Remember that you will be tasting wines, hopefully several, and you do
have to get around from one vineyard to the other safely. So it’s a good
idea to take along a non-drinker as your driver. Better yet, sign up
for a guided tour or do a bike tour of the vineyards. If you do plump
for a self-driving tour, use these excellent vineyard maps to help plan your route.
One good choice is to come to Niagara during one of the many wine festivals, where there are often special ‘passports’ to the participating wineries, gala dinners, tastings of current releases and meetings with winemakers.
If youare coming for the day, start your wine-country tour early, before the
crowds arrive. The samples are only 30ml (1 oz.), and you can always spit out the
wine after tasting, so it’s quite acceptable to start before noon.
Most wineries open at 10am and you’re likely to have the tasting staff all
to yourself, which means you can take time to savor the flavors, ask questions,
and perhaps purchase a bottle that you like best. You probably won’t
manage more than five or six wineries in a day.
Wine tastings should be experienced, slowly, with time to appreciate the
particular terroir of the winery, the atmosphere of the tasting rooms,
and finally the quality and characteristics of the particular wine you
are sampling. The wines you discover and fall in love with will be
particular to you and will reflect your personal experience and taste.
So for me to recommend wines that I love and that I think you will also love, is a gamble. What I would suggest is a day invested in visiting
wineries you have not encountered before, mixing some of the big name
established wineries with some of the small new boutique wineries.
One sure bet is that you will spend a lovely day in wine country, and
I’m pretty sure that you will find more than one wine that will bewitch
you, and several bottle that will come home with you.