Canada’s Niagara Falls, Ontario, is well-known as one of the hotbeds of icewine. The perfect temperature of this region has led to Niagara wineries being named amongst the top icewine makers in the world. Our Solo Traveling Mom takes a look at why the Niagara Icewine Festival is the perfect place to head in January.
Cheers to Niagara Icewine Festival
While the waterfalls are pretty spectacular, last year I headed to Niagara Falls, Ontario for the opening day of the Niagara Icewine Festival. I assumed the weather would be quite cold and dreary, but instead Niagara welcomed me with sunny skies.
Here’s what I learned about the Niagara Icewine Festival and what to plan if you want to check it out over the last three weekends in January.
What is Icewine?
Canada’s Niagara region in Ontario is known for producing some of the world’s best icewine. But what IS icewine and how is it different from other wines?
Icewine is a sweeter tasting wine made from harvesting frozen grapes. In order to harvest, the temperature must stay below -8 degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit) for a stretch of more than three days. The Niagara Icewine Festival is held to celebrate the harvest of the grapes and showcase a variety of local wineries.
Niagara Icewine Festival
Over the last three weekends in January, plenty of exciting activities happen to celebrate the harvest of the icewine grapes. The festival kicks off January 13th, 2017 with the Xerox Icewine Gala. Having attended a previous gala, I can tell you the ticket price of $185 (Canadian) is well worth the cost. Flowing icewine, delicious food offerings and live music make this a night to remember.
The remainder of the weekend is filled with activities in the town of Jordan in Twenty Valley, about a 20-minute drive from Niagara Falls. The main street shuts down as wineries and restaurants gather to offer the best of their wines and foods. It’s a festive event in a fun atmosphere with live music, sparkling ice sculptures and plenty of opportunities for socializing and shopping. For an even more unique experience, stay at a local inn like the Inn on the Twenty.
The second weekend of the Festival heads to the heart of wine country, Niagara-On-The-Lake. Expect to experience some of Niagara’s best wine on January 21st and 22nd, 2017. In this a gorgeous setting, 26 wineries serve signature icewines paired with food by the Signature Kitchen Chefs.
On the final weekend of January 27th through the 29th, 2017, the festival moves to the centre of the action in Niagara Falls, Ontario. A few streets from the actual falls, more than 20 wineries gather to celebrate the harvest in the Scotiabank Convention Centre. There is plenty of fun inside with music and food but the event is made even more complete with an outdoor Icewine Winter Wonderland. Stay nearby at the Doubletree Resort & Spa.
Niagara Icewine Festival Discovery Pass
While celebrating the Icewine Festival, check out the Niagara Wine Festival Discovery Pass. Each pass gives you access to 8 unique experiences at wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the nearby Twenty Valley.
Some of my favourites from last year included roasting icewine marshmallows at Peller Estates Winery, enjoying a pear and apple sandwich at Mike Weir Winery. and sampling delicious bacon and blue cheese queso dip at Fielding Estates Winery. Bring along a designated driver or even better book a limousine ride to safely enjoy all the icewine pairings.
I left Niagara Falls with a new appreciation for Ontario wines and icewine in particular. Check out the Niagara Icewine Festival kicking off January 13th and ending January 29th, 2017.