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Suggestions for wine touring in June..self guided vs group?

Houston, Texas
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38 posts
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Suggestions for wine touring in June..self guided vs group?

Hello again!

Aside from lodging questions...my husband and I are interested in touring wineries all over the region. Whether close to the river or further west near Jordan.

We plan to bike some and wondered if we could just use a map and look up times and do a self guided tour. Would it be better to go with a group for better treatment? I like the idea that if we purchase while touring the group will deliver your purchases back for you versus us lugging them via bike. Since we are renting a car we love taking the less beaten path and discovering the niche areas on our own among countryside roads and lovely scenery....so we also like the idea of doing a day of touring that way. We would love to do a picnic lunch....I am a big slow food/local food gal and want to experience the markets and fruit/veggie stands around the area as well as the gourmet cheese and pastry havens.

I also like the idea of doing an elaborate dinner in the vineyards...I looked into Peller and Hildebrand but their dates for these arent out yet, we will be there June 27 and stay for 3-4 nights. Because this is such a special vacation for us and we are really big into wine and gourmet cuisine, we want to experience the culinary trails of this region.

As far as our wine tastes...I prefer crisp to medium whites and hubby is more of a medium to full bodied red drinker as well as a love for micro-breweries.

I'd love to combine wine touring with visiting twenty valley and Jordan and seeing any antique stores, lunch with a nice waterfront view, etc.

SO do you suggest taking the self guided adventure or booking a group tour? We definitely dont like the supersized tour feel. We like intimacy and feeling in touch with the culture of a region without tons of tourists crowding every entrance or road. :)

We want to feel like we are locals but experience the diversity of such a prestigious food and wine region.

We will be staying at the Grand Victorian as of now which is near Reif along the river so those few wineries around that area we can definitely make an afternoon of and possibly picnic by the river if we pick up some goodies from Kurtz orchard or some farmers markets (not sure if there are any during Mon-Thursday).

THANK YOU for any assistance!!!

:)

Kirbi

London, Canada
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3,759 posts
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1. Re: Suggestions for wine touring in June..self guided vs group?

Hi kirbi~

I'd recommend creating your own personal tour based on your likes. Overall it will be much more satisfactory than going to wineries which don't interest you.

Our favourite area to explore and taste is the Jordan/Vineland area and in particular Vineland Estates, Peninsula Ridge, Flat Rock and Tawse wineries.

http://www.twentyvalley.ca/page/wineries

Angel's Gate has a wonderful tapas lunch and on a clear day you can see Toronto across the lake while dining on the patio. But we also love Vineland Estates restaurant for lunch, dinner or even an afternoon cheese plate.

http://www.vineland.com/

Dining at Peller and Hillebrand is highly recommended, but aside from the wineries the "must do" dining experience in Niagara on the Lake is at the

Stone Road Grille. Simply fabulous! And if you stay in town (see other post) you can walk there.

http://www.stoneroadgrille.com/

Have a closer look at some of the links. They might give you some insight into what you'd enjoy most. :)

Cambridge, Canada
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243 posts
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2. Re: Suggestions for wine touring in June..self guided vs group?

My husband and I have traveled to Niagara on the Lake the past 3 years for our Anniversary. We stay for 4 days. We tend to drive around to wineries in the morning then go for lunch and return to the hotel. From there, we walk to some of the closer wineries or around the town. It is a great time.

We have had barrel cellar dinners at Peller and Jackson Triggs (preferred JT). Last year we went to Stone Road Grille. I recommend Stone Road Grille, but make sure you make a reservation. It is a great place for a special meal (looks like nothing on the outside, but wait until you enter and taste their food....). We ate at the Charles Inn and were very disappointed.

Have a great time!

Houston, Texas
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38 posts
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3. Re: Suggestions for wine touring in June..self guided vs group?

Thank you for your responses!

I agree Tobie that it might be the most fun and 'to our tastes' to just create our own tour. We will have a car. I am not worried about driving...just more worried about how to go about scheduling the tours and assembling our visits? I guess we should just select our chosen wineries and then look at their touring schedules. From a few Ive looked at so far I get the idea that some may need reservations or are only open certain days?? I am sure getting lost is no big deal as the scenery is so nice, but definitely want to be efficient in getting around.

We'd also like to maybe bike around the Niagara Parkway and hit the wineries more central to NOTL. That said, I also really want to get out in the wine country and experience the scenery and atmosphere and everything farm and wine land has to offer. Should we set aside two afternoons for this? I know those are two very different day plans. Especially since we will want to include some al fresco dining for lunch.

Is it worth it to do a small tour to get information and the history as well as directions taken care of? I just hate supersized tours and love the intimacy and adventure of exploring in a beautiful region.

Also thanks for the restaurant suggestions as I have been reading through reviews and old posts and I certainly wish I could stay for a month just to try them all!! So that will be my next dilemma is narrowing down food choices!

Thanks again!

Kirbi

London, Canada
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3,759 posts
71 reviews
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4. Re: Suggestions for wine touring in June..self guided vs group?

kirbi~ You can easily plan your own itinerary for 2 afternoons. Biking in and around Niagara on the Lake is easy, stopping where you like. Another day you could explore the Jordan/Vineland/Bench wine area by car.

If you have someplace in mind for lunch then that might have to be planned since reservations----even mid-day, but especially in the evening----are recommended.

But I would say doing one or two actual "tours" of a winery might be sufficient.....the tastings and seeing the properties will take enough time and be the most enjoyable part. I'd recommend seeing a traditional winery and perhaps one like Tawse, Flat Rock or Stratus which are completely different. They don't all do tours but at Tawse you can see the biodynamic/gravity configuration from the tasting room. Flat Rock does offer tours:

flatrockcellars.com/pages/…tours-and-tastings

There are maps available when you arrive or you can download the wine route map......

.http://winesofontario.org/html/trav_notl.htm

There are smaller package van tours available so it depends whether they would hit the wineries you're particularly interested in, or have lunch where you like. We usually enjoy the freedom to stop when we like, and plan what we want, but everyone has their preferences.......

Either way, you'll enjoy your time in Niagara! :)

5. Re: Suggestions for wine touring in June..self guided vs group?

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