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Niagara Winery Tours & Tastings

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by Ho||yw0oD, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. Ho||yw0oD

    Ho||yw0oD TRIBE Member

    Hey guys,

    Would any of you care to recommend some wineries that have a great tour followed by structured tasting?

    I have not gone to many... only Strewn, Peninsula Ridge and Henry of Pelham.
  2. Aerius Zension

    Aerius Zension TRIBE Member

    3 tours sounds like many compared to the avg person. What more do you need to learn on a wine tour?

    Peller Estates and Hillebrand have basic tours, and more in depth tours. Try the latter.
  3. Incrimin8

    Incrimin8 TRIBE Member

    East Dell, Stoney Ridge, Vineland and Tawse are a few of our favs.
  4. KillaLadY

    KillaLadY TRIBE Member

    My fiancee and I have done pretty much all of them, as it's our hobby lol. For experience and vibe, don't do the big ones... do the medium and small ones, you get treated better and get more wine for free and some of the small wineries have outstanding wines.

    Our fav is Cave Springs in Jordan (which is mid size)... their wines are incredible, especially the whites. I don't think I have found a better white wine in Ontario than Cave Springs - and I drink a shit load of wine. lol

    Iniskillin for ice wine, but service sucks, there are bus loads of Japanese people, which LOVE their ice wines, so unless you have cash, nobody will pay attention to you there.

    Tawse has a great vibe and good whites... plus very good looking women, lol or at least that is what my man says.

    Caroline Cellars have wicked Lobsterfest events, which happen once a year in August. Band, good lobsters and great wines.
    Ch√Ęteau des Charmes has good reds and if you get a hold of madame there, you are lucky, because she loves to drink wine and loves to share her vintages with people.

    Stratus has a beautiful building, and patio - so it's a great spot during summer to sip on your Riesling.

    A great winery that we both love is Megalomaniacs... it's fairy new and the owner is very laid back, loves to share his wine with wine lovers and he has some great reds.

    I got more recommendations, but it depends what you are looking for.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2010
  5. Ho||yw0oD

    Ho||yw0oD TRIBE Member

    Just like with brewery tours, wine tours don't get old (at least to me). There are subtle differences on each tour. Really, I like the tasting part more than anything.


    Thanks for recommendations so far. Keep 'em coming. I'm looking for a small, intimate tour (for free or under $10). I'm looking for a good tasting at the end, ideally having cheeses, breads and fruits paired with wines where respectively appropriate. Laid back and small enough that we can have good conversation with our hosts at the end.
  6. moose-meat

    moose-meat TRIBE Member

    Coyote Run is close to Chateau Charmes / Inniskillen and worth the effort.

    I bought a case 2 months ago and there are 4 bottles left. Good stuff.
  7. Rage

    Rage TRIBE Member

    I just did the Chef's Select Dinner package at Hildebrand a few weeks ago with my girl and honestly, I have got to say it was one of the most spectacular dinning/drinking experiences we've had.

    You are greeted with a glass of champagne, taken into the kitchen where you meet the executive chef, he gives you a tour of the galley and presents you with some nice white's pared with cured meets.

    Your then taken into a private hall where each and every guest has their own waiter bring you out coarse after coarse with unlimited wine for each coarse, all selected by the chef.

    The main coarse was a hand carved rib-eye by the chef followed by a presentation by the pastry chef on the deserts that was being served and pared with ice wines.

    I know this isn't exactly what your looking to do but if you do, it's well worth it.
  8. Preroller

    Preroller TRIBE Member

    So, your looking for a place that will do free wine, cheese, bread and fruit? Can I has go too please?

    You better be buying a few bottles at least on the way out!

    You could try Rosewood as well, Krystina will take care of you.
  9. I_bRAD

    I_bRAD TRIBE Member

    coarse meets
  10. Aerius Zension

    Aerius Zension TRIBE Member

    Point taken. My reco's are big wineries. Haven't done the smaller ones, so its renewed my faith.
  11. jeffpayne

    jeffpayne TRIBE Member

    want to meet a character at a small winery. Try Daniel Lenko. he loves his cars, machinery and ladies just as much as his wine. he's a trip
  12. Ho||yw0oD

    Ho||yw0oD TRIBE Member

    Only Peninsula Ridge ever offered me a tasting like that. But yes, we made sure to grab some of their bottles that are not available at the LCBO.
  13. dig this

    dig this TRIBE Member

    bump'n this thread...

