Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Groupon – I think it’s a fun way to try new things, especially with a group of friends. So when I saw an offer a few weeks ago for a summer/fall wine tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I had to snap it up! Having lived just an hour outside Niagara all my life, I’ve never actually had a chance to visit a local winery and was excited to see what was in store.
Advertised as a 6-hour guided tour, including visits to four award-winning wineries in Niagara, the trip included transportation (basically a wine tour party bus) and complimentary samples at each winery. Our tour guide was extremely passionate about his job and I definitely picked up some fun facts throughout the day:
- Match the weight of your food to the weight of your wine (e.g. a light salad would pair well with a lighter wine)
- Roses are often planted near the edge of the vineyard to help the growers know when the vines are prone to insect attacks
- As white wine ages, it’s colour will become darker, while red wine will become lighter in colour with age
- After sampling all the wines, there’s no doubt about it – I’m a white wine kind of gal!
While I’m no connoisseur (and the day got fuzzier with each winery we visited), this tour helped introduce me to a lot of different kinds of wine I hadn’t previously tried. Here’s a list of the wineries we visited:
Marynissen Estates Winery
This was our first stop and was fairly quick. Each winery offered a white, a red, and an ice wine sampling. I learned early on that I’m never going to be a huge fan of red wine!
This was my favourite stop on the tour, and also where our group stopped for lunch. A family owned winery with a cute café in their main building, they had a great menu to choose from. I ordered the cheese plate, which came with a yummy red wine jelly.
Lailey was a smaller winery and also included a guided tour from one of their staff. This was definitely one of the “snootier” wineries – we spent a lot of our tasting sniffing, swirling and slurping our wine.
Diamond Estates Winery
This was our last stop and the largest winery we visited. It didn’t have the same charm as some of the other smaller wineries, but had a large selection of wines to choose from, including a red ice wine.
If you live in the area and want to try your own wine tour, the company my friends and I used was Niagara Fun Tours. Whether you choose to do a tour or not, I totally recommend visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake if you have the chance – it’s beautiful!