Links in this article may earn us a little money if you book/ order stuff (More here)

wine glasses on bar with menu niagara on the lake wine tours

Choosing Niagara on the Lake Wine Tours Can Be Tough!

Thirsty? Good – it’s time to talk about Ontario’s famous wine region! While we’ve covered Niagara on the Lake wineries before, lots of travellers want to enjoy the region via a guided tour. Wine tastings/tours with a guide make planning simple so this is a great idea.

From Niagara vintage wine tours to tours that let you ride bicycles (it’s totally safe), there are lots of options for booking the perfect wine tour for you and your group. You can even find Niagara wine tours that start in Toronto.

In any case, there are loads of tours and companies to choose from. So, to help make your research easy, we have researched a few wine tours but ALSO set out on one classic Niagara on the Lake wine tour to see if it was worth it! Did it live up to wine hype? See for yourself!

If you’re looking to spend some time in Niagara on the Lake, check out these other posts to help you plan your trip!

*Friendly Disclosure: We paid for the wine tour we did ourselves – this is not a sponsored post.

Niagara on the Lake Wine Tour Options

red muskoka chairs with vineyard behind at inniskillin niagara on the lake
You’ll need a rest after these wine tour options!

If you know the region and you have an idea of the kind of tour you’re looking for, feel free to jump ahead and have a look below. Be sure to make note of the specific details, the reviews, and booking procedures. All you have to do is pick the one you like and show up!

For a Classic Tour and Tasting (We Did This) – Check Out This Wine Tour
For The Wine and Cheese Pairing – Check Out This Wine Tour
For The Gourmet Meal Included – Check Out This Wine Tour
For Bike Exercise and Optional Picnic – Check Out This Tasting
For Your Own Private Itinerary – Check the Prices for This Wine Tour

Below, you’ll find more details about the above tours so read on to make the right decision for you.

Classic Wineries Tour + Tastings (Our Tour)

vineyard field with wooden barrel in front
Just ONE shot from the many photos we took that day!

A “classic” Niagara on the Lake wine tour was what we did. Basically, we jumped in a shuttle bus and were driven around to four different wineries. We also had time for lunch in the tiny town of Niagara on the Lake.

Overall, we really liked our tour – it was well organized, enjoyable, and the wine was lovely. You can read about our tour in more detail at the bottom half o this post. There are lots of photos so you can get a sense of what we got up to.

>> Check out the exact wine tour we went on here

Niagara on the Lake Wine Tasting With Cheese Pairing

If you’re a fan of cheese, this might be the tour for you. Set up as both a morning or an afternoon tour, this wine tasting takes a small group (capped at 15 people) to 4 wineries in the area to learn about and taste Ontario wines. You receive multiple tastings at each of the wineries, and you’ll be walked through the wine-making process.

This tour is great because they showcase both a larger winery and smaller boutique wineries that are considered “hidden gems” in the growing wine region.

It should be noted that hotel pick-up from the town of Niagara on the Lake OR Niagara Falls is ONLY included in the price of the afternoon tour. If you book the morning, you’ll just begin the tour when you meet the shuttle at the central meeting location that is confirmed with your guide!

The reviews overwhelmingly rave about the guides being friendly, knowledgeable, punctual, and detail-oriented. You’ll learn a lot about the history of the area, the food pairings, the famous Ontario Ice Wines (yum!), and the cheeses that go with your tastings.

They’ll go so far as to contact you ahead of time to confirm the pick-up spots and everything. If you want a fool-proof tour around the region that checks off all the details and creates an overall great experience, have a look for yourself below!

>> Check prices and book your wine tour with cheese pairing

Niagara on the Lake Wine Tasting With Gourmet Meal

If you’re looking for Niagara on the Lake wine tours with a gourmet lunch or dinner – this is the wine tour for you! If you book the morning departure, your 5.5-hour wine tour of the region will consist of a few winery visits and tours before settling into one of the finest restaurants in the area for a three-course meal.

If you book the afternoon departure time, your 5.5-hour tour will consist of visiting three wineries (one larger and two smaller ones) while finishing off with a three-course dinner.

You’ll be taken around the region in a small group by a dedicated, knowledgeable driver. Pick up from hotels in the area is included in the fees and discussed beforehand to ensure there are no hiccups on the day of.

Overall, the fees cover entrance fees and tastings, as well as the delicious meal you’ll get depending on the tour time you pick.

As with most of the top-rated wine tours, the reviews of this tour rave about the guides that took them around for the day. For an option where you don’t have to worry about where to eat during the day, check out this tour for the perfect outing in Niagara on the Lake.

>> Check the price to book your wine tour with gourmet meal

Wine Tasting With Biking Tour And Optional Picnic

If you want to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air of the Niagara countryside, then a bicycle wine tour is for you! On this tour, you’ll bike to 4 or 5 wineries depending on if you go on the half day or full day tour.

The full-day tour begins in the morning but a picnic lunch is included in your price. You’ll head to a large winery to begin the day and stop off at a few smaller ones along the way. The pace is leisurely and the groups are small so you can enjoy the ride between places.

