Wine Adventures With A Twist
THIS IS CANADA...
We don’t just dutifully sip wine at sedate tastings and wax poetic on terroir, tannins and the flavour profiles of oak barrels. No, here we explore, we venture, we quest, and then we’re rewarded with the fruits of the vine.
Six wonderful wine adventures are yours to experience in the Georgian Triangle. These excursions have been purposely designed to reconnect your spirit with the great outdoors and the blessings of the grape. Who else would combine helicopter flights, cycling, kayaking, waterfall hikes and chartered cruises with the tasting room and a vineyard tour? Only a true Canadian adventurer.
Looking for a little adrenaline to pair with your next varietal? Here’s what lies in store for you.
WaterFall Walk & Wine Tour:
Former Forest Ranger Peter de Vries is your guide on this half-mile narrated walk to the beautiful Eugenia and Hoggs Falls in the Beaver Valley. Travel on one of three luxury air conditioned high-backed mini buses through the picturesque Beaver Val- ley as De Vries regales your party with sto- ries of wolves, history of the land, how the falls were formed and the resurgence of the
Bald Eagle in the valley after the banning of DDT and toxic chemicals. De Vries, a for- est ranger in Alqonquin Park for decades, is a fount of information on the geologic structures of the Niagara Escarpment and the unexpected gold rush that sprung up in the valley in the mid-1800s. Travel past Old Baldy before arriving at the Georgian Hills Vineyard for some delicious wine sampling.
Guests are picked up in Blue Mountain Village from Friday through Sunday at 1 p.m. $55. For reservations, call 705-445-5267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wine & Cheese Cruise:
Bon Voyage! Ascend the gangway for an hour-and-a-half cruise on scenic Georgian Bay aboard the steel hulled 65-foot Huronic vessel. Holding up to 70 passengers strong, the Huronic launches from Collingwood Harbour and cruises the southern coast of Georgian Bay while you sit back and enjoy picturesque vistas from both indoor and outdoor seating on two separate decks. Don’t worry about those sea legs, en route you’ll cast all your worries overboard as you sample four different local wines paired with delicious artisanal cheeses. Collingwood Charters is your host as you choose from European Vinifera varietals such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir or French American Hybrids, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Maréchal Foch and Baco Noir, all the alchemy of winemaker Lindsay Puddicombe, an expert in cool climate viticulture. Cruises run Wednesdays from May until Thanksgiving weekend. $49.95 plus tax per person. Launching at: Hurontario Street and Sidelaunch Way by the LCBO in Collingwood. Phone: 705-443-1124. Email: email@example.com
Helicopter Flight & Wine Tasting:
Buckle up for the adventure of your life as an R66 Turbine chopper spirits you from Air 44 Base at Collingwood Airport above the beautiful Niagara Escarpment. Your pilot, Marcus Vogel, will take you soaring west at a cruising speed of 222 km/h up the scenic Pretty River Valley to the verdant vineyards of the Georgian Hills Winery. You’ll land right at the vineyard for a most gratifying visit to the tasting room. There you’ll sample a diverse selection of locally produced wines paired with a selection of ripe fruits and luscious gourmet cheeses.
The heady return flight takes your party over the dramatic shoreline of Georgian Bay, buzzing above Blue Mountain Village and around the iconic Collingwood Harbour. Your flight concludes again at Air 44 Base at the Collingwood Airport, leaving you exhilarated and oh so satisfied.
It’s simply the most memorable wine tasting you’ll ever experience. Flight and wine for $199. Book directly on BigBlueAir’s website at www.bigblueair.com or call 705- 441-2538. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Weight restrictions apply – 260 pounds max per passenger to a maximum of 1,000 pounds for all passengers. The minimum age per passenger is five years old. The helicopter seats four passengers, with three in the back and one up front. Seating is based on weight and balance considerations and is determined at the time of boarding.
LOCATION: Collingwood Regional Air- port, 1997 Concession 6N RR4, Clearview Township.
