There are several dozen wine tour options for the Niagara wine region. Almost all are offering transportation to and from wineries, plus wine tastings at them. Vehicles range from large buses (20-40 people), minivans ( 8-16 Passengers), SUVs, Wagons, and passenger cars. There are limousines, English style taxi-cabs, and even a Jeep or two. Hardier souls can rent a bike or mini Escooter to get around.
Large buses may have a driver and a guide, but do not pick up at your door. Smaller buses, minivans, and autos do offer pick-up service. They will have a guide/driver, which is fine, as long as he takes time for each duty on its own. In other tours, the driver is more of a super Uber guy than a real guide.
I am not going to write about them. Each has its own website to toot their own horns. Check them out, compare what they offer to what I do, and then make your own informed choice.
Let me tell you about my Niagara Experience.
My tours are based on 35 years of wine tours worldwide, plus several years working in the local wine industry. I know the good and bad of group tours as a guest, guide, and driver, and the positive experiences of visiting wineries on my own.
My tour generally gets an early start at 11 AM, but this can be changed at your convenience. It lasts for five hours plus, then takes you back to your residence.
You get to choose four spots from my shortlist of wineries and craft brewers. I have personally selected them for their wines, but also for their superior customer service. I will accept requests for other wineries in the Niagara on the Lake wine region, but I do believe I have selected the best already. All my wineries are small owner-operated businesses. They are the classic Niagara wineries.
There is more to the Niagara area than wine. I stop at a jam stand, a chocolate shop, and a market garden. I also stop at several local sightseeing places for a quick introduction to other worthwhile spots to visit.
Many tours offer Guide services, but when your guide is also driving a van and dodging all the bike tour folks, they have little chance to engage with the passengers at the back of the bus.
In my small SUV, we get to have a normal conversation as we go along. I can comment on the area as we pass by. I also take the time to stop at a very special place to show where Niagara Falls actually started. This spot illustrates the geography and geology that make the Niagara wine Region such a unique place.
Conversations include the history of wine and a unique take on the spread of wine to the new world. There are related chats on wine tasting, the wineries we visit, and the local area’s history, before and after the wine invasion. Note: there is no written test afterward!
I also allow time for lunch. I have several local restaurants available in wine country, but my most popular option is my Picnic Experience. This is based on my own experiences in touring the area for many years. We can order a Subway sandwich or a Pizza to be picked up along the way. I also have a gourmet sandwich and coffee shop with great pastries. Grab the food, then picnic in wine country. No other tour offers this option.
When we are done, and only when we are fully done, do I take you back to your residence.
AS I have said, this is not just a wine tour, It’s a Niagara Experience!