I balked at the prices of wine tour packages when I first started exploring options in Niagara-on-the-Lake. $100 per person to visit three wineries?! Mmmm Given that I’ve yet to use this service, I can’t speak from personal experience on what it’s like, but have asked two friends who have and… well, there’s nothing offered that I can’t do myself. You simply hire a driver to take you to these wineries. If you’re willing to pay for the convenience of not trying to decide a route or don’t have a designated driver, then this service is the way to go.
I’m a planner though and I find the research part fun. Plus, my little sister who missed me so willingly agreed to be the DD. There are tons of wineries to choose from, so how did I decide on the four we ultimately visited?
- I looked at how long tours are on average – they range from half an hour to an hour. There are more elaborate ones that offer tours with cheese and wine pairings as well as just tours with tastings at the end. I was interested in the latter.
- Also, I was driving in from Hamilton and would not stay the night so that eliminated any planning for accommodations.
- I found the Wine Country Ontario site really helpful and I created my wine route using that! It’s not that easy though when you don’t know where the wineries are in relation to each other. What I suggest is just selecting the wineries you want to visit, and if you don’t know which you want, there’s a short description of each winery on the same site. Just open up a new tab to this url. If it looked interesting, I included in my route and it’s easy to remove wineries or switch the order around. The route map and directions change accordingly.
- I also had to figure out timing on when each winery offered tours by visiting their website and scheduling them so I’d have enough time to get from one winery to the next.
Now, if this sounds complicated or too much work, then a tour definitely is the way to go. Time and the patience to research for information are required to map out your own custom route, but like I said, I enjoy that part of planning and it’s a way for me to learn a little bit in advance about the wineries I’d be visiting.
I’m hoping I can find something like this for the trip I’m planning to Walla Walla in the coming weeks.
How do you go about planning your winery tours? Would love to know of some tips for different wine regions.