Choosy Beggars Presents Every Wine Tour Ever

This last week, as you may have noticed, we experienced a little downtime thanks to one of the more hectic wedding prep periods we’ve experienced yet.  After she lined everything up on the ol’ Wedding Spreadsheet — which Tina would playfully call The Wedsheet, if she had any capacity to feel joy about this process left inside of her — we found that there was some work left between now and the big day.

A lot of work.  So much work you guys. Did you know that you can’t just show up in museums to do your wedding pictures?  You have to ask people before you, your family, your wedding party and your photographer arrive?  I mean, what do I presume that I pay my taxes for, anyway?  And it goes on like that, over and over:  pay for deposits this, arrange for the delivery of that, ensure you show up at the venue to wed whoever.   Fuss and fuss and fuss some more.

So what do you do when you’ve got a long to-do list and a profound morale crisis to deal with?  Why, if you’re the Choosy Beggars, then you sneak away to wine country for a day or so, that’s what you do.  POST FREAKING HASTE.

Southern Ontario is blessed with the Niagara growing region, which is a relative newcomer to the wine production world.  While grape-flavored hooches of some variety have been flowing out of Ontario for decades, it’s only been in the last twenty years that products of any quality have started to hit shelves.  These days it’s not totally unlikely to find an award winning wine in Southern Ontario, and the well-established, high-volume winery that it takes to produce one.

At first, this is an exciting and tantalizing prospect:  Field upon field of grapes!  Deep, cool cellars playing host to gigantic, mysterious casks!  And most of all, full-on wine tours, only an hour or so from Toronto!  But before long, a pattern begins to emerge, a slow and creeping sensation that something… feels… familiar.

This is because, once you’ve gone on about two of them, you will discover that every wine tour everywhere is exactly the same, all the time.  It could be that an experience of numbing consistency, so repetitive that you will pass into unconsciousness without knowing, is just what hits the spot — in which case, have we got a past-time for you!

But for the rest, for whom Saturday afternoons are still a precious commodity to be protected at all costs, the Choosy Beggars present the itinerary of every wine tour, ever:

  1. Your awkward introduction to someone who is, in absolutely no way under any circumstances, a professional in the wine industry — but who will be your expert tour guide for the afternoon.
  2. Enjoy a history of the winery, including a lengthy and embellished biography of the Founder that is at least 42% true, and/or the hint of magic that infuses the property through the fey wind that guided courier du bois there in centuries past/the whimsical and inspiring goat who discovered the tastiest grapes/melancholy spirit of the young woman who hanged herself in the barn over a lost love and wanders the vines at night.

    He's eating those grapes WHIMSICALLY

  3. Actually truck out to the vines, only to see how they really, really don’t look anything like you’d expect them to — partially because wine grapes shouldn’t look like grocery store ones, and partially because dumbass tourists aren’t allowed near anything their clumsy, grasping hands could ruin.
  4. Discuss at length the minerals in the soil which give the wine a distinctive flavor and how they are entirely and totally different from the winery across the road, which in turn produce a flavor totally distinct from you drank at the last winery you visited.
  5. Pass through a room of stainless steel vats that you are allowed nowhere near, full of aromas you would be happier never having huffed, through a puddle or two if you are in no way fortunate.
  6. Enjoy the distraction of discussing why this, unlike every other year in the past or the future, is the best year for grapes.
  7. Pass down below the earth into a silent room full of beautiful oak barrels, to be introduced to a charismatic wine expert who you wish was really leading the tour,  who will guide you through sampling the three least popular wines on the site.
  8. Experience ritual group humiliation by joining the crowd in practicing all the most pretentious practices of wine sampling:  twirl the too-young wine!  Observe its legs! Slurp it through your front teeth! Gargle a little!  Realize how you would never, ever do this in front of your friends!
  9. Gain lasting wisdom through the lengthy, detailed and inevitable Q&A from the one guest on the tour who is convinced that they know more about wine than everyone else in the building. Combined.  Over the last ten years.  And really wants you to know it.
  10. Cherish your Sampling Glass For Midgets (note: that you are NOT allowed to keep), whose 3-ounce capacity is never pressed beyond 1/3rd, to taste additional wines for $3 per shot.
  11. Complement your tasting with sumptuous snacks including dry crackers, artisanal bread that was fresh at some point in its existence, and the finest Black Diamond cheddar.
  12. Conclude your trip through the facility with an intense and in-depth tour of the company store, including all the wines discussed during the previous hour and a number of other items that may catch your interest — including, peculiarly, maple syrup and brie bakers.
  13. Arrive at the single, crystalline moment of clarity when you realize that all of the work is actually done in an unmarked factory a few miles away.

Enjoy your Saturday afternoons, everyone!  We just saved you more than a few of them.

  • Jan

    I hope the wedding details are getting sorted, and the wine tours at least had a relaxing effect. Having been on more than a few of these tours myself (though in BC), I can only agree. My favourite “magical infusion” story has got to be the “power of the pyramid” tale spun at Summerhill. That’s right, a pyramid.
    Glory in the story.

  • Martin

    I have only ever been on one wine tour and if your post has as much truthiness as it would seem, I must have lucked into a major outlier.

    Poggio Amorelli in December. The winery was small and we were two of only four people on the tour. I could give a detailed account, but I won’t just to avoid spoiling it for anyone who might someday be in a position to go there. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the experience, I am not that inclined to repeat it with other vineyards.

    I used to talk to the occasional tourists at the coffee roastery where I was busy roasting 2000lbs or coffee every day and I gradually settled into a well worn spiel. It’s probably easier to entertain people who are half drunk.

  • Kari

    The best wine tour I ever went on was in Italy in the Frascati wine region. It was a beautiful day, we had a wonderfully charismatic elderly Italian man leading the tour, the wine was delicious and best of all there was an amazing lunch filled with local meats, cheeses, veggies and wine of course. At the end there was an adorable golden retriever to play fetch with in the Italian afternoon sun.

    Other than that they’ve all pretty much been as described above, mostly in the Finger Lakes.

  • lo

    Based on our most recent experience in the Napa Valley, I must say your experiences seem right on. Hope the wine tours were a nice diversion from wedding planning, in any case. 🙂 And, as for the planning, enjoy it. You’ll miss it once it’s over… maybe. 😉

  • Joanna


    I am Joanna from the Trius PR Team!

    First of all good luck with all the wedding preparations. I am so glad to see so many wine lovers that enjoy wine tours.

    I would love for you to join us at and take part in great conversation about all things wine, hear about Trius news, and have a chance to win great prizes- like a Weekend in Wine Country!

    Trius Wines is currently offering one lucky winner and a guest the chance to Rediscover Trius During a Wine Country Weekend. The contest, running until January 5, 2011, offers a winner and guest a trip to Hillebrand Winery, and will include a private Culinary Experience with Chef Frank Dodd of Hillebrand Winery, and a private Wine Tasting Experience with Trius Winemaker Craig McDonald, and much more.

    Good Luck and hope to see you there =)