Snowshoeing & Wine Tasting:
If there’s an early snowfall, fear not, there are still wine adventures to be had. Free Spirit Tours offers a spectacular guided snowshoe adventure in the Kolapore Uplands Wilderness Area on the famous Bruce Trail. Trek through the bush to the 12 acres of grapevines at Georgian Hills Vineyard, then warm your tootsies at the fire as you enjoy four local wines and cheeses. Dress in layers and bring your camera for this one. Snowshoes and transportation from Blue Mountain or Collingwood included. $70 per person, two-person minimum. For bookings, contact 705-444-3622.
Paddle & Wine:
2.5 hours including 1 paddle
The lazy Beaver River in Heathcote is your watery course as you drift downstream with the current on a secluded one-hour self-guided paddle through the scenic Beaver Valley. Choose your mode of transportation from a selection of three vessels – a Necky kayak, Novacraft canoe or a Kahuna SUP (stand up paddleboard.) Life jackets and all safety equipment included. Meet at the bridge in Heathcote (30-minute drive from Blue Mountain.) Taking one of two routes from Blue Mountain, up the escarpment and through the apple orchards of the Beaver Valley or along the shores of Georgian Bay.
When you arrive, choose your craft and Free Spirit Tours will ferry you upstream by van where you’ll put in after a quick lesson with basic instructions. Paddle back to the bridge on at calm waters then hop in your car for the five-minute journey to the Georgian Hills Vineyard where you will be treated to a welcome bubbly and three local wines paired with cheese and crackers. Platters of cured meats, fruits, crostini, pickles, cheeses, charcuterie and homemade pre- serves are also available for purchase. This is an easy, beginner-friendly paddle in stable (short and wider) recreational boats. Guides available upon request for an additional fee (book in advance for guides.) Must be 19- plus years of age.
Price is $58 per person plus tax. For bookings, contact Free Spirit Tours 519-599-2268 or
Activity Central at Blue Mountain at 705- 443-5522. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May-October, seven days a week until Thanksgiving weekend. Location: 236720 Grey Road 13, Heathcote. Note: The rural address of Grey Rd 13 is often not found on GPS. Call for directions or use Google maps to find the small hamlet of Heathcote. Free Spirit Tours is right at the bridge in town. You can’t miss it.
Gondola, Pedal & Paddle- Blue Mountains: 4-7 hours
Adrenaline junkies, this is the adventure for you. A full day of gondola riding, cycling up and down the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve), noshing and paddling down the Beaver River with the ultimate reward of a wine tasting en route.
Start your day at the Blue Mountain Activity Central in the guests services building at Blue Mountain Resort. Pick up your gondola ticket, lunch voucher, self-guided map and paddling ticket, and then head to the gondolas only steps away. Rent a bike, or bring your own (Hybrid and mountain bikes recommended. Helmets required.) Staff will load your bikes on the gondola for you.
Your adventure begins as you’re carried aloft on an open-aired Gondola up the mountain where you can gaze in awe at the bird’s-eye views of Ontario’s best ski hills. Atop the mountain, pause to take in the panoramic views of Georgian Bay before mounting your bike and taking to the breathtaking trails. Forty kilometres of scenic beauty awaits as you cycle past apple orchards in Ontario’s apple capital and through the Beaver Valley countryside.
Blackbird Pie Company is your lunch stop before you gear up for the gentle paddle down Beaver River (one-hour paddle).
Cycle back along the Georgian Trail to the Village or take a side trip to the Georgian Hills Vineyard for a quick tasting before returning.
Cost is $60 per person plus tax and includes map, gondola ride, lunch voucher and paddle ticket. Daily, May to October during gondola hours. Additional fee of $5 per person for a Simply Sampling Tasting of four wines at Georgian Hills Winery (if applicable). Guides available for extra fees, if requested.
For bookings, go to Activity Central at Blue Mountain or call 705-443-5522.