January in Ontario means it’s time to enjoy Icewine and the best place to do that is at the Niagara Icewine Festival 2013 in St. Catharines. The Niagara Icewine Festival takes place at Ontario wineries in the Niagara Region and runs over three weekends including January 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27, 2013.
Icewine is made from frozen grapes on the vine, which means the time to harvest the grapes is delicate and the output is restricted. Icewine is concentrated and sweet and is usually made from Cabernet Franc, Riesling or Vidal grapes.
The easiest way to experience the Niagara Icewine Festival is to purchase a Discovery Pass at the first winerie on your route or at the Niagara Gateway at QEW/Casablanca Service Centre in Grimsby. Discovery Passes are $40 and allow you to enjoy eight wine pairings. This year, the festival is offering a Driver’s Discovery Pass for $30, which includes mocktail and culinary pairings at eight wineries.
You won’t want to miss the 8th Annual Winterfest in the Square, which takes place in St. Catharines’ Market Square on January 25, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be live entertainment, VQA table wines and Niagara Region Icewine, as well as gourmet offerings provided by local restaurants.
One of the other highlights of the Icewine festival is the Xerox Icewine Gala: The Ice Queen’s Ball that takes place on Fri., Jan. 11, 2013 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Fallsview Casino Resort Grand Hall. The evening will feature live entertainment, VQA Icewines and tables wines from over 30 wineries, a silent auction, as well as five culinary stations and artisanal cheese prepared by the chefs from Fallsview Casino. Tickets are $185 and can be purchased online.
If you want to brush up on your culinary expertise, Deborah Levy will offer six wine and cheese seminars during each weekend of the Niagara Icewine Festival. Tickets for each seminar are $20 and can be ordered online.
If you’re travelling from Toronto to visit the Niagara Icewine Festival, there are a number of options for accommodations. You can choose, among others, the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites or the Cedar Suite Bed & Breakfast, which are both right in St. Catharines. Other options include the Inn on the Twenty in nearby Jordan Station or the Prince of Wales, the Oban Inn Spa and Restaurant or the Applewood Hollow Bed & Breakfast in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Whatever plans you make, please be sure not to drink and drive.