It may not be the first thing people think of when they hear “Canada,” but wine tourism is alive and well in the Great White North. The Niagara region of Ontario alone is home to about 40 wineries, most of which offer tours, tastings and seminars.
Niagara's Hillebrand Estate Winery offers wine tastings, dining and gorgeous views.
There are a number of options available to visitors looking to experience Niagara’s wine industry. In addition to public tours, some offer various seminars on wine-related topics or tours of specific production techniques, such as those specific to Icewine production, a specialty of the region. There are also third-company tour providers that provide transportation between wineries for those wanting to visit a number of wineries in a single day.
One unique way for visitors to explore local wineries is by bicycle. Zoom Leisure offers an afternoon tour to three wineries for $65 per person, and a day-long picnic tour for $90 per person. Contact www.zoomleisure.com, or call 905-468-2366.
For a more traditional tour, your clients can relax as they take a bus tour of Niagara’s wineries. Niagara Wine Tours (905-374-8111) offers door-to-door travel from Toronto or the Niagara region and includes a four-hour tour of five wineries, including tastings. A deluxe tour, including lunch and time in Niagara-on-the-Lake is also available.
For your more sophisticated clients, Niagara Classic Cabs (905-262-0005) offers the opportunity to experience Niagara’s wineries in a classic London cab. Prices start at $40 per person for a one-winery tour, and increase to $150 per person for an eight-winery tour.
Where to Stay
A charming bed-and-breakfast may be the most appropriate way to enjoy Niagara-on-the-Lake. Options in the area include the historic Charles Inn (866-556-8833), which has 12 unique guestrooms, many of which feature fireplaces. Private verandahs overlook Lake Ontario and a golf course, and guests can dine in the old parlor. A two-night “Wine Experience” package in June runs from $622 per couple midweek and $685 on weekends. The package includes breakfast, a guided winery tour and a three-course à la carte dinner at the Charles Inn dining room, created by award-winning Chef William Brunyansky. Agents receive a 10 percent commission on accommodations; they should call or visit the travel agent page of the website at https://ciwebres.charlesinn.ca/Travel_Inq.asp.