Niagara on the Lake Wine Tour

I’ve had some great birthday celebrations in my 25 years… Pool parties as little kid, taking a limo to see the second Harry Potter movie when I was 13, and gourmet dinners at Blacktree in more recent years… but my 25th birthday was hands down the best birthday I’ve ever had. I celebrated with my friends and family last weekend, and this weekend was JZ’s present to me: a Niagara on the Lake wine tour!

Zoom Leisure Niagara on the Lake

We started at Zoom Leisure where they set us up with bikes, a map, a tour booklet, and some vouchers for wine tastings at various local wineries. It was pretty busy so there was a bit of a wait, but otherwise it was a smooth process and we were on the road by 11 am.

Zoom Leisure Niagara on the Lake

Our first stop was Jackson Triggs Winery, which was just down the road. We were just in time for a tour, so we decided to join it. It was neat to learn about their wine-making process and get some samples along the way. I enjoyed their white Meritage (like the Canadian version of a Bordeaux) blend, but wasn’t a big fan of the shiraz – I actually had to pour it out after my first sip! My favourite was by far the ice wine, which was so sweet and peachy!

Jackson Triggs wine tour

Jackson Triggs

We had some meat and cheese in our coolers and for fear of leaving them out in the sun too long and getting food poisoning, we decided to have lunch next (okay I may have insisted upon it… blame it on all my schooling on the pathologic microorgansisms of food!). We actually enjoyed our picnic last weekend so much that we almost exactly replicated it this weekend. Can’t ever go wrong with baguette, cheese, and meat.

Niagara on the Lake picnic

We hopped back on our bikes afterwards and pedaled to Oast House Brewery for our only beer experience of the day. I’ve tried so many times, but I just cannot get accustomed to the taste of beer – I couldn’t finish and had to give mine to JZ. I know, I’m a wuss. I wish I liked beer though because the venue was so cool – they even sometimes get live music and food trucks on weekends!

Oast House Brewery

After this stop we had a longer bike ride through the vineyard lined back roads of Niagara on the Lake to get to Pondview Estate Winery that had a great vibe thanks to the soft John Mayer music playing in the background (although JZ begs to differ). We did a couple wine tastings here along with some fantastic olive oil and balsamic samples.

Pondview Winery

Just down the road was Caroline Cellars. This was one of the standout wineries of the day – the wines were amazing and the service was even better. Our sommelier was really knowledgeable and recommended the perfect wines for our tastes! We both finished off with an ice wine that she told us would “punch us in the face”… and it did.

Caroline Cellars

31May10

After this we headed onto the riverside trail, which didn’t have great views of the river but was still a pretty ride! It took us right by Inniskillin, which was our next stop. The Riesling here was awesome! The ice wine was great too, but you can never go wrong with ice wine. The vibe of this place was also really cool – there was a lunch grill and a huge outdoor area where you can hang out.

Inniskillin Winery

Our final wine stop was at Reif Estate Winery. I actually can’t even remember what wine we had here… I swear it’s not because I was drunk! However there was a man at the tasting bar who was raving quite loudly about a cheese sample he had tried, and I’m pretty sure he managed to convince every single person there to try this cheese, including us. It was definitely worth the $1 sample price! If only I could remember what dairy farm it’s from…

31May14

We almost got lost on our way back to the bike rental place – totally my fault – but eventually found our way back in time to make our 5:30 dinner reservations at Zee’s Grill. We had the choice of eating inside, on the veranda, or on the patio – we wanted to eat outside so we opted for the veranda because it had a nicer atmosphere than the patio.

The meal itself was spectacular – smoked salmon amuse bouche, bread and butter, mixed greens salad with pickled beets and carrots in a lemon Dijon vinaigrette with bee pollen, smoked pan seared salmon with orange scented quinoa and vegetables, and a vanilla cheesecake with strawberry rhubarb compote. Oh, and we had more wine if you can believe it!

Zee's Grill

We digested dinner while walking around Picton Street, which is full of touristy shops and restaurants – it would be a great place to spend an afternoon. We were losing steam by this point though, so we called it a day and hit the road by 8 pm. I was almost sad to leave… but I have a feeling we’ll be back soon!

