It’s the most wonderful time of the year and if you’re local to the Niagara Region you will know what we are referring to. Niagara’s most famous Icewine Festival returns in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Known as ‘liquid gold’ Niagara icewine has been making headway around the world for the last 200 years since it was first discovered by accident in Germany in 1794. Visitors from around the world will travel thousands of miles to taste the sweet and succulent wines that really could be comparable to the richness of gold. Those looking to make the most of their Niagara Region visit and would enjoy time exploring Niagara Falls, Canada can do so by hoping in the car and driving 20-minutes along the picturesque Niagara Parkway. Make the most of your Niagara weekend by seeing the famous Falls during the winter, play your hand at the Fallsview Casino or Casino Niagara or enjoy the lights along Clifton Hill and along the Niagara Parkway at the Winter Festival of Lights
Wine lovers can enjoy three weekends worth of wine and lots of it. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or love that inexpensive wine from the liquor store, either way those who have a taste for the bold can enjoy a number of events and food and wine pairings throughout the course of the festival.
THE ULTIMATE WINE PASS
For those wishing to get the most of their winery visits it’s definitely recommended to purchase a Discovery Pass valued for $40. This allows festival goers access to 8 wineries of their choice. When you have 40 wineries to choose from it can become a bit overwhelming but most definitely exciting. It’s also recommended that attendees choose their wineries in advance and along with a wine pass in advance (LINK) The festival even created a pass for the designated drivers who can still enjoy the mouth-watering culinary offerings. Wineries involved in the Icewine festival include Between The Lines, Chateau de Charmes, Peller Estates, Trius Winery, Jackson-Triggs, Diamond Estates, Konzelman, Niagara College Teaching Winery , Inniskillin, Pelleteri, Colaneri and so many more. The Discovery passes are available online, participating wineries, St. Catharines Ontario Travel Centre, Niagara Falls Ontario Travel Centre, and Niagara Falls Tourism. The experience is truly unique and allows visitors to sip and savour the flavours and seasons of Niagara.
WINE & CHEESE, PLEASE!
Festival goers can also enjoy the flavours of Niagara’s cheese farms as well through multiple wine and cheese pairing seminars. Learn the best pairing tips, how age affects cheese and many more helpful in the kitchen tips. For those wishing to bring home sample tasting from the winery can do so by visiting their online recipes. http://niagarawinefestival.com/recipes/details/grilled-pork-belly-taco-2-3
WINING & DINING
For those wishing to celebrate icewine in a more elegant way rather than with a wooly hat and high boots, then you may enjoy the 21st Xerox Icewine Festival held at the Fallsview Casino & Resort on Friday, January 15th at the Grand Hall from 7pm-10pm. Enjoy the flavours of over 35 different wineries while enjoying the sounds of Sandy Vine, The Midnights, and Piano Great Frank Krahn.
WHO DISCOVERED ICEWINE?
Although the Niagara Region is home to the delicious and world famous icewine, the wine itself did not originate in Canada, however it was discovered in Germany in 1794 when the name was referred to as, ‘eiswein.’ Wine makers and farmers did not want to loose the grapes during the cold Winter temperatures so they grapes were left on the vine throughout the harsh winter months. When the grapes were retrieved from the vine and broken into the flavours released were naturally sweet and succulent. Icewine is considered a delectable dessert wine and prestigious gift is received. The wine itself is paired best with sharp cheeses, desserts and even savoury foods as done in previous years at the NIagara Icewine Festival. Today, the Icewine appears on restaurant tables across Beijing, Rome, Paris, Hong Kong, India and Taiwan.
Icewine in Canada is harvested with temperatures reaching -8 C (17 Fahrenheit) due to the juices being rich in sugar. They are picked during the cold winter nights and pressed while still in frozen state. At the Niagara Icewine Festival you will discover a variety of ice wines including the most famous vidal, along with the cabernet franc and riesling.