Toast at Niagara’s Icewine Festival

January 12, 2016

Vidal White Wine Grapes Protected by Nets from Birds in a Vineya

If you are a fan of wine (and who isn’t?) then there are three weekends in January that are just made for you. The Niagara Icewine Festival is held every January - this year it’s from January 15-31 to celebrate the time-consuming and nerve-wracking process of producing some of the finest winter wines in the world.

Cold-pressed takes on a new meaning in the Icewine industry. Grapes are left on the vine until the temperatures reach -8 Celsius. They are then picked and processed. Since they are frozen, an old-time press is used to squish out the icy innards of these grapes. Naturally, there is less juice. This means there is less wine. Sometimes though, less is more…so much more.

Icewine from Ontario has become a gold medal winner many times over. Today, a whole celebration is made around the wines. Visitors come from all over the world to sample the flavors with lingering tones of fruit. The White Vidal tastes something like a candied mango and lychee. Rieslings have a honey-tangerine aftertaste due to the acidity of the grapes. These Icewines are paired with blue cheeses, roasted chestnuts, and Belgian chocolates.

Niagara’s Icewine Festival is a time of sampling Icewines from different wineries, enjoying galas and fine dining and seeing amazing sculptured bars, chairs and tables made from- you guessed it!- ice. Visitors can buy a multi-weekend pass to the three weekend event and enjoy all of the pleasures of the festival.

Get the chance to pick the frozen grapes as you visit the participating wineries. Your fingers will freeze but the memories will remain with you forever. The grapes cling against the metal pans. The temperature is below cold and most of the picking is done at night for optimum cold temperatures. But artificial freezing isn’t allowed in the Icewine industry.

There are different events throughout every weekend. Fallsview Niagara is hosting the Xerox Icewine Gala. Participants will taste Icewines paired with chef creations from the Fallsview Casino chefs. There will be live entertainment and the casino, an exciting evening for sure.

The streets of Niagara-On-The-Lake transform during this festival time. A winter village pops up. White tents hold vendors and chefs. The smells of foods waft in the air. Visitors mingle in the cold air and purchase wine and trinkets from the shops. Ice skating and fun enhance the event. Mixologist will use Icewine to make cocktails in hopes of winning the competition. Try them all. There are speakers on the subjects of Icewines, centuries-old ballrooms that hosts galas and so much more. Drink your wines out of your own ice-sculpted wine glass. Toast to the festival, the wines and the vineyards that produce them.

Make your plans to visit Niagara’s Icewine Festival with your friends this year. See the beauty of Niagara in the winter. Play in the casinos. Stay for one weekend or make plans for the whole Icewine Festival. Look forward to great entertainment, food and Icewines. Check out the beautiful places to stay in Niagara-on-the-lake and come enjoy Niagara’s Icewine Festival.

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