Our favorite places to get uncorked near Buffalo, NY
Whether you’re a sipper or a slugger, there’s plenty to wine about in our region, and summer is the perfect time to plan a tour – or five! If you’ve never been on a wine tour with your closest friends, add it to this year’s bucket list, cause it’s happening.
Going on a wine tour means plenty of wine in good company, so get ready to wine a little and laugh a lot. Wine tours are the ideal time to try something new and find out what you love and hate about wine, and maybe you’ll even experience your first winegasm. After your tour is done, you’ll hopefully have discovered some new bottles to uncork on #winewednesdays.
Begin exploring the beauty of wine country right here in your backyard. Western New York has plenty to offer with Niagara Wine Country, Erie Wine Country, and Finger Lakes Wine Country all close by.
Niagara Wine Trail, USA
Red vs. White. Sweet vs. Dry. Fruity vs. Savory. Crisp vs. Smooth. Everyone appreciates different features. That’s the best part about planning a trip on the Niagara Wine Trail — you don’t have to choose.
Situated between the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, the Niagara Wine Trail is a self-guided trail and home to 22 wineries. This gift of freedom means where you start and stop is completely up to you and your group. If you have a large group, it’s important to keep in mind advance notice may be required or prefered. Also, since you’ll be selecting which wineries you want to visit, your group should expect to pay tasting fees as you go.
If you choose this create-your-own tour route, consider buying a Vino Visa Passport for $40. This tasting passport comes complete with discounts to all participating wineries.
Learn More at niagarawinetrail.org
Lake Erie Wine Country
Much like the Niagara Wine Trail, Lake Erie Wine Country does not offer set tours. Instead, you and your group can personalize your wine journey. Whether you want to hit a few of the closest wineries or all 24, it’s completely up to you and your crew. Lake Erie Wine Country begins in Silver Creek, NY (a short 40-minute drive from Buffalo) and ends in the town of Harborcreek, PA. Tasting fees vary from $1 to $5 at each winery.
If you have a large group, you’ll need to make arrangements and you have the option to pay your group’s tasting fees ahead of time. Planning ahead means you won’t have to worry about carrying (or losing) your wallet while you’re enjoying sipping and sampling.
You can start planning your tour route with the online Trip Planner, and buy a Visit Visa for $20 for access to winery discounts.
Learn More: lakeeriewinecountry.org
Amore di Vino Tours
If you want to experience a preview of what the Niagara Wine Trail has to offer but you prefer leaving the nitty gritty details up to someone else, Amore di Vino may have just the tour for you. With six pre-planned packages to choose from, you are free to select what works best for your group.
Bachelorette/Bachelor Party: When it comes time for the last fling before the ring, make sure wine is at the top of your to-do list. This tour starts and ends with plenty of vino, plus six hours of chauffeured transportation to five wineries, which means you won’t have to appoint a DD, unless it’s a designated drinker.
Chocolate Decadent: The only thing better than tasting wine all day is pairing it with chocolate. This package includes six hours of tastings at five wineries, complete with wine and chocolate pairings and extra dessert sampling.
My Friends and I: If you have a group of friends that’s been talking about going on a wine tour, stop talking and start doing. This wine tour is planned out for you, including six hours of tastings at five wineries, complete with luxury vehicle pick-up and drop-off.
Taste and See: It’s easy to forget about lunch when wine is in the forefront of your mind. With this package, it’s figured out for you. In addition to five hours of tastings at four wineries, your group’s luxury vehicle will make a pit stop at a cafe along the trail for lunch.
Wedding Party: Weddings can be stressful; don’t forget to pencil in some time to uncork and unwind with your wedding party. This tour has all the much-needed libations covered, and your group will enjoy six hours of chauffeured transportation and tastings at five wineries with your own wine tour guide.
Wine On The Water: Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront serves as the backdrop for this two-hour sailing tour. You’ll enjoy wine tastings aboard the boat from one of the area’s spectacular wineries. Plus, there’s an option to extend your tour to include lunch or dinner.
*Tour quotes by email only.
Learn More: amore-di-vino-tours.com
Crush Beer Wine Tours on Canandaigua Wine Trail
As the largest wine-producing region in New York State, the Finger Lakes AVA is an uber popular choice for tour-goers. A trip to the Finger Lakes may seem like a hike, but the Canandaigua Wine Trail is just a little over an hour drive from Buffalo.
Sip and Savor: This full-day, guided tour is the perfect way for small groups to get a taste of what the Finger Lakes’ wines have to offer. The tour includes tastings at Casa Larga Winery, New York Wine & Culinary Center, Arbor Hill, Inspire Moore, Hazlitt “Red Cat” Winery and Heron Hill.
The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. at Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack. Price per person: $139.00 + tax. Includes transportation, five winery tastings, a full production tour and lunch.
Sniff and Swirl: This half-day, guided tour is just right if you are looking to spend an afternoon sampling rather than an entire day. The tour includes tastings at Arbor Hill, Inspire Moore, Hazlitt “Red Cat” Winery and Heron Hill.
The tour begins at 12:30 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. at the Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack. Price per person: $89.00 + tax. Includes transportation and four winery tastings.
Please inquire about a custom itinerary for groups of six or more. Advanced booking may be required for day tours.
Learn More: crushbeerwinetours.com
Just over the border, there’s a whole world of wineries just waiting for you to fill up your glass. Niagara-on-the-Lake offers the best of both touring worlds. Whether you want to design your own self-guided tour or take the pre-planned route, the choice is yours. With over 20 distinctive wineries, there are plenty of chances to find a bottle you love.
A Wine Country Touring Pass is one way to sample from multiple wineries, with minimal planning. This $25 pass includes touring and tastings at four wineries: Peller Estates Winery, Trius Winery, Wine Country Vintners Outlet Collections of Niagara and Wine Country Vintners Downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake.
With so many possibilities, deciding where to stop may seem wildly overwhelming. Fortunately, Niagara-on-the-Lake has put together Sample Getaways to get the ball rolling. With themes like ABC- All ‘Bout Chardonnay, Budding Romance, Girls Gone Wine, Rare Reds and Riesling to Believe, there’s something for everyone.
Great minds think and drink alike! Many of the individual wineries have regularly scheduled tours and tastings, too. Visit the official website to learn more. Don’t forget your passport!
Start Planning! There are tons of opportunities to Keep Calm and Drink Wine and no excuses for not planning a tour. So this summer, schedule a wine tour. Get ready to grab a glass and make wine o’clock last all day long!
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