If you are considering a vineyard as a wedding venue, but don’t know where to start or what questions to ask, this is the perfect guide to help you begin your planning. Below are my top 5 tips that every wedding planner or couple should know about to organize the vineyard wedding of your dreams.
Timing is an important factor to consider when planning any wedding, but especially at a vineyard because the vines change in appearance with each season. A vineyard is going to have the most vibrant, full green vines and luscious grapes during the summer to early fall. This is often how clients imagine a vineyard wedding to look like, making summer the most popular season for weddings. Something to keep in mind though is that it will be hot. But if you can bear the heat, summer is a beautiful time for a vineyard wedding that makes for amazing wedding photos.
The fall is when the grapes are harvested, which is usually whenever the winemaker decides is the best time based on the sugar levels of the grapes, and it is never the same exact date each year. Different grapes are harvested at different times, so depending on how many varietals are grown on the property, the harvest could take place on multiple days. The harvest season for us at Wilson Family Vineyard usually occurs sometime between late-September and mid-October. Some vineyards may not be able to book weddings around that time because the exact date of the harvest cannot be predicted, and the winemakers don’t want it to interfere with someone’s wedding. However, this may not be an issue for many vineyards, especially if the ceremony location is separate from the rest of the vineyard. Just make sure to ask the property’s event coordinator about the harvest and they will be able to give you a definitive answer about dates.
After the harvest takes place, the vines start to dry out and turn a burnt red and orange color to indicate that fall is in full swing. The leaves on the vines are not as full at this time of year and there are no grapes on them either since they have just been picked during the harvest. However, fall is my personal favorite time at a vineyard because the warm colors of the vines just feel calming and homey. The temperature is also a bit milder, so you don’t have to worry much about the heat.
During the winter the vines are dormant and the temperature is quite chilly. Because of this, winter is not a very popular season for vineyard weddings. But every couple has a unique vision for their wedding, so if a winter wedding is your dream, then go for it!
Spring is really when the vines start to regenerate and is a crucial time for winemakers to ensure everything is on track for the upcoming harvest. Tiny leaves start to grow in March and the vines really begin filling out in May with little clusters of vulnerable grapes. May tends to be a popular month for vineyard weddings since the leaves on the vines are growing fuller.
A vineyard is a beautiful place for a wedding at any time, so picking the right season really just depends on the couples’ preferences and vision for their wedding.
It may seem obvious, but at a vineyard wedding you’ll probably be walking on soil or dirt and should be cautious about the type of shoes you wear. I would definitely recommend flats or wedges over heels, because you don’t want your heel to sink into the soil and get dirty or potentially even break. To avoid any wardrobe disasters, make sure to wear comfortable shoes that can withstand a little dirt. It doesn’t hurt to gently remind guests of this, so no one ends up tripping or ruining their favorite pair of shoes.
A wine license and a liquor license are two different permits, and not all vineyards may have a liquor license. At Wilson Family Vineyard we have a wine, but not a liquor license so we are only able to serve beer, wine, and sparkling wine at our venue and hard alcohol is strictly prohibited. If having a full bar is important to you or your client, I highly recommend looking into what type of permits your potential venue has because not all vineyard venues will be able to serve hard liquor.
Most vineyards or wineries are in rural counties that have strict sound-ordinance rules. Wilson Family Vineyard is in San Luis Obispo county, which has a strict outdoor noise curfew starting at 10PM. So all of our events must end at 10pm and guests who are not staying on the property must vacate the premise by 10:30pm. Along those lines, we stop serving alcohol at 9:30pm. So that is something to consider when booking a vineyard wedding, because ceremonies usually need to take place mid-day to ensure the reception wraps up by the time the noise curfew is enforced.
Having a wedding at a vineyard, it’s likely a lot of your guests will have to stay at a nearby hotel or may be flying in from other locations and not have a car. The best way to ensure that everyone makes it to the wedding on time and safely is to arrange for transportation between your guests’ hotel and the venue. Since vineyards tend to be in rural areas, there is a chance guests may lose cell-phone service and have a hard time finding their way if driving on their own, especially being unfamiliar with the area. And you wouldn’t want anyone showing up late to your wedding because they got lost! Arranging a shuttle service is a safe way to avoid all those annoying transportation issues. You might even be able to find a type of transportation that fits your wedding theme, which just adds to the fun of the experience.