Have you ever done a wine tour? How about a bike tour?

27 Comments

Filed under life, restaurant

27 Responses to Niagara on the Lake Wine Tour

  1. omg this looks like so much fun! and you look really happy girl! I would love to go on a wine tasting like this! Although I am a terrible bike rider… Oh well. I am glad you had a blast!

    • Chelsea

      Haha maybe a wine tasting via bike wouldn’t be the best idea for you then… wine definitely doesn’t make riding a bike any easier! ;)

  2. Umm, this looks the best trip ever! Fun!

  3. Wow, looks like you had a blast! The seared salmon looks amazing. I’ve never done a traditional wine tasting…just a small festival.

    PS – did you color your hair? The color looks beautiful – so vibrant and shiny :)

    • Chelsea

      Aw thanks! I didn’t dye it though. I haven’t coloured my hair in about 5 years because the last time I did, it got damaged!

  4. Oh my goodness hun, I know what I want to do for one of my next birthdays! This looks like an absolutely amazing way to spend a weekend day! My parents used to go to a vineyard on Long Island near where we used to spend the summer, which they loved. We got to run through the grapes if we were careful and sip grape juice and eat crackers while my parents tried different stuff. It was a lot of fun then, but I bet it would be even better now ;)

  5. What a fun day of fitness and food! I would love to do a bike tour like that! Glad you two enjoyed yourselves!!

  6. Pam

    I do a lot of bike tours with a group called Trailnet. Last summer we did a microbrewery tour that was similar to your wine tour. Also, last Saturday we toured 5 local museums and had scavenger hunts arranged at each venue. Trailnet is a class act, and I always have an awesome time with them.

  7. That looks like such a fun day! And of course, you and JZ are adorable ;-) I’ve done a couple of winery tours, but never done a biking tour to get to a couple of different ones – that’s awesome! Jackson-Triggs is definitely one of my favourite local wineries.

  8. I did the zoom leisure tour last summer with C! It was such a blast. Nothing like getting drunk while biking lol. You guys are so cute <3

  9. So my birthdays have been getting more and more low-key the older I get, but for my next one, I’m going to demand something like this… except I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be possible in the middle of winter, and I’m not even sure we have any kind of wineries around here. We do, however, have fields and fields of canola ;)

    • Chelsea

      Well a bike tour of canola fields sounds fascinating. Haha. In all seriousness though you should do something exciting for your next birthday! I now realize how much better it is than just having a low key one!

  10. Chels, this looks like an amazing trip- and outside the box from the norm.

    Saying that, if it was my birthday, I would get someone to drive me around… lol.

    • Chelsea

      Haha I should have had him bike me around while I lounged and ate cheese and figs in a little trailer attached to the back of his bike!

  11. Er PROPS to JZ for the best gift ever- this tours sounds amazing! I’ve never attended a wine tour/tasting but I would love to in the near future…even better if it’s in Napa ;)! Love the presentation of the amuse bouche..and totally drooling at that cheesecake.

  12. That wine tour looks amazing- I’ve never done a wine tour, but it’s definitely on my list!

    I am having a healthy living giveaway- $120 value organic detox kit- please stop by and enter! http://mylifebeingrenewed.blogspot.com/2014/05/raw-green-organics-2-week-detox-system.html

  13. P

    Aww happy birthday! Looks like a great birthday for sure!

  14. Well this is just the cutest thing ever! Looks like a fantastic bday! I’ve been thinking about doing one of the biking wine tours, so I’m so pleased you did a review! They sound fantastic! Nothing prettier than the Niagara region in summer :)

  15. Pingback: Confessions of a busy blogger | Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen

  16. What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday! Happy belated by the way! The picnic, in my opinion, is just the icing on the cake…girl, it’s like a movie script! Haha! And you and JZ make for the perfect young lovers! ;) I especially love the silly pic! Yes, I’m really behind so I’m sure this isn’t his first appearance on the blog, but the first I’ve seen. My only question…what is ice wine?

  17. Pingback: A day trip to Niagara Falls | Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen

Leave a Reply