When we announced our pregnancy, I immediately got questions about whether I would continue doing the blog, if I’d stop writing altogether, and how I was going to survive this change. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen either.
Well, as you can clearly see, despite being 9 months pregnant, I’m still writing and doing my best to participate in the wine community. Yes, I have slowed down quite a bit, but I’m still participating.
So, what I want to share is the experience that I’ve had not drinking at wineries in the Finger Lakes.
FLX Wineries and Restaurants Are More Accepting Than You Think
When we went to our first winery where I was clearly showing off my bump, I was worried that the people in the tasting room would judge me. They didn’t.
In fact, they were super nice. Many offered me non-alcoholic options for free, some chatted with me about their experience being pregnant or being married to someone who was recently pregnant in the wine industry, and nearly all were sympathetic to my situation.
I was worried that I’d feel like an outsider, but the tasting room staff was often extra chatty and made an effort to really include me. It made me feel special in a good way, rather than excluded and obvious.
Almost immediately after we found out we were pregnant, we realized that this was going to interfere with some of the plans we had made- the most pressing of which was a wine dinner we had coming up that month. When I called the restaurant to ask about the dinner, they were more than happy to charge me just for the food and not the wine, and were excited that I still wanted to be a part of the event.
What I learned almost immediately, was that I could still be part of the community and events, and that I wasn’t going to have to spend the next nine months sitting on the sidelines.
So, if you’re looking to attend an event, see if they’ll give you a discount. Some wineries will offer you half price admission since you’ll only be eating and not drinking. Restaurants may also charge you just for food at wine dinners, so you can still go and be a part of the fun even though you’re not imbibing. There are also some places that make pretty amazing mocktails!
Just remember, it never hurts to ask and see if they’ll make some accommodations for you. Some will say no, and you can decide if it’s worth going anyways.
Some Wineries Offer Non-Wine Alternatives…
If you’re looking to enjoy sampling in the tasting rooms, there are still some non-alcoholic options. In fact, if you’re looking for a complete list, Chris Clemens at Exploring Upstate has compiled a “Non-Wine Trail” list for every lake that is impressive to say the least.
One of my favorite discoveries was the New York Kitchen’s Non-Wine Flight in their Tasting Room. Despite it not being wine, it was fun to participate in a tasting and pick apart the different juice options from Red Jacket Orchard. My flight included:
- Fuji Apple Juice
- Raspberry Apple Juice
- Lemon Apple Juice
It was fun to be able to compare the options and chat about the flavor differences with people like I had done with wine.
…But Many Don’t So Be Prepared With Your Own Drinks
If you’re tasting with a group, there are chances that you’re going to end up places that don’t offer non-alcoholic options. Also, many of the alternatives are juice or soda which can be high in sugar.
When we went wine tasting, I made sure to pack some fun sparkling water and water drinks that would be hydrating but low in sugar. If you’re looking for some fun options, I suggest checking out Spindrift and Dry Soda; both are fun upscale alternatives to sparkling water, and if you drink them from a champagne flute you’ll feel extra awesome.
At a number of the wine events we went to, I brought pink lemonade sparkling water and strawberry lemonade to make my own mocktails. When enjoyed from a wine glass, you feel a little more like part of the crowd (and some people even might think it is a weird looking Rose, which is perfect if you’re at the stage where you’re not telling people yet).
Other Tips for Being Pregnant on the Wine Trail
- Find Ways to Participate in the Discussion and Use Your Amazing Sense of Smell: Don’t sit off to the side or feel like just because you’re pregnant you can’t be part of the conversation. Pregnancy often gifts you with an amazing sense of smell, so take advantage of it! You’ll be amazed at the details you can pick out with your new sense of smell.
- Bring Lots of Healthy Snacks and Plan Meals in Advance: Food can be a little hard to find on the wine trail, so made sure you pack healthy, high protein snacks like cheese, peanut butter and nuts. Also, make sure to plan our your meals in advance and get reservations. You don’t want to be waiting an hour for a table when you’re hungry!
- You Don’t Have to be the Designated Driver: Just because you’re not drinking, doesn’t mean you have to be the designated driver, especially if you’re getting to a stage where driving isn’t comfortable. You’re a passenger on this trip just as much as anyone else, so discuss who is driving in advance. Sure, it’s nice to volunteer, but you don’t need to do it every time.
- Take Advantage of Seating: Something I didn’t notice until I became pregnant was that a lot of wineries don’t have seats, they just have tasting bars. Depending on the number of wineries and length of the tastings, you could end up on your feet quite a bit, so take advantage of those places that do have seating.
- Limit the Wine Tasting Tour or Mix it up with Other Activities: I discovered that I have a three hour limit before I get tired of watching other people drink wine. This three hour limit can be extended by doing a cheese tasting, or having lunch, or walking around an antique shop. If you find yourself reaching your limits, tell your group and find something else fun to do for a while.
- Buy a Fun Shirt that Celebrates Your Pregnancy: I bought this shirt to wear during the Finger Lakes Wine Festival and Rose Soiree, and it made me feel a lot happier about my experience at both. I didn’t feel self-conscious about being there, and it made me discover that quite a few women attend these types of festivals! It was only $10 on Amazon, and was totally worth it.