Well it’s official, fall is here; the leaves are turning, harvest is in full force and pumpkin spice everything is once again available. This doesn’t mean that it’s time to begin your winter hibernation and stop visiting wineries, in fact it’s quite the opposite, fall is probably the best time of year to get out and go wine touring. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran wine taster or thinking of making your first trip out to wine country, fall in wine country offers something for everyone! So give yourself a weekday or weekend break and get out and enjoy everything our local wineries have to offer.
Reason #1: It’s much quieter this time of year!
Anyone who has ever visited wine country almost any time between May and September knows how busy the wineries can get. Wineries big and small are cram packed and extremely creative about finding places to conduct tasting. While this is certainly fun for some it doesn’t represent the serene image we think of when we think about wine touring. While booking a wine tour through a tour company will ensure you great service year round, the fall is the time where you get the best service all around. Many days in the fall you will show up to a winery and be the only group there getting the VIP experience with the best staff, the best tasting locations and more time spent hands on. After harvest is over you might even luck out and stumble upon one of the winemakers or owners standing behind the tasting bar.
Reason #2: The weather is still great!
As Canadians we are all too aware of the reality that winter is on its way, and across much of the province fall is when those freezing temperatures start to set it. Don’t fear though, the wonderful climate that makes Niagara perfect for grape growing also makes it beautiful for touring late into the fall. Thanks to Lake Ontario, while the summer heat may be gone the refreshing cool fall air lingers on making it the perfect time to visit vineyards and take in all the beautiful sights around Niagara. Fall is that ideal time of year where neither heat, nor air conditioning are really needed you can just enjoy the fresh country air and all the smells of harvest. In the rare occasion that you may have some rain, if you have a wine tour booked you can stay nice and dry with door to door service from your hotel to the wineries.
Reason #3: Delicious new wine releases!
As harvest approaches the late summer becomes a flurry of bottling at the wineries as they try to free up tank and barrel space for the upcoming harvest. After a few weeks to settle down and pass through bottle shock the fall is the perfect time for the first of the year’s new wine releases. Take the opportunity to try new wines before anyone else and maybe even get your hands on a rare limited release before it’s all gone. The perennial favourites that are always sold out when you visit in the summer are freshly bottled and fully stocked for you to enjoy.
Reason #4: It’s the perfect way to stock up on wine for Gifts and Festivities!
For many of us there seems to be a never ending need for wine this time of year, between having the perfect wines on hand for holiday get togethers and family reunions to bringing a bottle or two with you to a friend or colleagues place for dinner, it seems like every week there’s something. What better way than to stock up on the unique wines only available in wine country? While some local wines are available in the LCBO the best and rarest are produced in such small quantities that they can only be found at the winery. Be that trailblazer that introduces everyone else to the amazing new wines they’ve never seen before and find new wines you love. Lets also not forget all the gift giving, whether it’s a wine lover in the family or a perfect gift for secret Santa, it really is hard to top a hard to find or unique bottle of wine from a wonderful winery.
Reason #5: See the wineries in full operation!
Wine is unique in that the vast majority of the excitement happens in the span of 4-8 weeks in the fall. Unlike most industries that are in constant production year round, most of the major processing in wine happens immediately at harvest. Anybody who has ever been on a wine tour in the summer has seen all of the equipment sitting there pristine and shiny, but without a hint of movement besides maybe a pump. But come out to the wineries at harvest time and see everything happening in real time, see what really happens to make that wine that you love, from the smell of fermentation, to the harvesting, crushing, pressing and permanently purple stained hands of the winemakers. It really is a beautiful and exciting time of year to be in wine country, with sights you truly do only get to see once a year.
Bonus Reason: The Festivities
Around the world the fall is full of festivities and Niagara wine country is no exception. With major regional events such as the Wineries of Niagara on the Lake and their Taste the Season, the Twenty Valley Wineries Wrapped up in the valley, as well as small one off events at the wineries, fall is a time to celebrate harvest and holidays in wine country. Stop by the wineries and try some Mulled Wine to warm up in the late fall, or some Gewurztraminer and pumpkin pie and many more delicious treats along the way. From Thanksgiving, to Halloween, Christmas and more there is an endless supply of festivities to go around. Check out Uncork Niagara’s event listing for some of the great events you can find in wine country this fall.
Niagara wine country is a beautiful place to visit any time of year, but for those who have never been wine touring in the fall you are truly missing out on something special. So get out and enjoy yourself, visit some wineries, maybe an art show or fall festival and enjoy everything that Niagara has to offer, you won’t regret it. If you have any other great reasons to go wine touring int he fall, let us know in the comments.