Discover the vineyards near Montreal
Saturday morning, 8:30 am, the hubby and I were looking for the bus for our next day trip, exploring Quebec's Wine Route. After all, it is never too early to drink or to explore. Between all the construction in the meeting point, we got a glimpse of the bus on the other side of the road, we go through a building and we saw our guide, patiently waiting for us. I always hate when people arrive late on tours because they delay everyone and I was scared that we will be one of them. But, thankfully we arrived just on time! The guide, Sabin, greets us inside the minibus and explains we will make two other stops. Once at the second stop, Sabin explained how our day trip will unfold. He then explained that we will do one more pick up stop and that we will be visiting 3 vineyards.
We chose to do the tour with Kava Tours . The company proposes different tours, full-day tours, half-day tours, winter tours and self-guided tours by bike or by car. The wine route of Quebec is located in Dunham, in the Eastern Townships, around 1:30 hour away from Montreal. The region is one of my favourite region near Montreal. We are not foreign to the wineries in Quebec. In fact, the hubby and I got married in a winery in the same region., l'Orpailleur. However, we decided to take the tour since it is a no-brainer as everything was planned for us and we got exceptional explanations about the culture of wineries in the province. During the drive, we learnt that the oldest wineries are about 40 years old meaning that it is a fairly new industry. The reason why we don't have a striving wine industry is that of the extreme cold weather and the traditional vines don't survive this extreme temperature. In fact, there are only a few hybrids varieties of vines that survive the cold like Vidal or Frontenac.
Psst: I have to warn you that if you are a wine connoisseur and like strong and full body wines like Shiraz, you will be extremely disappointed with the taste of the wines, especially the red ones.
When in Montreal, the guide explained a little about the history of the city and the province. All the explanations were done in French and in English, if you are bilingual, you will get more information since the guide tailors the explanations towards tourists and locals so that everyone can learn new things.
The tour is done in a minibus that sits around 20 people. We enjoyed around 15 different wines at 3 different wineries plus a catered lunch made with local products. In total, the excursion lasted around 9 hours as you leave the island at 8:30 am from the first stop and you return to Montreal around 5:30 pm.
The first stop was by far the most beautiful. The vineyard is located on the top of a small hill where you can oversee the vines and the lake in the background. This beautiful domain reminded me about the vineyard in Mont-Orford.
At Léon Courville, the group split into 2 groups where they took us to the vineyard to explain how they grow the vines. Then, we went to see all the fermentation tanks and finally to the tasting room. At this last stage, we had a workshop about which qualities to look after for a wine and how to properly taste a wine. During the workshop, we tasted around 6 different wines, from red, white and rosé.
The second winery that we visited was Château de Cartes (house of cards in English). This winegrower specializes in sparkling wines and also offer ciders since the domain also has apple trees. The winegrower explained to us how the sparkling wine is made and took us to the cellar. Here, we also tasted the Quebec specialty of Ice Wine and Ice Cider. The ice products are made by doing the crops after the fruits freeze due to the frosting winter. This procedure gives a very sweet taste to the alcoholic products.
At this second stop, we had our lunch. The food is included in the tour and was provided by a local cater. The lunch was composed of homemade paté, charcuteries, cheeses, bread and salad. As a dessert, we had an éclair and I had a fruit salad with dark chocolate since I'm lactose intolerant.
The last stop is completely different from the other ones since the owner also raises foreign and wild animals like llamas, deers and boars. Some of the animals are butchered to provide their restaurant with meat. I have to admit that the baby llama was the cutest!
The winemaker is trying to shift his production towards an organic wine production, what a great initiative! These were the wines that we have liked the most. We bought 2 bottles to take home, a white and a rosé.
After all the wine tasting, we hopped back into the bus and returned back home. This was a great day trip activity with insightful information about the specifications of the Quebec wine industry.
If you are looking for a different day trip from the city, this could be a very pleasant activity to add your bucket list. Overall, I found that the tour was extremely well organized, and the guide was very good at explaining everything in both French and English.
- How to book? Visit Kava Tours The tour takes place every Saturday and Sunday in the summer and there are other schedules for the winter tours.
- How long? Around 9hours
- Tour Price? The full-day tour is $134 CAD per person
- What’s Included? Around 15 different wines, a lunch and the transportation. Heads up, you need to bring our own bottle of water.
Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post for Kava Tours. All opinions are my own
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