Hop on, hop off, easy as she goes. The Magic Bus Winery Tour (a classic London double-decker bus!) enables wine-lovers to make a day of tasting without the worry of driving between wineries. Because the bus leaves from central Wolfville (Willow Park, right at the tourist information kiosk), most visitors can walk from their accommodations to the bus starting point, and back again at day’s end. Risk-free wine enjoyment at its best!
In operation from Thursday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the Magic Bus Winery Tour makes five stops at popular area wineries (there are many more), running the full loop in an hour. Departure times from base are on the half hours, and if you catch the 9:30, 10:30 or 11:30 a.m. bus, you should manage to visit all five wineries in one day. Most visitors spend about half an hour at each winery, but the call of excellent food often disrupts that pattern at midday.
The wineries that the Magic Bus Winery Tour stops at are:
- Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards, eastern edge of the town of Wolfville, opened in 2017, with one of the best patios in the area, resplendent with a huge wood oven that provides delectable thin-crust pizza. There is a tented seating area for inclement weather, and picnic tables where dogs are welcome (don’t take your dog on the bus, please!).
- Domaine de Grand Pre, one of the oldest wineries in the province, with a globally recognized fine dining restaurant, Le Caveau; this place feels like a page in a European tour guide. A superb tasting bar and retail shop complement the experience.
- Luckett Vineyards, high on the south mountain with a spectacular view of Cape Blomidon, and a patio bistro with food so good it is frequented by locals. Some gourmet food is sold in the wine shop, where the tasting bar is long and the wines very fine. Owned by Englishman, Pete Luckett, Luckett Vineyards boasts a classic British phone box on the premises where gests can make free calls to anywhere in the world.
- L’Acadie Vineyards, in the flats of the Gaspereau Valley, next to the Annapolis Valley, supplies the area’s desired organic wines, including the locally famous L’Acadie Blanc wine, very similar in taste to classic, crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Sample and buy the winery’s still and sparkling wines at the shop and tasting room.
- Gaspereau Vineyards, also in the belly of the Valley, but at the foot of a south-facing hill, visible from above at The Stile park. Offering some of the Gaspereau Valley’s favourite wines, such as Lucie Kuhlman red, Gaspereau Vineyards has a delightful shop and a side, shady patio for light meals.
Tickets for the Magic Bus Winery Tour are available on line or at various outlets within Wolfville. The price for the tour is $50 (CDN) per person, and there is a guide on each bus. Most visitors spend the half hour at each winery, opting to remain at one of those that offers light lunches (Luckett, Lightfoot & Wolfville, Gaspereau; Domain de Grand Pre is a more formal restaurant venue, popular for lingering dinners, and L’Acadie does not have an eating establishment on premises).
Once you’ve toured the wineries on the Magic Bus Winery Tour, you’ll certainly want to return to your favourites, sample more wines and buy some bottles (or cases!) to take home. Even though they are not on the bus tour, be sure to check out Benjamin Bridge Vineyards, Blomidon Estate Winery and Planters Ridge Winery, and spend some time in the beautiful town of Wolfville, where dining and sipping rule!