Icewine has acquired the status of being the flagship product that has made the world take notice of Ontario winemaking. It is said that Icewine was accidentally discovered in Germany in 1794 by farmers trying to save their grape harvest after a sudden frost. In the 1980s, perceptive vintners recognized that Ontario's cold winters would provide the perfect conditions for producing exceptional Icewine.
Every year, for the month of January, Wine Country Ontario celebrates one of Canada's most cherished products, Ontario Icewine. Niagara's annual Icewine Festival, unique in the wine world, is a time when consumers have the best opportunities to discover and enjoy the delicious and luscious sensations of Icewine while taking part in unforgettable Icewine-inspired experiences.
While Icewine can and should be enjoyed any time of the year, January is a special time when the Niagara region turns into a wintry wonderland, a magical place like no other. Wine enthusiasts, cocktail fans, foodies and music lovers alike can choose from a collection of Icewine related events reflecting the authentic and local flavours of Ontario.
Events will be hosted throughout the Niagara region and at the outdoor street festivals in the towns of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Jordan Village where visitors can warm up to cozy open fires, admire sparkling ice sculptures and enjoy live entertainment. Activities include an annual Icewine Gala, casual and formal culinary experiences, food and cocktail competitions, an outdoor concert and action-packed winemaker challenges. Guests can also purchase a Discovery Pass, where visitors can choose from over 30 incredible wine and culinary experiences along the Wine Route. And while Icewine is the focus of this annual celebration, visitors also have the opportunity to taste festive sparkling wines and sensational VQA red and white wines.
Niagara Icewine Festival
During the three weekends of Icewine experiences; Deborah Levy from Dairy Farmers of Canada will present six unique Niagara wine and artisanal cheese seminars. Working closely with each winery; Deborah will present cheese selections that truly complement the various winemakers’ style and of course incredible Canadian Icewines.
Flash & Panache: Icewine Cocktail Competition - January 21, 2012 - 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Shaken, stirred, muddled or mixed; when the mavericks of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s cocktail scene include Icewine in their repertoire magical things happen. In a nod to the versatility of Icewine, some of wine country’s most celebrated mixologists will shake things up as they compete to create Niagara-on-the-Lake’s best Icewine cocktail. As the judges take on the task of awarding top honours, guests will have the opportunity to sample each Icewine cocktail alongside dishes served up by local restaurants. Presented by Signature Kitchen Chefs. Admission is free.
Get Schooled in Cool: Tasting with Canada’s Icewine Insiders - January 28, 2012 - 1:00 PM
Meet the people behind Niagara-on-the-Lake’s finest Icewines. Each session includes an in-depth tasting of at least four Icewines and hosted is by an award-winning Icewinemaker. Hosted at the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Icewinemakers will be on hand to answer any questions guests have. This is a great way for guests to educate themselves about their next Icewine purchase. $20 per person.
Winemakers on Ice - January 28, 2012 - 2:00 PM
Cheer on the Icewinemakers of Niagara-on-the-Lake as they take to Ravine Vineyard’s outdoor rink. An “ultimate” outdoor hockey showdown, the Icewinemakers will be trading in their tasting glasses for hockey sticks and vying for Niagara-on-the-Lake’s first Icewine Cup. A range of culinary delights will fuel the fans in the stands and the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake will be on-hand pouring a selection of vintages. Admission is free.
Vintage Icewine and Cheese Tasting - January 29, 2012 - 1:00 PM
A must attend session devoted to the perfect pairing. Savour rare, carefully cellared vintage Icewines from Martin Malivoire’s personal cellar paired with some of Canada’s most sought-after artisanal cheeses.
The Icewine Festival Discovery Pass is your key to three weekends of wine and culinary adventures at wineries across Niagara. Discovery Pass holders can enjoy six experiences per pass. Below you can click on the Discovery Pass listing for award-winning wineries inviting you to share in their Icewine masterpieces. There is no finer way to experience the bounty of winter than travelling along the the Wine Route, sipping and savouring the best in local Icewine and cuisine. Discovery Passes are $30 or individual experiences are $10 each without a Discovery Pass.
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Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival
Get Schooled in Cool: Tasting with Canada’s Icewine Insiders is a tasting series hosted by the award-winning Icewinemakers of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Each session is held at one of the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake and includes an in-depth tasting of at least four Icewines. These tasting seminars take place at 1 pm or 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays in January (January 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28).
The most iconic event of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival is the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Village. On Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, historic Queen Street is transformed into a winter wonderland. Set to the sound of Canadian Jazz and surrounded by sparkling ice sculptures, the 28 Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake pour their award-winning Icewines for eager tasters and the Signature Kitchen Chefs serve up culinary treats prepared to complement the wine.
During Flash & Panache: Icewine Cocktail Competition, the mavericks of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s cocktail scene shake, stir, muddle and mix Icewine into their repertoire. The resulting Icewine cocktails are available for guests to taste as the judges decide which one wins top honours. Presented by Signature Kitchen Chefs, the event also features a variety of Icewine-inspired dishes to sample. The event takes place Saturday, January 21 from 9 pm to 11 pm.
The Icewinemakers of the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake trade in their tasting glasses for hockey sticks for Winemakers on Ice, an “ultimate” hockey showdown held on Ravine Vineyard’s outdoor rink. Taking place on Saturday, January 28 from 2 pm to 4 pm, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s first Icewine Cup is on the line. A range of culinary delights will fuel the fans and the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake will be on hand pouring a selection of vintages.
Check the website
for more info.
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for all your Niagara wine region travel plans all year round.