    I'm looking to do a self-guided bike tour of some wineries with some friends this summer... Anyone have any tips & tricks? i.e. How many wineries could we expect to hit in a day? Routes we should take? Place to stop for lunch/dinner on the way?

  14. moose-meat

    moose-meat TRIBE Member

    Indeed ! Just a bit east from Peninsula Ridge and Daniel was great. But his dad stole the show with handing out the samples of his home made apricot jam.

    I found Tawse to be a bit too "snobby".

    Big find from this past trip was Rockway Glen and their awesome 2 for 1 sale on selected whites. Nice stuff.
  15. dstarr

    dstarr TRIBE Member

    I had a great time at Thirty Bench... it's small. We even brought our own food and had a picnic on their property.

    my buddy works at Hidden Bench.. also small and good.
  16. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    Fielding Wine Estates is pretty nice, small, but very nice, great view of the escarpment area. Ask for Jenny to be your tour guide, this young lady is not only very knowledgeable, but smoken hot.

    Also, she will ask "why is the area so good for growing grapes, does anybody know what type of soil is in the area?"

    Answer - Sandy Loam - she will be yours.
  17. RumRogerz

    RumRogerz TRIBE Member

    I worked at Peller Estates and Hillebrand for a few seasons. Never really checked out the other wineries - I was so busy working.
    What I can tell you is Peller Estates has a very nice establishment. they spent mega bucks on this thing. SO much so, that they couldn't afford building an actual production facility. That is supplemented by Hillebrand (same company)
    In terms of touring - I found the winemasters at Hillebrand more thorough and articulate - the winemaster at Peller was almost always drunk.
    If you want a more visual experience, with awesome wine pairings with local cheeses and cured meats - Peller is where it's at. It's so pretty in there.
    If you want a more educational, academic approach - Hillebrand.
    Things could have changed by now though - its been 3 years.
  18. Aerius Zension

    Aerius Zension TRIBE Member

    Learned lots from my last post in this thread. Aside from visiting the big wineries like Pellar, Hillebrand, and such, we really enjoyed Caroline Cellars and Reif Estate. Both are on the Niagara on the Lake water line, completely accessible by bike. Just find a map and stay on this trail. No need for appointments, just watch the signs and find a winery, impossible to miss.

    I'd stick to the smaller wineries if you want to find one-to-one service, and go to the big ones if you want a meal + wine. We never paid for our wine tastings at the smaller ones as they didn't charge us.
  19. KillaLadY

    KillaLadY TRIBE Member

    Hit the small to medium-sized wineries - TRUST ME.
    Get better service and surprinsingly better wine.

    Megalomaniac was OUTSTANDING last year.
  20. Ho||yw0oD

    Ho||yw0oD TRIBE Member

    We really liked Chateau des Charmes winery when we went to Niagara last fall.
  21. greginhali

    greginhali TRIBE Member

    Do you think it is too early to go on any of these tours? We want to go this weekend, which would be our first time. Or is it better to go in the summer?
  22. Persephone

    Persephone TRIBE Member

    depends on what you want to get out of the tour. If you're mostly interested in seeing the facilities and just sampling lots of wine then this time of year might be better because its not overrun with tourists.

    However, if you want to have a more detailed tour where you get to see the different varieties of grape, learn about the harvest, then going later in the summer or fall might be better. Not all wineries offer this kind of tour experience either, mind you. Of the 3 that I visited, only Lailey offered such a detailed tour.
  23. Ho||yw0oD

    Ho||yw0oD TRIBE Member

    ^ x2. Personally, the tours get tired very quickly. But it does make for one great afternoon to select a few wineries to go, hang out at the wine bar and sample a bunch of different wines.

    If you want to make a special weekend of it, maybe rent a towncar (edit: with driver) and hit up a bunch of different wineries?
  24. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    my wife actually mentioned this story again over the weekend. LOL
  25. [- FuNKtiOn -]

    [- FuNKtiOn -] TRIBE Member

    I'd also wait til the weather is a bit warmer, when things are a bit more in full swing of growth and production.

    Last summer, the best tour we did was at Reif Estates Winery. Super informative, great wine, funny and engaging tour guide, and being able to wrap things up by sitting in their "sensory garden" while drinking wine and eating charcuterie plates was a great way to spend the afternoon.

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