With the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival, September is a busy season for wineries in Niagara. While this is an excellent time to take in all that the Niagara region has to offer, how can you get the most out of a Niagara Wine Tour Getaway this Fall?
KNOW YOUR GROUP
Are you a couple celebrating an important anniversary? A group of ladies looking for a fun time? Is your party more mature, enthusiastic, or somewhere in between?
Knowing the makeup of your group is essential when planning your Niagara wine tour experience. If you’re a mature couple looking to sidestep raucous crowds, avoid the big bus tours. While they may help you pinch pennies, bus tours can transport upwards of sixty people—all looking for a different experience.
Make sure that your tour company will cater to your group. “We take you out in small groups and put you in with like people,” says Dave Paget from Niagara Wine Tour Guides. “If you’re in your fifties, we’re not going to put you in with a bunch of twenty-year-olds.” Rich Mell from Grape Escape Wine Tours adds that knowing what wineries to visit depends on your group dynamic. “There are some wineries that are more suited for a girls’ weekend and some more suited for romantic getaways.” While they may break the bank a little more, “Private Tours are by far the most interactive and highest quality experience,” says Christopher Fuccillo from Niagara Vintage Wine Tours. “But our small groups are also very educational and personal.”
KNOW YOUR TRANSPORTATION NEEDS
Knowing how to travel (on your budget) is also important.
Grape Escape Wine Tours lets you take in in wine country by bicycle. “The bike tour really appeals to people who want to be more active,” says Mell. “The best benefit is that you get to take in the scenery while you’re riding.” But, he adds, “The plus of the van tours is that it opens up the scope for us to go to a wider variety of wineries, because we’re obviously limited with distance for the bike tours.”
But too much distance can certainly be a bad thing. Some tour companies may advertise that you will visit five or six wineries. “When you think about what that actually means, you’re spending your whole day in the bus,” says Paget. “We do family-owned-and-operated wineries, which is important.”
KNOW YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Are you looking to visit the big wineries for a quick tasting, or do you want to sample wines you won’t find at the LCBO? Do you just want to get out for the weekend for some good times, or do you want to learn more about the vintages and pairings? Is food included?
What it really comes down to is the kind of experience you want. On the one hand, you may be looking for a truly meaningful getaway. Fuccillo says, “Our guests are those looking to broaden their horizons or get more in depth into food, wine, and the history of our wine region.” On the other hand, you may like a more casual experience. “We do junk food pairings. Like pairing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with a Pinot Noir,” says Paget. “Because people just don’t drink champagne and eat caviar.”
So before you book, ask your sweetie, your pals, or yourself what you hope to get from your getaway. Cheers!
Pondview Estate Winery
Award-winning, family-owned-and-operated winery offering amazing service tailored for small groups.
Konzelmann Estate Winery
A lakefront winery with gorgeous views. They have grapes that grow right down into the water!
Between the Lines Winery
Their sparkling wine is sold in packs of three cans (the equivalent of a bottle), which means that you can enjoy some bubbly without letting any go to waste!
by Emily Bednarz
Niagara Grape & Wine Festival
Grape Escape Wine Tours
Niagara Vintage Wine Tours
Niagara Wine Tour Guides