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Uncork a tour’s potential with these 5 wine stops

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It doesn’t get more relaxing than sipping a great glass of wine. And since grape varietals, climate and blends vary by region, it makes sense that wines play just as big a role in a destination’s culture as the food.

Whether groups seek smaller tours of wineries in quaint, bucolic towns, something a bit more upscale (think galas and ice wine) or an adventurous biking tour, there’s something on this list for everyone.

Harrison County wine tour
Harrison County, Indiana

Historic Harrison County, Indiana, is located north of the Ohio River. The county’s hot summers and picturesque pre-Kentucky rolling hills make growing grapes both practical and beautiful.

Woman holding wine, Turtle Run Winery, Corydon, Ind.

Photo: Harrison County CVB Free concert series, Turtle Run Winery, Corydon, Ind.

Turtle Run, Scout Mountain, Indian Creek and Best Vineyards wineries regularly welcome groups to their tasting rooms. Special presentations are sometimes offered to guests of the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Turtle Run will take groups into the production area and talk about the making of wine from start to finish and Scout Mountain offers a cooking class, where a meal is prepared in front of groups and paired with wine,” said Stacy Pirtle, director of sales & visitor services at Harrison County CVB. “Best Vineyards will invite groups off the motorcoach during harvest season to taste the different grapes and explain what grape makes what wine before heading off to the tasting room.”

Harrison County CVB is happy to provide tour itineraries.

Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Sonoma, California

Groups can take in the beauty of Sonoma Valley while sampling wines and getting a workout on a Sonoma Valley bike tour.

Sonoma Valley Bike Tours, Sonoma, Calif.

Photo: Sonoma Valley Bike Tours Sonoma Valley Bike Tours, Sonoma, Calif.

Groups can take a wine country bike ride with direct access to local bike paths. Those paths connect them to Sonoma’s quiet country roads and the best local wineries.

The tours get visitors to put down their smartphones and be present in the moment.

“They are an activity option that invites groups to really experience the destination while engaging all five senses,” said Kellie Macway, group sales & marketing at Napa & Sonoma Valley Bike Tours.

Outings vary in duration and intensity, depending on the group’s objectives, size and schedule. A local tour guide schedules all tasting appointments in advance.

Fredericksburg Wine Road 290
Fredericksburg, Texas

Wine Road 290, an association of 15 wineries located in the Texas Hill Country American Viticultural Area, makes for a great group activity due to the diversity of wineries located closely together.

Barrel tasting, Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg, Texas

Photo: Blake Mistich Barrel tasting, Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg, Texas

“It’s possible to visit two or three wineries that are right next to each other, but offer very different wines, atmospheres and experiences,” said Amanda Koone, communications manager at Fredericksburg Convention & Visitor Bureau. “There’s something for everyone to enjoy.”

Although the Fredericksburg Convention & Visitor Bureau does not provide sample wine tour itineraries, a number of local wine tour and shuttle companies work with groups to craft the perfect itinerary.

Don’t want to hire a designated driver?

“The Urban Wineries Trail on Main Street lets groups explore downtown tasting rooms and travel by foot,” Koone said.

Niagara Icewine Festival
Niagara Falls, Ontario

The Niagara Icewine Festival takes place January 12–28, 2018, with three weekends of winery experiences and events. The event kicks off on Jan. 12 with the Niagara Icewine Gala at the Grand Halls of the Fallsview Casino Resort.

Grapes on a vine, Niagara Icewine Festival, Niagara, Ontario, Canada

Photo: Niagara Icewine Festival Niagara Icewine Festival, Niagara, Ontario, Canada

“An all-inclusive black-tie event, guests indulge in culinary masterpieces from the top chefs of the Fallsview Casino Resort and over 100 Niagara Ice Wines and VQA table wines among thematic ice sculptures and incredible décor,” said Jennifer Anderson, events and sponsorship coordinator for the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival.

The Icewine Festival allows guests to enjoy a truly Canadian experience in the wintry wonderland of wine country and sample ice wine, an iconic Canadian product specific to Niagara.

“The liquid gold that is ice wine is not only sampled, but guests see the process, the vineyards and the unique experiences offered at each winery,” Anderson said.

Hermann Wine Trail
Hermann, Missouri

The historic German community of Hermann accounts for a third of the Missouri’s total wine production and offers visitors a taste of the state’s wine country.

Woman holding wine, Hermann Wine Trail, Hermann, Mo

Photo: Tony Carosella Hermann Wine Trail, Hermann, Mo

The wineries that make up the Hermann Wine Trail are Adam Puchta Winery, Bias Winery, Dierberg Star Lane Tasting Room, Hermannhof Winery, OakGlenn Vineyards & Winery, Röbller Vineyard and Stone Hill Winery.

There are five special tasting events throughout the year that focus on everything from berries and barbecue to bacon and cheese. Although groups are not hosted during these events, the individual wineries welcome groups often. Groups should contact the wineries in advance when planning a stop.

Article by Chelsea Hall

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