Why whine about fall when you can fall for wine? Head to Ontario, Canada’s Niagara wine country -- a region nestled between the Niagara River to the east and Lake Ontario to the north. A 90-minute drive from Toronto, 30 minutes from Buffalo and around the corner from the Falls, this region is home to more than 75 wineries, relaxing spas and cultural events throughout the year.
Set out along the Niagara Wine Trail -- a series of loops that connect the wineries throughout the region -- to discover the rich tastes, aromatic pleasures and charming foliage that autumn brings to the region. Drive through the back roads for the best view of the changing colors and picturesque scenery -- this alone makes the trip worthwhile. Here is a taste of some highlights waiting along the trail:
Wineries: Tantalize your taste buds with the savory flavors of Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz, Merlot and more. Taste the vino of celebrities Dan Aykroyd, Wayne Gretzky and Mike Weir, or stop in at the craft wineries -- many of which have the owners working behind the tasting counter.
Ice Wine: This sweet wine often enjoyed with dessert has placed Canada on the wine map around the world. Made by allowing grapes to hang for many weeks after the traditional harvest, the frozen grapes are picked and crushed with only a drop of extremely sweet concentrated juice emerging.
Food and Shops: It’s not all about water and wine in the Niagara Region. Stroll the streets and stop in at any of the boutique shops, galleries and restaurants -- some of the best restaurants and antique shops around await travelers after they visit the local attractions.
Entertainment: Give your palate a rest and visit Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Shaw Festival. Inspired by the works of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries, theater-goers will have a chance to check out performances at four different theatres. Be sure to take advantage of this Travelzoo deal for "The Doctor’s Dilemma” -- bookable until Sept. 4.
Other Tips: Visit the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake website for wine tasting tips. Some highlights include not wearing scents, throwing away gum before tasting, cleansing your palate with water or bread and putting a cooler in your trunk for wine purchases.