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Published: June 24th 2018
Had a wine tasting tour in Niagara on the Lake booked today, including a visit to a lavender farm and a ginseng tea shop. Weather forecast was awful, so set off with rain jackets and umbrellas to the pick up point (which was the hotel next door).
Ended up with a group of eight, in a small bus, a mother & daughter from Michigan, two couples from Orlando, Florida and us!
First stop was Neob Lavender (were a little concerned when the guide/driver said we were going to a lavender shop, but there was more to it). They have a lavender field, a greenhouse where they grow different sorts of lavender and other essential oil producing plants and a distillery for the essential oils. Had a tour of all of this, very interesting, then into the shop (there was a shop) where we got to test the different products they made from the different plants. (The Rose Geranium ones were our favourite.) And also a taste of lavender shortbread and lavender sparkling water (luckily the flavour was quite mild, not keen on eating soap). Then to a Ginseng Tea shop in the same complex, for a taste. Ginseng tea
is supposed to be very good for you. Must be why it tasted so bad!!
Then off to Lakeview Winery for our first wine tasting of the day, and a winery tour. We tasted a white, a Lakeview Viognier - quite nice, and a red, can't remember what, but not so nice. Then off into the winery for lots of info about Lakeview Wines and the wine industry in Niagara (most wine exported to China, not allowed to export to the USA). Our driver had already told us that half the wineries in Niagara are Asian owned. Tasted 2 Icewines, a white and a red (apparently they are they only ones that make a red Icewine). These are really (REALLY) sweet, made by picking the grapes when they are frozen on the vine. Probably nice poured over ice cream or strawberries (like they suggested) but don't think I could drink it. Through the shop on the way out, and bought a bottle of the white for later consumption, just in case we didn't like what we tasted at the next winery!
Back onto our little bus and to Riverbend Inn and Winery for lunch. Very surprised, we had
a lovely three course lunch in a beautifully restored old building. We were then driven into the historic part of the town of Niagara on the Lake, and could walk around for 45 mins. Very quaint, and obviously very well looked after, garden beds and flowers everywhere (and tourist shops, restaurants and cafes).
Reif Estates was our next stop for another wine tasting, a white, a red and an Icewine this time. The white was not great, but the red, a Cabernet Franc (I think, had not heard of that) was not too bad. Icewine, again, was just too sweet. And, because we hadn't had enough sweet stuff today, last stop on the tour was a chocolate factory for a taste. Did buy a couple of Icewine Truffles for later, just so we could see what they were like (much better in chocolate than drinking!).
Had been raining on and off all day, although we did see a little blue sky at one point. Decided to find dinner to go, so we could enjoy the view of the falls from our room, and see the fireworks from somewhere dry! (The illuminations are turned on at dusk every night,
and colour changes seem a bit random. Think the fireworks are on Friday and Saturday nights). Was much more pleasant viewing than last night. Still amazed by the falls, and the volume of water that is constantly flowing over them.
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