alcohol. If any of your prescription bottles says “Do Not Drink Alcohol While Taking This Medication,” listen to it. Interactions may include a severe case of death, which is guaranteed to ruin any vacation.