Prize Package Fit for Royalty…Or Huge Ontario Wine Fans

So to back things up a bit, the whole reason we ended up in Niagara at the end of Feb/start of March was because the day after returning home from our November trip, I was contacted by the Wine Country Ontario informing me that I had won a ““Design Your Own Wine Country Experience” contest (on Facebook) that included two days touring wine the Niagara region including a driver, two nights accommodations at one of the Vintage Hotels, lunch one day at winery of choice, and dinner one day at winery of choice.

Wine Country Ontario is a program operated by the Wine Council of Ontario. The Wine Council’s a mandate (snipped from their site): “Our role is to promote Ontario VQA wines and vintners, support the production of excellent local wines valued both at home and abroad, and build on the substantial economic benefits that the VQA wine industry brings to the province.” You will see the Wine Country Ontario logo at wine events around the province, including the fabulous “Taste Ontario” events in Ottawa & Toronto every February, as well as many of the wine and food shows across the province. If you haven’t been to one of the “Taste” events, it is definitely worth a visit.

Regina Foisey from the Wine Council and I exchanged several emails as we figured out the parameters and details of the trip starting back in January or so. I tried to surround the Cuvée weekend (March 2nd) as I had always wanted to attend Cuvée and figured this would be a great opportunity. In the end, Regina even managed to get us tickets to this fantastic event, making it just an even greater winning combo!

We chose the Pillar and Post out of the different hotels that Vintage Hotels run, and I think it was a great choice. It is a little secluded, nice and quiet, and I love the fact that the building it is in is an old canning factory with lots of the original architecture and detail intact. There is a pretty serious spa on site which we did not make use of but we did manage to get into the ‘hot spring’ pool outside on one occasion.

Debbie and I went over the winery list a few times…there were a couple wineries we wanted to visit, and far too many that we hadn’t visited yet. We tried to pick mostly smaller operations – we really like the interactions you get when you have a chance to talk to the people running the winery and/or making the wines. We settled on one day of wine touring in the Beamsville/Bench area and one day around Niagara on the Lake.

Here’s the list of wineries we picked to visit:

Day 1:
Ravine Vineyard (Tasting and lunch)
Cattail Creek Estate Winery
Niagara College Teaching Winery
Marynissen Estates
Cuvée (evening)

Day 2:
Henry of Pelham
Calamus Estate Winery
13th Street Winery
Legends Estate Winery
Dinner at Vineland Estates (evening)

The next series of blog posts will cover the details of this fabulous prize package. It was an amazing experience and we really felt like royalty being chauffeured around this great wine region!

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