I hope this starter guide to booking a vineyard wedding gets you on the right track to planning the wedding you have always imagined. Oh, and one more extra tip: if you do choose to have your wedding at a vineyard, you can probably get a discount to serve the venue’s wine at your wedding. And who doesn’t love amazing wine at a good value!
For more information about booking a wedding at Wilson Family Vineyard, click here.
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According to the Wine Institute, the United States is the third largest world wine producer by country. Roughly 81% of all U.S. wine is produced in California alone.
Wilson Family Vineyard is a vacation home and limited quantity producer of fine wines in Paso Robles, California. With over 3,000 other winemakers in California, we represent only a small fraction of the state’s total wine production. So, what makes us any different from the other 3,000 winemakers in California?
Producing around 400 to 600 cases a year since our first vintage in 2014, we focus on quality over quantity. Our winemaker, Joseph Farley, has over 30 years of experience in the Paso Robles wine industry. Joe produces award winning wines for Wilson Family Vineyard that have been recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Joe’s wife, Leigh Anne, provides personal care for all guests staying at Wilson Family Vineyard and offers event coordinating services for special occasions hosted at the property. Wilson Family Vineyard is also available for vacation rental on VRBO.
Even more important to us than our product are the people who help make it. Wilson Family Vineyard came to be truly through serendipity.
The Wilson family had the good fortune of meeting the Farley family on summer vacations in San Diego back in the 1970s. A lifelong friendship was formed between the two families over early morning surf sessions. The picture below captures two surfing buddies and now business partners. On the left is winemaker Joe, before he knew anything about wine. Standing next to him is owner Kevin Wilson.
Winemaker Joe Farley on the left and owner Kevin Wilson on the right during an early morning surf session in San Diego in the 1970s.
In the early 1980s, Joe’s father Al bought a vineyard property in Paso Robles to fulfill his dream of becoming a winemaker. This allowed Joe to gain hands on experience cultivating grapes and producing wine from a young age.
Fast forward to 2012, Joe called to tell the Wilson’s of a small but beautiful vineyard property in Paso Robles that had been neglected and taken back by the bank. The Wilson’s fell in love with the stunning property and jumped at the opportunity to bring it back to great condition.
Now, so many years later, Joe and the Wilson’s are producing award-winning wines together and hosting visitors from all over for their vacations and special events. So you could say that serendipity describes the happy chance the Wilson’s and the Farley’s had of meeting in the 1970s. If it were not for those sunny summer vacations in San Diego, Wilson Family Vineyard might not exist today!
By starting this blog, we hope to share our insights about the Paso Robles community with any future visitors to help them make the most of their stay in the beautiful wine country.
The blog will focus on what we know best—wine and weddings. You can expect future blog posts to include insights about wedding and event planning, vendor recommendations, places to visit in Paso Robles, current trends in the wine and wedding industry, personal experiences, and much more!
We hope to serve as a resource for the local wine-lover, vacationer planning the ultimate weekend getaway, and wedding coordinator seeking information about Paso Robles vendors for that special day.
I was 15 years old when my mom and her three siblings bought the Wilson Family Vineyard property in 2012. Now, seven years and one bachelor degree later, I am working as a marketing intern for Wilson Family Vineyard. However, it’s more than just a job to me.
Some of my favorite memories were formed at the tranquil hilltop vineyard. Eating a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room, while overlooking the vineyard leaves that have transformed into a vibrant orange color for fall. Feeding the neighbor’s friendly goats that trot right up to the property-dividing fence to greet us. Going wine tasting in Paso Robles for the first time with my family members when I was 21 and did not have a palate for wine yet. My only thoughts on the wines I tasted were, “I like it,” or “I don’t like it.” Okay fine, I may only be 22 now but my palate for wine has definitely improved over the past year.
These heart-warming experiences make Paso Robles and Wilson Family Vineyard so special to me. It would be selfish not to share our home and story with the rest of the world! I hope you too can experience the magic of our community through the stories shared on the blog and get a glimpse into what makes us stand out from the 3,000 other winemakers in California.
Wilson Family Vineyard is committed to publishing monthly content that helps customers get to know us and our community. Please comment below with any content you wish to see in future blog posts. What do you want to know about us and our community?
Feel free to contact us on the contact form of our website. Give us a follow at one of our social media accounts by clicking on the links below or searching the specified username on Instagram or Facebook.
Thanks for reading!