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RS Athens & Heart of Europe:How to discretely request wine tasting alternatives?

My husband and I will be taking this trip mid-September. We’re on a self-imposed “wine break,” though we’d be happy to participate in the wine tasting excursion and just not do an actual tasting, or, we could go it alone during this time. When and how is the best way to communicate this to the guide? Not going on the excursion feels conspicuous. Thanks in advance for any insight!

Posted by
2560 posts

As I recall the wine tasting was in a store in Napflio. I would talk to the guide but I think you’d be bored if you are not drinking. Many other things to see and do there. Editing: What I’m saying here is opt out rather than stand around in a wine store. If the excursion has changed and it’s somewhere scenic you may want to go, but not taste. On every RS tour we have taken (7 so far) there have been non-drinkers.

Posted by
13486 posts

Diane, I'm VERY sure that you and your husband would be far from the first to pass on a tasting excursion for any number of reasons, including just a lack of fondness for wine! I fall into that category so would find something more to my liking to do to if taking the tour.

IMHO, no need to worry about your absence being "conspicuous". Shoot, tour-reporters have mentioned skipping cooking sessions (that would be me too: I have a kitchen 'cause it came with the house) and other group activities which didn't appeal to them in favor of alternatives which did or simply some down time. I would think that any time before the day of the excursion would be fine for giving your guide a heads up.

Posted by
1176 posts

Just tell the guide that you are not drinking wine, no explanation needed and that you do want to go to the tasting excursion but will be passing on the actual wine tasting. No worries about that and no need to feel conspicuous. Many people can't drink wine due to taking of meds and other health reasons and for variety of other reasons. No one cares nor is it anyone's business. All people want is to have a good time, have great conversation, enjoy the time they have at the wine tasting and have fun. No one cares if you drink or don't. I have gone on many tours and if someone doesn't want the wine served with dinner they pass on it or they give it to another tour member. No big deal. Anyone who does ask and this is rare why your not drinking is being rude and most people are not rude. Have a great time.

Posted by
2911 posts

The wine tasting would be easy to skip. There was nothing planned for afterwards and you have all of Napflio to enjoy. I don't drink often/much, but I did go to the wine tasting as I'd never been to one before. It wasn't really that interesting so feel free to skip it. No one's feelings will be hurt. Actually, no one will care. Just tell the guide so they are not waiting for you. (Elsewhere in the trip, I did find the olive oil tasting very interesting).

Posted by
2911 posts

Kathy, LOL.

I have a kitchen 'cause it came with the house.


Posted by
9701 posts

Agree no one will notice or care...unless it's during a walking tour and has continued group stuff afterwards where you might need to do a buddy check. In that instance, just tell the guide and your buddy you're skipping.

I've not been on the Greek tour but on both my recent Belgium and Holland tour and previous tours to Southern England and Scotland I skipped beer and whisky tastings. I just don't enjoy either beverage. If it's a meet up event, then just don't go. For the beer tasting in Bruges it was before dinner but the guide gave options for the meet up on the way to dinner which is what I did. If it's during the day such as the distillery tour in Scotland - I sat outside in their garden with binoculars and looked at birds. I also had my iPad Mini with me and could have read if I wanted to.

No one will care in the least.

Posted by
3 posts

What great answers! Reading these makes me excited to meet our future traveling partners. Thank you all!

Posted by
8612 posts

On the tours I have been on there have been young teens, and soft drinks were provided. If there were adults he did not drink wine, I never noticed.

I suspect if you do not make a 'fuss', most will not notice and those who do will not care about your choice.

Go and enjoy the camaraderie of your group.

Posted by
14899 posts

I was on this tour 2 years ago. The group sat on chairs in several rows. The shop owner talked a lot about wines in Greece, and poured tiny glasses of several wines which his assistant passed around on a small tray. I remember several people not taking some of the wines. I doubt anyone would even notice if you declined all of them.

Posted by
31471 posts


I've taken that tour and I don't think you have to be too "discreet" about making your preferences known. Rick's guides are exceptional at dealing with just about any details of that kind. If you'd prefer to skip any wine tasting events, simply mention it to the guide. You could also attend the wine tasting and just have a soft drink or whatever. You might enjoy spending that time with your group.

Posted by
3348 posts

As others have reported you can certainly opt out of the excursion. I recall some people chose not to participate. I have found tour members are respectful and don't even notice who is or isn't drinking. There are always other choices throughout this amazing tour. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
1 posts

We just returned from this tour yesterday and opting out of almost anything was possible. The wine tasting that we did as a group was in a store just before splitting up for free time. It was an interesting discussion and tasting so you could easily sit there and not taste any wine. They did come around with olives, bread, and cheese between the wine. You could certainly try those. As far as wine is concerned on the trip, it was provided at three or four meals, at our initial meeting and at a happy hour in Hydra. Water was always provided and soft drinks and beer were also available. Relax and enjoy your trip.

Posted by
5143 posts

I had wondered something similar before I went on the Paris and Heart of France tour last year. If was not an issue on the tour itself at all. Although it was usually up to the waiters to come up with an alternative at group meals. The guide didn't make a lot of effort there. No one on the tour cared one way or another if a person was drinking.

I went to the wine tasting with my group on Heart of France because it seemed the thing to do. Later, I wished I had skipped it and explored the nearby town. I'm already planning ahead for my next tour to do just that, skip it and do something else that I enjoy more.

What is important to know is that people "opt out" of different parts of the tour for various reasons all the time. No one will think too much of it if you choose to "opt out." It is important to communicate any such changes clearly with your guide so no one spends time looking or waiting for you.