As temperatures continue to keep a frozen grip on Canadians, Niagara is gearing up to celebrate one of Canada’s sweetest gifts of the season – Niagara Icewine.
The world-renowned wine region will welcome thousands of wine lovers looking to kick off the New Year in style during the Niagara Icewine Festival, which runs from Jan. 12-28.
Returning for its 23rd year, the festival features street parties in three different Niagara communities over three weekends, seasonal food and wine pairings at more than three dozen wineries and an elegant gala to launch the festivities.
“This truly is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows people to see a different side of Niagara and enjoy our Canadian winter in a fun and memorable way,” says Anthony Annunziata, executive director of the Tourism Partnership of Niagara. “The festival always draws people from all over North America, who want to get in on the celebration.”
There are very few grape-growing regions in the world that have the proper climate to produce icewine. Niagara has long been a pioneer of making delicious wines from frozen grapes and has developed a reputation around the world for the quality of its icewines.
The Niagara icewine harvest will begin as soon as conditions are right. Temperatures have to dip below at least -8°C – ideally between -10°C and -12°C – for several hours before growers can begin harvesting grapes by hand that have been left on the vine to freeze. The grapes are pressed while still frozen to extract the highly concentrated juice that gives icewine its sweet, rich flavour.
The Niagara Icewine Festival gives visitors an opportunity to taste all the best Niagara has to offer, learn how this special delicacy is made and enjoy good times with friends and family.
Festival highlights include:
- The Niagara Icewine Gala at Fallsview Casino and Resort on Jan. 12, featuring Canada’s largest VQA Icewine and table wine tasting from more than 35 wineries. The casino’s top chefs will also be on hand.
- Twenty Valley Winter WineFest runs from Jan. 12-14 in the heart of Jordan Village. The annual Winter WineFest brings together Niagara’s top winemakers, chefs and premium VQA wines in a fabulous outdoor marché. Ice sculptures, fire pits and live entertainment at the Main Stage add to the ambiance.
- The Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival features a mix of wine, food and entertainment at a variety of events between Jan. 19 and Jan. 28. The town’s historic Queen Street transforms into a winter wonderland in the Icewine Village on Jan. 20 and 21. The icewines of 26 Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries will be flowing and the renowned Signature Kitchen Chefs will serve up icewine-inspired culinary creations.
- The Niagara Falls Icewine Festival at the Scotiabank Convention Centre wraps up the final weekend with the largest indoor/outdoor icewine, wine, food and live entertainment experiences on Jan. 26 and 27. The two-day event will feature more 20 of Niagara’s exceptional wineries, savoury dishes prepared by some of Niagara’s top chefs, live musical performances and an icewine marshmallow feature where people can toast them over an open flame.