We will be traveling by executive motor coach from Toronto to visit the Hamilton Farmers Market and 6 wineries. Add to this a superb lunch, wine tasting at each location and you have got one of the most enjoyable fall days you'll ever have experienced.
8:30 a.m. Leave from Toronto
Take the Yonge Street subway to St. Clair. Get off and proceed to the south entrance that brings you out on Pleasant Blvd. The bus will be waiting there. If you are driving you can park directly across the street from the subway entrance in the "Green P" parking lot on Pleasant Blvd. (Pleasant Blvd is one block south of St. Clair and Yonge Street).
9:30 a.m. arrive at The Hamilton Farmers Market
Originally founded in 1837. It has approximately 85 stallholders selling everything from the fruits of the Niagara Peninsula, sun-ripened tomatoes and bright coloured flowers, to the choicest cuts of meats, and the finest fish from the sea. Add to this specialty products imported from many other countries around the world and you've got an excellent product mix that attracts regular customers from the local community and tourists from all over the world. You'll be surprised at these multicultured sellers with many cultures being represented under one roof including: Italian, German, Hungarian, Caribbean, Asian and others.
10:30 a.m. Niagara Bench Wine Tour.
We will travel via the old Hwy 8 through the small villages of Stoney Creek, Beamsville, Grimsby, Winoa and Jordan to our winery destinations.
The microclimate for great wines is found almost exclusively in cool climactic zones. Only these areas can produce grapes with the right sugar and acid mix to create outstanding wines with an ability to mature with greatness. The Niagara Peninsula is such a zone and has in recent years witnessed a boom in the wine industry fueled by excellence that is world class.
Depending on the weather conditions they may be still harvesting the grapes from the vines and so you will be able to experience this facet of wine making as well.Within the Peninsula it is universally acknowledged the Bench (descending steps from the escarpment to the lake) is the superior terroir. The Bench is limited. It runs from the Western border of Grimsby to the Eastern border of Vineland, from the Number 8 Highway to the Escarpment. This area is so unique to is designated a World Biosphere Reserve. The Bruce Trail runs on the crest of the Escarpment. The view from many of the wineries on the bench of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Skyline is spectacular. The natural features of the properties on the bench include streams, waterfalls, ponds (with nesting Canada Geese and ducks) and bordering forests filled with wildlife making this area a definite destination and not merely visits to wineries.
11:00 a.m. Vineland Estates is the first winery
We will visit and we will have a full tour of its facility. It promotes itself as the most Picturesque Winery on the wine tour. You'll taste the freshly picked wine grapes and the corresponding wine to learn the correlation between the taste profile of the grape, this seasons climate and the resulting wine. As Galileo said "The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the world to do."
12:30 p.m. East Dell Winery and restaurant is where we will be having superb lunch.
This is a lunch with a view in the middle of wine country. East Dell is situated on the bench and its main building is at an elevation that looks down the sloping bench to Lake Ontario and beyond to Toronto on a clear day. I had lunch there when scouting this trip and it was superb. You will be offered a choice of Grilled Lemon Tarragon Chicken Breast on Toasted French Bread with mixed Greens or Roast Beef au Jus, Topped with Aged Cheddar, on Savoury French Toast with Bistro Caesar Salad. Add to this a tasting of two wines and you'll think you have died and gone to heaven.
2:00 p.m. Angel Gate Winery
3:00 p.m. Thirty Bench Vineyard and Winery
This winery's aim is to create local wines of distinction from the Beamsville Bench, comparable to traditional wine regions of the world. Their first commercial wines were produced in the early 1990"s. Thirty Bench is recognized as a boutique winery dedicated to the production of small scale, locally crafted wines of superior quality and varietal character. The careful integration of vineyard and winery, their team approach and the artisan methods of production are all reflected in the quality and character of their award- winning wines. It is typical of the many smaller wineries of the area and has a family run feeling to it.
4:00 p.m. Crown Bench Estate Winery
This is a real family business. The day I visited I met Livia the mother who has one of the wines named after her. It is based on a simple ideal, that by combining the very best in terrain, viticultural practices, oneological stewardship and administration, the pillars of a quality winery will have been established. In order to make a great wine you have to have quality grapes. They have a wide selection of wines, however what I found unique about this winery is their ice wines that are infused with either hot peppers, maple syrup, chocolate or a combination of the flavours of apple, peach and light lemon. In short a very interesting winery.
5:00 p.m. Magnotta Winery
Nestled in the heart of Ontario's Niagara Wine Region, Magnotta Beamsville is complete with a gracious wine boutique, encircling wine tasting bar, presentation area, art gallery, as well as a look at the distillation of a selection of fine spirits including the Original Authentic Ice Grappa at Magnotta Distillery. The art collection blends a selection of corporate art pieces with works by many local Niagara artists.
6:00 p.m. Leave for Toronto
7:30 p.m. Arrive back at St. Clair subway.
This entire full day is $75. All taxes and gratuities are included. This is to be paid in advance, as soon as possible to Bill Genova. Please contact me at 416-929-7261 or by email at email@example.com Itinerary subject to change. Tour will occur regardless of the weather. Please dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes, drink in moderation and wear a smile.