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WDW Tip of the Week: Wine Tasting and Sampling

Walt Disney World is a a wine lover’s dream.

Wine is as much a part of the Disney culinary storytelling as the food, the restaurant theming, and the service. Restaurants and kiosks at the resort specialize in some of the world’s most unique and interesting vintages. Events like the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival or the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival are the perfect times to enjoy flights of wine and to taste new vintages.

Wine at Walt Disney World photo Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons WDW Radio Wine at Walt Disney World photo Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons

But what if you are not at the parks for these events?

Wine tasting is something you can do year-round at Walt Disney World Resort restaurants. The size of the resort and its reputation as a world-class hospitality center, commands the attention of wine makers and distributors around the world. As a result, these craftsman want their vintages to be showcased and sold in a busy and engaged market.

As a wine enthusiast, our vacation at Disney is all the better for it.

Here’s how to enjoy wine tasting and sampling year-round at Walt Disney World:

1.) Talk to your sommelier

While dining a Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, we could not decide between three different interesting looking South African Syrah-Shiraz blends: the Rudi Shultz, the Stark-Conde, or the Post House Merry Widow. Jiko specializes in a full portfolio of African wines (many of which I had never heard of and which are unavailable in my home state), so I was excited when our server generously said: “Why don’t I bring tastes of all three and whichever one you like, you can order that.”

Our server then sent over the in-house wine expert, and he poured tastings of the three Syrah-Shiraz blends. He shared the stories and tasting notes of each variety. It was a delight, not only in that we had the side-by-side comparisons, but also the opportunity to try something new, and the engagement and generous hospitality of the staff.

Sommeliers LIVE to pair wines for you. They are trained for that moment when you order your wine. Use their expertise, share what you like with them, and ask for their help. I guarantee, they will gladly accommodate you and help you choose (and taste) a variety of wines.

Wine at Walt Disney World photo Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons WDW Radio Wine at Walt Disney World photo Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons WDW Radio

2.) Order a glass pour

Many of the high-end Walt Disney World restaurants have bartop wine storage and service systems called a “cruvinets” (pronounced croo-vi-nays). The cruvinets keeps the wine fresh on tap, much the same way beer kegs are stored and tapped at a bar. Wines that were once reserved as strictly for full-bottle service, can now be served by-the-glass, or as they say in industry speak: “As a glass pour.”

The benefit to you as a diner? Expensive bottles of wine can be tasted without having to go “all-in” for the bottle price. We enjoyed glass pours of a Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena in California.  The wine bottle price is a splurge at $80. We opted for the $20 glass pour (still a bit of a splurge, but also a great price to try something we otherwise might dismiss). This wine was the winner of the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” and beat out all other French Chardonnays, putting California vintages front-and-center in the wine world. Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is a fixture at Disney Parks and is a “bucket-list” varietal for any wine-lover.

What wines are you tasting and enjoying at Walt Disney World? Have any tips? We would love for you to share them.

Wine at Walt Disney World photo Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons Wine at Walt Disney World photo Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons WDW Radio

(Logo property of WDW Radio.  Photos from the author’s personal collection.)

To learn more about Kristin and read her recent posts for WDW Radio, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.