Whether you are a wine connoisseur who daydreams about roaming through sun-kissed vineyards with a tall glass in each hand or you’re just a basic wine lover like me who loves all wine on all occasions, La Route Des Vins should be on your bucket-list for this season.
A fun and simple outing whether it be for ladies weekend,your parents are in town for a week or a friend is visiting from out of the country. What better way to spend a sunny, fresh day then touring around wine vineyards and testing out your newly purchased sunglasses and sunhat?
When & Where to Go Wine Tasting in Quebec
Open from the last week of June until Thanksgiving weekend, the wine route takes you on a journey through the Eastern Townships of Québec and showcases not only the wineries and their products, but the rustic little towns along the way.
In a few of the little towns such as Dunham you can find little general stores so don’t fret if you’ve forgotten your corkscrew at home. You can purchase some cheese, a baguette and some fruit so once you’ve visited a few wineries you’re all set for a picnic. Some of the larger wineries such as Vignoble de l’Orpailleur and Domaine des Côtes d’Ardoise will offer restaurant services so you can unwind and sample some products.
From the West to the East or vice versa, one end of the wine route is near the town of Farnham and the other near Lac Brome with plenty of tasty, wine tasting opportunities in between. Once the route is open, tours run 7 days a week and can be done individually or with guided companies.
Planning Your Trip
Kava Tours Company offers guided tours for those wanting a really informative experience without the hassle of driving so you can sit back, relax and drink wine.The guided winery tours are done via minibus and have departures available from both Montréal and Bromont so if you’re car-less and living in Montreal you can enjoy the wine too!
If you prefer to go at your own pace but aren’t sure where to get started, Kava Tours Company also offers self-guided tours which include tasting coupons and information for the wineries you will be visiting. For more information on the tours you can check out Kava Tours website.
For those who want to jazz up the weekend and stay for a day or two, you can check out La Route Des Vins website for other ‘friends of the route’ like B&Bs and spas. You can take your wine tasting weekend to the next level! Sample the wines and buy a few of your favourite bottles to take back and enjoy at your cozy B&B in the countryside or relax in the spa.
For those that want a little more adventure and spontaneity, a road map is available online or for pick-up at a tourism information centre near the area. (I found a wine route map at the tourism information centre in Orford at exit 115.) With the road map you have the freedom to start wherever and stop whenever. You’ll have many picturesque opportunities to stop along the route for a picnic so choosing to take your own tour enables you the freedom to explore.
Those who are feeling mighty keen can gather up some friends, hop on your two wheeled steeds and complete the route by bike. You’ll see quite a few road cyclist along the way both serious and casual taking a little wine break here and there to wet the palette.
Biking is a fun sport loved by many, including myself, for many reasons and adding in some cheeky wine tasting makes it even more enjoyable! Remember to be safe if you choose to do the tour by bike; wear a helmet and taste responsibly. You’re sharing the road with cars so there’s not much room for error if you have a few too many sips along the way.
What to Bring
While packing your picnic basket for your wine tasting tour, make sure you bring along the essentials so you don’t miss out on a brilliant picnic experience. Not all wineries or parks and fields along the route are equipped with picnic tables or chairs so pack a blanket or two just in case so you can stretch out and enjoy the sun and your new wine goodies.
Other than a blanket and a corkscrew, some other handy supplies to bring along to enhance your picnic experience are a bottle of water per person, portable wine glasses and a little cooler so you can transport your purchases. Not only does wine taste better in a portable wine glass, it’s reusable and eliminates excess waste too. When it comes to picnics, where there’s wine, there is cheese! So make life easier and pack along a little cutting board too if you can.