Niagara Ice Wine Festival

With winter comes hail, snow and ice. While it’s tempting to stay home whenever we can, there’s a buzz going on in one of the coldest yet quaintest parts of North America. Elegance meets winter glamour is how I would describe it, and as always ladies, I’ve returned from a trip bearing pearls of travel wisdom to share with all of you.

Niagara-on-the Lake celebrates its annual wine festival during the coldest time of the year. The Ice Wine Festival takes place every January and both Niagara-on-the-Lake and Twenty Valley play host to over 30 wineries that provide guests with an unparalleled ice wine tasting + food pairing experience.

 While there are many different options for different events during the festival the #1 thing-to-do is purchase a Discovery Pass. You can use the discovery pass in one weekend or throughout different weekends listed on the website. You get access to 8 different wineries from both Twenty Valley wineries and wineries located at Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

 

So what is ice wine? Ice Wine is made from grapes left frozen on vines. The result is a wine that is sweeter and has reduced water content.  It’s best served when chilled and lasts 3 – 4 weeks. There are many variations of the wine and each winery recommends a different food pairing for each wine to really bring out it’s taste. 

It’s important to note that Twenty Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake are in opposite directions. To get the most out of your experience I recommend spending a single day in each area. Below are some noteworthy wineries and unique features each offers.

 

Twenty Valley:

 1. Megalomaniac – of all the wineries in Twenty Valley it has the most spectacular views. If you are into breathtaking scenery and photo worthy destinations, this is the place to go. Megalomaniac is sprinkled with chandeliers and staff that are extremely and ready to serve.

 2. Tawes Winery – carries my all-time favorite ice wine. Their brand of ice wine is sweet but not overbearingly sweet and is best paired with dessert. The wine tasting room is filled with oaky barrels and looks like an Italian Osteria. 

Niagara-on-the-Lake:

 1.13 Street Winery – the uber chic boutique style winery offers more than just it's unique brand of wine. It’s cafe has an art gallery feel. I recommend trying Canada’s famous Butter Tart.

 2. Peller Estates - offers a fun yet grand experience. The ambience and grandeur of the estate is a site to see. It differs from all the other wineries as it’s wine tasting happens outdoors. Peller Estates ice wine is also red compared to most others. It is paired with a giant marshmallow on wood stick which you and your beau or gal pals can roast over portable outdoor campfires.

 

Other To-Dos for the weekend: 

1. Explore non ice wine wineries. Two great choices are Kew Winery and Two Sisters. These two are great for girl groups. Kew winery offers a savory cheese and bread pairing with three different glasses of their award-winning wines. In addition, it offers its patrons the cutest drink ware items for sale. Two sisters is a newer winery with a chic and feminine feel that would never be a wrong choice for an afternoon with the ladies (away from beaus & babies)

2.    High Tea: 

3.    Brunch with a Breathtaking View: Sheraton on the Falls

4.    The Falls: Some of you may want to see the falls. In the winter it is not cold, IT’S FREEZING! If you’re up for that kind of adventure kudos to you. Dress warm, in layers, and be prepared to get rained on with slushy raindrops.

5.    Shopping: As you know the US dollar goes a little farther in Canada. I’ve said this on many trips. Go shopping abroad. You can get the same things for less because of the exchange rate. Check out Outlet Collection at Niagara for steals on brands like Kate Spade, Nike, Lacoste, etc.