Fall is finally here, and what better way to celebrate than with the grape harvest at local wineries. Here are just a few events coming up:
Lake Erie Wine Country
Have you ever tasted a Riesling grape? Here is your chance. Johnson Estate Winery will host its Fall Foliage Vineyard walks Sundays in October. Starting at 11 a.m., the winery promises a walk in the estate vineyards with stunning fall foliage views of the hillsides. Cost is $5 and includes samples of three wines. Wear appropriate shoes and outdoor gear for the 40-minute tour. Reservations required and limited to 20 people.
Johnson Estate will host “Federweisser, Riesling Celebration, Small Plate Dinner” from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 14 to celebrate German Rieslings. “Federweisser” (feather white) refers to a young, slightly fermented white grape juice often served with onion tart (zwiebelkuchen). In addition to the onion pie, there will be food like chicken liver pate and pickles, apple strudel plus wine pairings. Cost is $25. Call 326-2191 to reserve your ticket.
Liberty Vineyards hosts the Trick or Treat for Grownups Wine & Halloween Candy Pairing on Oct. 28-29. Come in costume and be sure to shout “trick or treat” to receive your free wine tasting. (The winery notes if wearing a costume, to be sure they can see your face to check that you are 21 or older.)
The Lake Erie Wine Trail's Harvest Celebration Weekends are Nov. 3-5 and Nov. 10-12. Tickets are $38 ($20 for designated driver) and are good for all three days of the specific weekend. Included with the price are a food and wine sample pairing at each winery, wine tastings, a gift, a booklet with the recipes you’ll be tasting, a Lake Erie Wine Country wine glass and a $5 voucher to redeem at any winery or certain restaurants listed on the back of the voucher.
Tickets can be purchased online and picked up at one of the six host wineries where you will receive your gift. Groups of eight or more must call to make a reservation. Host wineries include Noble Winery, 6 Mile Cellars, 21 Brix, Liberty, Arrowhead and South Shore.
For those who really like to plan ahead and are always looking for something to do between Christmas and New Year’s, Lake Erie Wine Country hosts holiday week at the wineries Dec. 26-31. The free event is is simply a festive way to gather with friends and family during the holiday week.
For more events and details, visit lakeeriewinecountry.org.
Niagara Wine Trail USA
Spring Lake Winery hosts its remaining Vineyard Express train excursions Oct. 8, 15 and 29. Arrive at 11:30 a.m. to board the train at 21 Michigan/Park Avenue in Lockport. Train departs with stops at the Medina Railroad Museum, and then arrives at the winery to visit “the crime scene.” Dinner is at 4 p.m. at the winery where you can eat, wander the nature trail and try to solve the mystery. There is music too. Train returns to Lockport by 6:45 p.m. Dress for the weather for indoor/outdoor event. Tickets range from coach seating at $79 per person ($149 couples) to VIP seating $250 per couple, each additional ticket $125. To see the menu, or purchase tickets visit springlakewinery.com or call 948-0505.
Becker Farms/Vizcarra Vineyards/Becker Brewing haunted hayrides are Oct. 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, from 7 to 9 p.m., weather permitting. Tickets are $10 ($8 for groups of $20 or more). For $75 you also can reserve a campfire for your group to enjoy. While at Becker Brewing, grab some Red Oktoberfest beer with hints of caramel and coffee or one of the delicious hard ciders (we are partial to the almond cherry).
The Niagara Wine Trail's annual Hallowine murder mystery event is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 22. Cost is $30 advance only (there are no sales at the door). Tickets can be purchased online, with sales ending Oct. 19. Groups are recommended to order tickets online under one order.
Come as yourself or in costume. Collect clues and interview suspects as you solve the murder mystery. Tickets include a tasting at each winery. Food will be available for purchase at The Winery at Marjim Manor (Fat Bob’s food truck) and Schwenk Wine Cellar (Humpty’s Hots food truck). For a list of participating wineries and group policies, visit niagarawinetrail.org.
The Niagara Wine Trail's Share the Bounty weekend is Nov. 10-12, and is an annual fundraiser to benefit local food banks. The event is free, with wineries collecting donations or non-perishable food for local organizations.
For more wineries and information, visit niagarawinetrail.org.