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All aboard with Grape Escape wine tours

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I love companies like Grape Escapes, Nova Scotia Wine Tours who take the worry out of driving under the influence when you are wine touring.

I've already written about Laila North and Go North Tours, now the NS wine scene has become so active that there is competition on the roads..

During the Nova Scotia Wine Festival in September, a new touring company Grape Escapes have a selection of wine touring options, that will let you thoroughly enjoy your wine tastings and none of that spitting or pouring out nonsense.

The classiest option is a couple's escape weekend Double Decker Escape with B&B accomodations in Wolfville and a two day voucher for hop on hop off shuttle service on a double decker bus to five of the Annapolis Valley's award winning wineries. It also includes a $50 lunch voucher at Luckett Vineyard Not a bad deal for $299 per couple. The tour starts in Wolfville but transportation from Halifax can be arranged at an additional cost.

The Benjamin Bridge Escape package at $110 per person departs from Halifax at 10:00 am for a scenic drive into the Gaspereau Valley and an afternoon of tasting and exploring the Methode Classique sparkling wine aging process with Benjamin Bridge's winemaker, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, including a taste of their ’05 Brut Reserve. The tour includes round trip transportation, tasting fees and lunch at the winery. The Benjamin Bridge winery is only open for tours on invitation but its wines have been turning heads for several years and were served at Canada House at the London Olympics.

Sparkling Seafood Sunday Escape is a one day only event on September 16. The tour includes a round trip bus tour leaving Halifax at 10:00 am and visiting three wineries Avondale Sky, Luckett Vineyards for a two course seafood lunch, and finishing the day at L'Acadie Vineyards for their Champagne Wishes and Seafoood Dreams event. Winemaker Bruce Ewert will be serving his internationally recognized traditional method bubbly paired with seafood appetizers. A great outing for $129.

Wine, Beer and BBQ Escape. on Sunday September 23 starts at 10.am at Garrison Brewery in downtown Halifax and then heads for a tour of Avondale Sky winery in Windsor. The tour then goes to Gaspereau Vineyards to watch their charity grape stomp, and chow down on BBQ paired with their award winning wines, and live music for $89 per person.

On Sept 13 & 16, Grape Escapes are offering cyclists the chance to enjoy a bike wine tour. Transportation will be provided from Halifax and on arrival in Wolfeville, bikes, helmets and a cycle guide will be waiting to take you to tour the Gaspereau Valley, the dykelands and Evangeline Beach. The tour visits three wineries, and includes a picnic lunch for $89 per person.

Their Fall Harvest Wine and Culinary Escape is being held on Sept. 21 and Oct 6. Leaving Halifax at 4 pm you will tour two wineries and enjoy a multicourse dinner paired with Nova Scotia wines at one of the gourmet restaurants in Wolfville. Winery tours, dinner and wine, and round trip transportation to Halifax for $139 per person.

Check out your Thursday schedules from September 13 - October 4, as Grape Escapes departs from Halifax at 10 am and tours four Valley wineries and enjoys a two course gourmet lunch at Wolfville's famous Tempest World Cuisine restaurant with wine pairings total package $129.

For people on a budget, $99 will get you the Wine and Express Lunch tour on Sept. 19, 27 and Oct. 11 which includes round trip from Halifax, three wineries tours and a two course bistro lunch at Luckett's Vineyard with wine.

If you have only an afternoon to spare. Sept 14 and Oct 4 & 12, Grape Escapes are offering the Fall Harvest Afternoon Escape which leaves Halifax at 12:00 returning at 6:00 pm. $79 buys you the round trip drive, a guide, visit to four wineries and wine and cheese pairings at one of them. Bring your own picnic lunch.

Jump on the bus and enjoy the best of Nova Scotia wines.

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