Magic Winery Bus
*I was not compensated for this post. All of these opinions are my own*
As the saying goes…
Happy Mommy = Happy Family!
I truly believe that as moms we do not reward ourselves enough, nor do we take enough time to spend kid-free surrounded by other women!
I have the solution for you! It is the Magic Winery Bus which leaves from Wolfville, NS. Even if you don’t drink wine, this is still an incredible day out, and well worth the trip!
Here’s what the website says:
The Wolfville Magic Winery Bus–a classic British double-decker–will whisk you away for an incomparable day of tasteful adventure in the heart of Nova Scotia wine country. A North American one-of-a-kind, this hop-on, hop-off excursion visits four of the most storied and beautiful local wineries. You’ll experience firsthand the unique terrior that creates some of the most memorable wines in the world; learn a little about the region’s history and rooted connection with food; and best of all, get a taste for why this region has a reputation as the centre of wine country in Atlantic Canada. Ready to be transported?
Overview of the Wineries
Each day, the bus goes a different direction around the loop of wineries. The bus arrives at each winery every hour. It is up to you how many hours you spend at each location, or if you stop at each winery.
Throughout the ride on the double-decker bus, we had a tour guide who told us information about each of the wineries and the local area. Our guide happened to be Jeremy – a good friend of mine who I work with on Valley Ghost Walks. This made the tour extra-special!
Here is what we experienced at each of the wineries:
This was actually one of the first vineyards (if not THE first) in Atlantic Canada! Here, we sampled two wines (a red and a rose) and had a mini-lecture on the process of making wine. The rest of the time we spent walking through the vineyards and sampling the grapes.
We also learned about the two different types of netting used to protect the grapes from the birds and racoons.
Through the vineyard, you can also take a walk up to the viewpark that overlooks the Grand Pre Historical site.
There is a restaurant on site which opens at 11:30.
We were met off the bus by Pete Luckett’s own daughter, Sophia, who gave us the low-down on the winery. We sampled a Rosetta wine before heading into the winery.
Probably best known is the phone box that sits in the middle of the vineyard. Bring your address book, because from this phone you can make a free call to anywhere in North America!
There is a restaurant here and we stayed for an incredible lunch overlooking the vineyard.
Because we stayed for lunch, we allowed for two hours at this stop.
This winery is notable for two main reasons. First, it is a fully-certified organic winery. This means that they use no pesticides! Secondly, they make an award-winning sparkling wine – which we got to sample.
At this stop, we wandered through the vineyard, and learned what makes a vineyard organic. Amongst other things, the weeds are left to grow, and sheep manure is used to fertilize the grounds.
Apparently, when you drink organic wine, it does not leave you with a hangover that non-organic wines do. I did not have enough to sample to put this idea to the test!
On site is a playground for kids and a Mexican food truck.
This winery is my personal favourite. I love the wine here, and I love that we got to sample 6 wines (STC)! A great way to end the day.
In the middle of the vineyards, we got to learning about the different grapes, and what wines are made with them. This includes the Tidal Bay wine. The Nova Scotia winery owners and winemakers decided to develop a signature wine that revealed represented the area – thus Tidal Bay was born. There are a list of 21 grapes that can be used, and it is up to each wine maker to concoct her own recipe and version of Tidal Bay.
Tickets are purchased through TicketPro on the Magic Winery website.
I cannot stress this enough: book early!
Especially if you plan on touring with a group of friends. Last year, we tried to book tickets for 10 people about 3 weeks in advance and had a very hard time. This year, we booked almost 2 months in advance! Tickets sell out quickly. For a good reason – it is a top-notch day!
Tickets are $50 per person (STC). It is worth every penny!
Planning your Day
There are three slots to choose from: 10:30, 12:30 and 1:30.
If you want to go to all four wineries, select either the 10:30 or 12:30 time slots.
The first year we went, we were only able to get the 1:30 time slot. So, what we decided to to was to drive to Luckett’s for lunch, and then go back and catch the 1:30 bus. This way, we were still able to take in two more wineries.
This year, we left at 10:30 and visited all 4 wineries. We spend two hours at Luckett’s because we stayed for lunch. However, because lunch does take awhile, we were not able to do the full wine tour on site. If you stop for lunch, you almost need 3 hours at Lucketts!
We arrived back in Wolfville at 5pm.
There is a free parking lot across the street from the Wolfville Visitor Information Centre – from where the bus departs. You may also want to consider getting dropped off. I know that after all those wine samples, I would not have been able to drive home safely! Plan ahead and be responsible.
Each of the wineries offer extra samplings – usually for $5.00. This is a great way to get introduced to an even wider variety of wines. At L’Acadie, if you make a purchase, this $5.00 is deducted from the price!
There is a restaurant at the Domaine de Grand Pre Winery and at Luckett Vineyards. A Mexican food truck was available at L’Acadie.
If you are going to eat at Luckett’s like we did, you need to have a group of over 10 people to make a reservation. I booked our table of 14 a week in advance.
The food was incredible! After coaxing from several people to try the Churchill sandwich – I couldn’t resist the brie and chicken sandwich with a glass of muscat! All the food was delicious, as you can see!
The first year that the Magic Winery Bus operated I went with my husband and children. Some people couldn’t believe that I would take my children on a wine tour! Yes, I did, and I’m glad!
Children under 16 ride for free when accompanied by an adult.
My boys always wanted to ride a double-decker bus. This was a perfect way to make this happen (instead of spending over $75 in Halifax!) The kids loved riding on the top, and enjoyed the view from up top.
With the boys, we only stopped at two of the stops. However, they had a great time walking through the vineyards, sampling some grapes and being in the fresh air. At L’Acadie, there is a small playground area where the kids can play.
If you are taking kids, I would recommend going on the 1:30 tour and only making 1-2 stops.
The Magic Winery Bus is a wonderful asset to our area. It’s a great way to tour the countryside, enjoy a beautiful scenic drive, learn something new, taste some fantastic wine, and and spend time with friends and family. It is also a great way to support our local wine industry.
I will continue to go every year. You should, too!