I recently had the privilege of joining a group of ladies in wine country for a bachelorette weekend, and I think it’s safe to say we were all very impressed with our wine tour. It was well organized, educational and fun! In this post, I’m going to outline the tour inclusions and share my thoughts on the private wine tour that we experienced.
We booked our tour via Winery Tours of Niagara. Our bachelorette host chose and shared the tour via our Facebook Group, and it was easy to make payments for individuals via their website using our group code – no issues there. This package is a basic outline of the one we reserved (see the image below for details of our package inclusions – it doesn’t exist on their site apparently).
We were picked up from [and dropped off at] our hotel by a private Winery Tours of Niagara coach van, which was clean and had A/C (it was an incredibly hot weekend and we were all in black). Our three chosen wineries were Konzelmann, Reif and Between the Lines. I had visited all three before, but only during the winter Ice Wine Festival, so I was excited to go during peak season when everything is still green.
Our first stop was Konzelmann, where we had a private tasting of four different wines/ice wines on the upper level and a partial view of the vines/lake (there is also a viewpoint outside for photo ops). It was a fairly casual experience, but a good one – though the steps would have been a doozy if this had been our last winery stop.
Next, we headed to Jackson-Triggs and had an in-depth private tasting and tour, paired with cheese and chocolate (both very tasty I might add). The building itself it quite large and modern, and has some amazing views to offer from the back deck the upper level outside. Our guide, Riley, filled us in on how the grape roots are grafted, how the land is laid out (owned versus farmed) and how important temperature is for the success of the winery (especially when picking grapes for ice wine). I found the tour quite informative, as I learned quite a bit about how the grapes are processed and the differences in techniques used and duration of time to ferment red and white wines. We were guided behind the scenes to see the vats, as well as to the storage cellar, and of course, we explored the wine shop too.
Our third stop was at Reif, which I found the least desirable of the tours. Our tasting was in what I would call the “buggy back room” and very informal with no structure or extra wine details offered (though at this point, we were all pretty happy to chat amongst ourselves). I had also never seen Reif during the summer, but didn’t like the feel of it – too much astroturf and not enough character (the shop/public tasting area is much nicer). Sorry Reif, but this was not my best visit.
Finally, we stopped off at the smaller, but quickly growing winery, Between the Lines. The building itself has expanded since last winter and it was pretty busy. One of the owners actually served us during the tasting and she told us how the winery got its name and how she and her husband had moved here from Germany. The experience was delightful (especially their Late Harvest Riesling). Their wines aren’t sold at the LCBO, so several of us made purchases.
We had one more stop-off at Chocolate F/X for a quick sampling of goodies (nothing fancy in my opinion, but I used to work in a high-end chocolate shop so I’m a little biased) before heading back to the hotel.
And last but not least, I could not forget to mention our driver, Bill - he was incredibly accommodating and friendly, and provided top-level service in my opinion. He arrived early to pick us up, waited patiently for us as we took pictures and explored each winery, accompanied us to each tasting, took and stored our sweaters and wine purchases, and gave us some wine history details as we drove between wineries. He was great! We gave him some wine and a nice tip for his gracious hospitality.
Of course, there were a few additional perks included with the tour (VIP lounge at Ruth Chris’ and line-by-pass at Dragonfly), but the winery tour was definitely my favourite part. If you have questions about the wineries or the tour itself, feel free to ask. I’ve also done the Ice Wine Festival twice and highly recommend it – here’s a related post from last winter with details.
A millennial woman with 'old school' values, working my way through life in Canada and traveling when I can afford to. Seeking out my passions one day at a time.