Located in downtown San Jose in a quiet residential area is the J.Lohr tasting room. Approximately the 15th largest wine seller in the United States they offer free weekday tastings. The daily event, from 10am to 5pm, is a great quick stop for any trip in the San Jose area. Up on my way from the beaches of Santa Cruz recently, I decided to pay J. Lohr for my first ever wine tasting.
Despite the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, there were only about 15 people in the tasting room, a nice sized crowd for the space. I walked right in to a small shop at the entrance of the tasting room and made my way up to the bar. One of the J. Lohr employees came up to me promptly with a wine list and explained to me that anyone who visits during a regular weekday tasting is entitled to 6 complimentary tastes of either red or white wine, or a combination of the two.
The glasses are filled generously, a little less than half full, and I drank 6 of them – an assortment of their red wine selection. Most of the J. Lohr wines are grown in Paso Robles, although there is a small vineyard right behind the tasting room in San Jose. The best red wine I had at J. Lohr, the Cypress Hills Shiraz, is also their best value. ($4 a bottle but you have to get a minimum of 6. They can wrap it in an airline approved packaging or ship it within the US.)
You are not obligated to buy a bottle once you’re done tasting so once you’re done you can simply walk out the door. This felt weird to me personally so I picked up a bottle of the Cypress Hills Merlot, my second favorite (that I could afford.) In all, the entire experience will take you at most an hour, cost you nothing, and keep you close to public transportation and the rest of San Jose.
You can find more about J. Lohr and their daily tastings at their website, JLohr.com. I’ve also posted some of my pictures from inside below.
Inside the J. Lohr tasting room in San Jose.
The small shop inside.
Frequent fliers should keep in mind that wine’s benefits may reach further than having a good time. Red wine, in particular, has been shown to reduce deep vein thrombosis (D.V.T. or blood clots) which you’re 3 times more likely to develop if you take flights longer than 4 hours.