The half-day tour leaves just after lunch and follows a similar circuit. The only difference is that instead of a lunch, you’re offered a delicious cheese platter as your food item on the tour.

Overall, your fees include hotel pick-up from the Niagara region, entrances, and tastings at the wineries, the rental of the bike and helmet, and more. The reviews mention how kind, knowledgeable, and responsible the guides are.

Considering you’re biking around after having a few samples, safety is of the utmost importance and this tour delivers. The tour runs whether rain or shine!

>> Check the price to book your wine tour with bicycles

“Build Your Own Itinerary” Niagara on the Lake Wine Tour

Got a day in Niagara with a small group and want to go the extra mile to make a truly unforgettable and personalized day in the region? Then this tour is for you! From the upscale vehicle to the guide and driver catering to your needs – creating your own itinerary with a company is a way to go!

You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Niagara on the Lake or Niagara Falls and be driven around to 5-7 wineries/venues. Because the itinerary is yours to create with the help of your guide, you can even mix in one of the beer, cider, or whiskey distilleries in the area.

While the pickup in a private upscale vehicle is included, some of the tastings at the wineries are extra so be sure to discuss that with your guide. The reviews of the experience are basically a bunch of people who are blown away at the value for money and the perfect day. The driver/guide even takes photos for you and emails them to you after the tour is over!

>> Check the price to create your own wine tour

Our Niagara On The Lake Wine Tour Experience

shuttle bus behind umbrellas and flag at niagara on the lake wine tour
Our shuttle bus for the day was great!

Since there are many wine tours to choose from, we went on one to be able to tell you exactly what it was like. We also went on a tour so that we could explore the region without worrying about who was driving!

The wine tour itself was run by Niagara Air Bus – a company that runs shuttles from Toronto to Niagara Falls and the surrounding airports.

Overall, we really liked our tour. Communication was quick and efficient and we knew which wineries to expect and everything. If you want to learn more about the tour and/or booking process, you can check out our complete wine tour here.

What You’ll Need For This Wine Tour

wine bottles on the shelf at ravine winery
Bring your cash/card – you’ll need it at Ravine to grab a take home bottle!

If you end up on this wine tour, here’s a short list of the things you should have with you to have a great experience. Many of these are weather dependent but in general:

  • Photo ID (we didn’t need it but good to have in case anyone asked)
  • Cash for a tip for the driver
  • Sunglasses
  • A hat
  • A windbreaker jacket (in the spring or fall)
  • A water bottle

Niagara on the Lake Wine Tour Itinerary

To give you a better idea of exactly what we experienced on our wine tour in Niagara on the Lake, here are the details from pick-up to the wineries we visited! The tour is advertised as a “half day” with either a morning and afternoon slot but honestly our tour was closer to 6 hours long!

That said, it didn’t feel too long and it certainly wasn’t rushed. We really got to enjoy the drives, the tours, and the wines!

Pick-up/Drop-off

In the morning, we had a confirmed time window of about 20 minutes that the driver would pick us up at our Inn in Niagara Falls. We stayed at A Moment in Time Bed and Breakfast in case you were curious. (It was lovely!)

As expected, the driver was there right on time. He was friendly and organized as he drove around Niagara Falls to pick up the other wine tour-goers. Communication with Air Bus was actually really good with multiple emails confirming details before the date.

At the end of the day, the driver dropped everyone off at their accommodations again. It was nice to be dropped off at the B&B because we were exhausted from the long (but awesome) day.

Winery #1 – Ravine Vineyard Estates Winery

white cottage at winery with tree niagara on the lake wine tour
The tasting room at Ravine was lovely!

After a short drive from downtown Niagara Falls, we got to Ravine Estate Winery for our first tasting! We have friends and family who love Ravine so we were eager to get inside and get tasting.

wine glasses on bar with menu niagara on the lake wine tours
We got to sample three wines from their WHOLE wine list…

Ravine is a smaller family-run winery and the experience did NOT disappoint. While we had no tour of the winery itself, the wine steward went through their whole wine list and we got to choose any three wines to sample.

We really liked this style because it was different from the other wineries we would visit later in the day. Usually, wineries give you three pre-determined wines to sample. It’s a fine way to do it, but Ravine gave you choice which we enjoyed!

green vineyard with wooden barrels in front at ravine niagara on the lake tour
The grounds are lovely at Ravine.

We then grabbed a bottle of what we liked, wandered around inside their shop, and hopped back in the shuttle once we were done with our time slot. Overall, Ravine was a great first stop and the group actually got closer… blame the wine!

Winery #2 – Pillitteri Estates Winery

white exterior sign to pillitteri winery in niagara on the lake
The sign from the roadside to Pillitteri..

After a short drive, we ended up at Pillitteri Estate Winery. The guide pulled up, we got out and entered the main building. Pillitteri has a long history that we won’t get into here but it is fascinating.

red roof wine barn at roadside in niagara on the lake
The main building facing the road at Pillitteri!

