Wine tours are the most popular activity in Niagara-On-The-Lake, and for good reason! This area of Ontario is absolutely filled with world-class wineries. In order to enjoy wine tours without having to drive, we recommend signing up for a tour with Grape Escape Wine Tours. That’s exactly what we did during our recent visit to Niagara, opting for their afternoon bike tour. A bicycle wine tour may sound intimidating to some, but Grape Escape Wine Tours ensures that all their guests have fun – no matter what their fitness level! To start, they have a wide range of high quality bikes for you to choose from. I had no problem finding a bike that was properly sized for my short height! Helmets were also provided (if you want to use one), along with a bike pouch for storage and a bottle of water.
One of the most important things you should know about this wine tour is how easy the bike ride is. Not only is each portion of the route no more than 15 minutes, but we also spent most of our time on a bike path (versus riding on the road). The few times we did ride on the road were on very quiet back roads where there were hardly any cars. If you’re nervous about riding a bike or worried about riding in traffic, know that none of that is a concern on this bicycle wine tour! It was a very easy and enjoyable ride.
For our afternoon tour, we visited four local wineries. They were strategically picked based on their location – creating the perfect 12km bike route. The first winery we visited was Reif Estate Winery. This was my third time visiting this particular winery, but my first time experiencing their behind-the-scenes tour. This was our longest stop, and the only winery where we say how wine is made. We also learned about how to properly hold a wine glass and sample wines, which was the perfect thing to learn at the beginning of our wine tour because we all looked like experts for the rest of the day!
Next up, we visited the beautiful Riverview Cellars. At this winery we sampled three different wines, which were paired with three different types of cheese. They also had an incredible merlot habanero jelly that was to die for. Our host taught us a bit about pairing wines and cheeses, and told us about the history of Niagara’s wine scene. Knowing how to pair wines with food is a great skill to have, and this introduction to pairing wines with cheeses was easy to understand and very useful.
Our third stop was our smallest winery, Frogpond Farm. Not only did the small size of this winery make the visit feel more intimate, but Frogpond is one of the very few organic wineries in Niagara. The staff taught us a bit about their organic process for winemaking, and we sampled two different wines. I think a common misconception about organic products is that they tend to be more expensive, but the wines at Frogpond Farm were very well priced. I really loved how Grape Escape took us to such a unique winery, because this is one that many people wouldn’t know to visit on their own.
The last winery we visited was my favourite of the day – Marynissen Estates Winery. Their wine is fantastic (especially their Cabernet Franc!) but the staff are what made this my favourite stop. Our host was much fun, and taught us about wine in a very laid-back environment. Our group shared a lot of laughs at this winery, and it was the perfect way to end our tour.
For any wine purchases we made, we actually left them at each winery. A driver from Grape Escape Wine Tours went around to each winery to collect our purchases, and they were given to us at the end of the tour. This worked out well because carrying a half dozen bottles of wine on a bicycle doesn’t sound easy.
To get a behind-the-scenes look at our tour, check out the video below. You book your own wine tour by visiting their website. They have plenty of tours to choose from, including vehicle tours and ones with lunch included.
The team at Kelly Ella Maz were welcomed at Grape Escape Wine Tours as guests, however our opinions remain our own.