I’m a girl who appreciates a good glass of wine and a good tradition. Visiting Niagara Wine Country every summer and touring around the wineries in the sun with my ladies, is one of my most anticipated summer traditions of all.
It all started a few years ago, when my cousin Ash and our mum’s decided it was time we took escape on a girls weekend. I cant recall how it came to be Niagara Wine Country we chose (lets assume it’s our collective love of wine) but we’ve never looked back. Now, every summer we carve out one weekend to head to the vineyards, to catch up, taste some fabulous wine and giggle our way through some of the country’s finest estate wineries. Happily, our group of gals grows every year. This year we were a group of seven, including my adorable little swiss grandmother who had an ear to ear smile the entire day. Cheers to her, she kept right up with us and was happy to prost! every glass.
Of course touring around while tasting wine all day requires a solid ‘DD’. Look no further than ‘Niagara Fun Tours‘. We’ve used this company for several years now and they are always on point. The tour bus picks us up at our hotel, takes us to four or five wineries (depending on the year), a quick chocolate factory stop, plus a lunch stop in between. The drivers are always so funny and informative. I’ve been going to wine country many years now and I’am always thrilled that I still learn something new about Niagara Wine Country from our tour driver. I should also note, the tour bus has ample under-carriage storage. This is important because the first couple years of this tradition, we each would buy a bottle or two from each winery. Now we know better: cases only. A fantastic way to try new bottles and stock up for the summer.
Included in our tour are 3 or 4 tastings from each winery, a little time to look around the estate, plus lots of time to shop the wines. Our first stop this year was Diamond Estates Winery. Here we enjoyed our tasting al fresco, in a beautiful grassy patch surrrounded by grapevines. Under an open white tent cover, we tasted among other things, their 2013 Fresh Moscato (surprisingly more crisp than sweet!) I also tried for the first time a red Ice Wine (most are produced from white).
Next we visited Palatine Hills Estate Winery. This is a repeat winery for me and I still love visiting it every time. Here, our tasting took place inside one of the fermentation rooms, surrounded by huge oak barrels and tanks. Our hilarious tasting host (Michele I believe? Another familiar face from visits past) kept us on our toes and had us in stitches while we enjoyed some of their Lakeshore Red and Lakeshore White, both fabulous bottles of which I took home more than a few…
Our third destination was Konzelmann Estate Winery. I have to say this is one of my favorite wineries, if for no other reason then their geographic location. This winery sits right on the lake and the views are breathtaking. A seamless vision of grapevines straight to the edge of the water. Few wineries in the region sit this close to the waters edge, the views are truly as good as their wine. Here we indulged in a Riesling Sparkling Wine, a perfect way to refresh our palates. Konzelmann also produces every year their famous Peach Wine, produced entirely from peaches… an ode to the peach orchards which dominated the land before it was Konzelmann Estate Winery. All of us ladies look so forward to the Peach Wine, when our tasting host finally brought it out for us to taste you could quite literally feel the room celebrate in a burst of giddiness. Always a favorite…I bought many, I always wish I took home more.
At this point in the tour, we stopped for lunch at Kurts Orchards. Its basically a farm-market-cafe situation. We place our lunch orders earlier in the day on the bus, chosen from a small but tasty menu and called in by our guide. By the time we arrive at Kurts the food is prepared and ready. We indulged in farm fresh oven roasted turkey sandwiches with sharp aged cheddar, on freshly baked bread. A variety of fruits and a pastry on the side. The market is always fun to shop as well. They always have an array of beautifully packaged local preserves and dips, locally produced balsamic fusions and of course a visual feast of fruits and vegetables. Not to mention the overwhelmingly pleasant aroma of all the fresh baked everything...
Last stop was Reif Estate Winery. Another gorgeous (and busy!) piece of wine making land. This is a larger winery as well. Having been to this winery before I can say with authority they produce amazing ice wine, possibly some of the best I’ve had. This time around however I scooped up their ‘2013 Fortune Cab-Rose’.
This simple black Zara dress Im wearing was perfect for touring around wineries all day. The gorgeous back is so simple and sexy, I fell in love with the skinny little straps. A hat is an absolute necessity for wine touring! We spend a lot of time in the sun, so staying protected with a hat and sunscreen is a first line of defence, allowing for more wine enjoyment. These sandals were also a Zara score, I love the unexpected little block heel, they made teetering between vines easy.
Not surprisingly, most of our happy tour group was made up of several small groups of ladies. It was easy to see we were all in the same girls-weekend-getaway wine boat. Heres to another fabulous escape, and to next year. Prost!
Big thanks to my cousin Ash and Aunt Son for kindly taking my photo for this photo diary.
Dress, Bag & Shoes // Zara
Bikini Top // Victoria’s Secret
Hat // Unknown (From a little beach shop in my neighbourhood)
Jewellery // Vintage