The reason we know about the history of Pillitteri is because our stop at Pillitteri included a tasting AND a tour with a live guide (provided by Pillitteri). Our driver did a great job of making sure we were in the right place.

bottles and medal awards behind glass at pillitteri estate winery
Pillitteri has won MANY awards…

When you start the tour, you get hit with the fact that Pillitteri has won many, many awards over the years for their wines – especially ice wines. Their winery functions more like a complex than a small family-run winery like Ravine but it’s still very well done.

concrete table with lights underground at pillitteri winery niagara on the lake
The fancy cellar they rarely use since wine is stored down there!

Overall, the tour guide was great – we got to see the grounds and the wine cellars where they store the red wine (and the fancy tasting table rarely used). We then went for a tasting where we had a red, white, and ice wine – all of which were pretty good. We didn’t buy a bottle here but others did!

Lunch in Niagara on the Lake

red trolley in front of old hotel with gardens niagara on the lake wine tours
The historic town of Niagara on the Lake is gorgeous!

After Pillitteri, we were driven to Niagara on the Lake (the actual historic town) and had an hour for lunch. Our driver dropped us off in the coach parking (since buses aren’t allowed to stop downtown). You can take a smaller bus to the town centre but we walked because it’s just down the road.

Read More: Discover Ontario’s Finest Inns

red writing on storefront in niagara on the lake ontario

Since this was a lunch stop and we knew we would come back to explore the town the next day on our own, we didn’t play tourist this time. We just went to find a great lunch. There were many places to check out – patios with pub food and smaller shops here and there. We stumbled upon Sandwich Bar – and WOW we loved it.

sandwiches on white plates in shop in niagara on the lake
Eric had pulled pork (amazing) and Lisa had the Banh Mi (also amazing).

Inside the small shop, they do specialty sandwiches. They also serve beer and wine and there’s seating for a few people but you can also take your food to go. The prices were a little high but that’s the nature of the whole town for you. In any case, we loved our choices of pulled pork and Banh Mi.

colourful gardens in front of shop front and sidewalk niagara on the lake
The town is lovely – so go for a wander during lunch!

The main street of Niagara on the Lake is loaded with shops, stores, ice cream places, and historic sites. We have a whole post on what to do in Niagara on the Lake (coming soon) if you are spending more time there while exploring the region!

Winery #3 – Inniskillin

wine building with patio in front through vineyard vines wine tour niagara on the lake
Inniskillin has a great outdoor patio area

Known to be “Canada’s original estate winery”, Inniskillin is certainly one of the heavy hitters in the area. They are credited with putting Canadian Ice Wine on the international map – and their dedication to ice wine shows when you visit.

green vineyard lines in field in niagara on the lake wine tour
Inniskillin grows their own grapes right beside..

As per usual, our driver made sure we got on the tour and then actually came on the tour with us (run by Inniskillin). The guide was super passionate about wine and his work at Inniskillin – and the tour was really, really good. They are a BIG production and they have the credentials to back it up!

wooden table with wooden barrels stacked behind inniskillin winery tour
The wine storage/events room was amazing

One of the coolest parts was the wine cellar where they have events and store their older and rarer vintages. The whole experience at Inniskillin was wonderful.

wine glasses in front of bottles on counter at inniskillin winery
Of course, their famous ice wine was nice to try!

Of course, we got to the end of the tour and back in the tasting room to sample a red, a white, their famous ice wine and a sparkling ice wine! The ice wine was good – it was very thick and syrupy.

If you have never had ice wine, you should know that it’s very, very sweet (and not for everyone – Lisa enjoyed it a lot more than Eric!). Overall, the stop at Inniskillin was great – and they have a large outdoor seating area for photos and relaxing.

Winery #4 – Reif Estates Winery

girl in front of winery entrance niagara on the lake reif estates
Lisa (the German) in front of the German winery!

Last, but certainly not least, we took a very short bus ride from Inniskillin to Reif. They are basically down the road from one another so it was an easy drive. We got off, snapped a few photos, and our driver made sure we were in the right place one last time.

wine bottles on wooden shelves in reif winery niagara on the lake tour
The front shop is beautiful at Reif!

Reif was founded by a German so hearing the backstory from the wine steward was really cool. While there was no tour included at Reif, we DID get a private tasting in a smaller, quiet room. This really added to the experience since everyone else was tasting in the main shop where we had just come from.

ice wine in glass with bottle behind at reif winery
We really liked Reif ice wine!

Tasting at the main bar would have been fine but the private room made it extra special. We sampled a white, red, and their ice wine and – honestly – we almost liked their ice wine more than the more famous one from Inniskillin! Both were good – and it comes down to preference. We finished up tasting, browsed the shop, and headed for the shuttle to take us home!

And there you have it – some amazing wine tours in Niagara on the Lake! What do you think? Have you been on any of these adventures? We really liked the wine tour we went on. That said, let us know how your tour goes – we’re always interested in promoting the best travel tips.

As always, Keep exploring, eh?
-E&L

Pin it for later!