Hey Hey! Happy Travel Tuesday Everyone! Today, we’re tying two of of my favorite things together… Travel and Wine. (Specifically Icewine on my end!) A few weeks ago, my friends at CarRentals.com reached out with what might be the BEST travel post I’ve seen in awhile, and I’m so excited that I get to share it with you!
How many of you love to go on vacation?! And how many of you also love wine?! Just a guess, but I can’t be the only one out there with my hand raised high above my head. Visiting vineyards has become one of the most popular things to do while on vacation. Not only because you get to tour a really beautiful place, but also because you can day drink without being judged.
So why not rent a car and make an entire vacation out of seeing some of the best wineries in whatever region you’re traveling to?! Whether you’re heading to Europe, South America, South Africa or staying here in the good ‘ol US of A, CarRentals.com has you covered. Here is a sneak peak at some amazing Wine Country Road Trips that I’m positive you will love!
So fun, right?! I’ve had my eye on Mendoza ever since I saw Lesley Murphy’s post on it a few years ago!
And if you’re looking for a wine trip a little bit closer to home… just keep reading 🙂
Last week, we explored the adorable small town of Niagara on the Lake, AKA Canada’s Wine Country! NOTL is charming AF. But if that’s not enough for you… I’ve got 20 (and counting) reasons that will have you sold. And they all have the word “winery” in them.
From large estates, medium-sized operations and boutiques, you will see that when it comes to wines, size does not matter. Behind the doors of each winery you’ll find friendly staff, stylish and relaxed tasting rooms and a wide range of wines to sample. (I stole this right from my NOTL wine map guys… because I couldn’t have written it better myself!)
Each winery in the NOTL escarpment has a unique personality, serves up incredible wine, and have views that will make your mouth drop.
I mean… COME ON. You’re killin’ it NOTL!
Looking back, I wish we’d had planned a full weekend in NOTL to explore, but we didn’t. So we only had the chance to stop at 3 wineries. (Two were incredible. One… well let’s just say I’ve never felt more out of place in my life.) Today, I’m linking some options for some seriously awesome tours around the region, and sharing my experiences at three of the wineries!
If you want to leave the planning up to someone else, get yourself on one of these awesome wine tours around NOTL!
But, if you want to do things on your own like we did, take a peak at where I recommend stopping on your tour below! BTW, I’m a firm believer in saving the best for last, so we’re going to start out with my least favorite of the three we visited.
Two Sisters Vineyards
Let me start by stating the obvious. Two Sisters Vineyards is absolutely STUNNING. But OMG I have NEVER felt so out of place in my life. The second I stepped in my outfit seemed not quite up to to par, the staff seemed not quite as friendly as previous wineries, and it seemed like maybe I just didn’t quite fit in. And I definitely wasn’t alone in this feeling, as 95% of the people walking in were awkwardly fidgeting about the main hallway and walking back out right with me. Now, because I felt so out of place, I didn’t taste their wine, so I can’t speak to that. But I will say that if you’re not a seasoned wino, this might not be the place for you. In fact, I would skip this one all together. (TBH, we only stopped in because it was right next door to Peller and we had extra time before our tour began there.) Why? Because I’d rather you spend your time at the next two places enjoying yourself than feeling super awkward.
Konzelmann Estates Winery
For the exact opposite feeling that you get at Two Sisters, head to Konzelmann where you’ll get the “wow factor” in their beautiful estate, and the friendliest staff you will ever meet. It was POURING out when we arrived to Konzelmann, and the first thing they said as we walked in? “Come on in! Dry off and have some wine!” I mean… how do you say no to that?!
The atmosphere at Konzelmann is my favorite kind… totally chill but also ridiculously nice. (Nice like fancy, but not too fancy, you know?) It’s understated in the fact that it’s tasting room small and cozy. You’d never expect that you were standing in one of NOTL’s oldest and most award winning wineries. Usually the combo of history and success leads to “stuffy”. But that isn’t the case here at all!
Konzelmann is known for being the only winery directly on Lake Ontario (dem views!) and for having one of the friendliest staffs in NOTL. And, not only is their staff super friendly, they know their stuff. We learned so much in our short time with them!
We did our tasting with Ingrid, and she was incredible! For $5 we each got to try 3 different wines. My favorite was the Peach Wine, Trev liked the Anniversary Riesling and we ended up purchasing their Gewürztraminer for Trev’s mom, which was also phenomenal. (And that’s coming from a girl who isn’t much of a wine drinker.)
(Heads up, this one is my favorite and we spent the most time here, so I have a lot to say! I’m going to share pictures as I write this one so you can see exactly what our tour looked like!)
I did so much research on wineries in NOTL before we went. I knew we only had a day, and I wanted to make the most of it. Every single site I read said the same thing… if you can only visit one, it should be Peller. After reading this for the billionth time, we booked “The Greatest Winery Tour” tickets and guys. I’m so happy we did!
From the second we stepped up to the Provincial French-style chateau, I was in love. I mean, the place is freakin’ gorgeous, and I felt like I was back in France… not just a 15 minute drive from Niagara Falls. The second we walked in, we felt “at home”. The staff was so friendly and helpful in pointing us in the right directions, and giving us some ideas of how we could spend our time until our tour began.
There are many different ways to experience Peller, like dining at their fine dining restaurant or on their patio at their Barrel House Grill, in their tasting room, at their wine shop, in their Barrel Cellar, on a wine tour, or my personal favorite… in their 10Below Icewine Lounge!
We chose to book The Greatest Winery Tour and it was the best decision we made on our trip. Even my mom (who doesn’t drink at all) loved this tour! For only $30 per person, we toured the winery and got wine tasting and Icewine tasting in their 10Below Icewine Lounge.Find our exact wine tour here!
Our tour began when we met our guide Kari (who claimed she was new but guys, she was INCREDIBLE and I legit don’t believe she wasn’t a pro) and with the rest of our group. We lucked out and only had two other people with us, so it was pretty much like a private tour and we felt pretty dang special.
Our first stop was just out the main doors to the tasting patio, where we learned how to properly cheers and toast to our special celebrations, with a taste of their Ice Cuvee Rose, which was freakin’ delicious. (You’re about to see that I know nothing about drinking wine! So I won’t be able to tell you about the wine in wino talk, but I will be able to tell you if it was good or not. HAHA)
From here we headed into their vines to learn about why grapes grow so well in the Niagara Escarpment. Here we took pictures in the vines, and tasted their Private Reserve Rose. Also, v. yummy.
Next we headed into their Barrel Cellar! This was so cool, and reminded me of the barrel cellar we visited when I was in France so many years ago. Here, we tasted some red wines and some cheese. I didn’t like them. But I don’t like any red wines, soooo don’t listen to me. I did like the cheese though! Here we learned about how eating certain things will make your wine taste different, and about how long different wines stay in barrels. We also learned about how different barrels make wines taste different.
Then, it was on to the COOLEST part of the trip, the 10Below Icewine Lounge! Before we went in, we learned about Icewine and how they make it at Peller. The labor of love it takes to make Icewine makes it easy to see just why it is so expensive. It takes 40-60 bunches of grapes to make a 375 mL bottle! These grapes must be picked when it is 10-20 degrees below zero, in the middle of the night. I mean, that is some SERIOUS dedication.
The Icewine Lounge was awesome, and here we tried Icewine for the first time. And I fell head over heels in love. I never expected to spend a small fourtune on a teeny little bottle of wine, but I couldn’t leave without it. And let me tell you, it was worth every.damn.loonie.
Our tour finished after we left the Icewine Lounge, in the shop. We thanked Kari, and by mentioning her name, we received a discount on everything we purchased. (I can’t remember exactly how much, but I feel like it was 10%?)
If we had a nicer day (it was rainy while we were there) we would have bought cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine to eat on the grounds of Peller. It was so beautiful and peaceful and I didn’t want to leave! However, the rain made that perfect little day dream impossible, so I settled for a running barefoot through their vines. (Something they encourage you to do! Where the other vineyards want you to stay out of their vines.)
We loved our time at Peller and will 100% be back to visit again in the near future. (Honestly, probably as soon as we run out of our Icewine.) One of my favorite things about it is how “photo friendly” it is. Like it or not, we’re a generation of people that will do anything for the ‘Gram, and Peller allows you so many great photo ops that you don’t get in other places!
Have you been to NOTL?! If so, what were your favorite wineries?! I’d love to add them to my list for next time!
And don’t forget… if you’re in Niagara Falls and need a car to get you to wine country, check out CarRentals.com for all your rental needs!!!
Andddd don’t forget to check out my other Niagara Falls posts below!
Alright my loves, this is literally the longest post, and I’m sure you’re tired of listening to me ramble about wine! I’ll be back tomorrow for another round of #WhatUpWednesday!
Have a great Tuesday everyone!