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Accosted by rain and sleet, victim to the misery of long-term sun deprivation, even winter's most ardent supporters sometimes struggle to grasp its appeal. Long story short, it's wine. Icewine, to be exact. An elixir made possible by freezing temps and lauded the world over for its fruit-forward sweetness, this liquid gold gives the year's most miserable months a clear raison d’être. This January, discover one of Ontario's specialties at the Niagara Icewine Festival. A celebration of the Niagara Peninsula, its food, VQA wine, and the professionals making their mark in the industry, it's a festival sure to lift your spirits and, perhaps, even help you see the silver lining to winter's bitter temps.
Taking place between January 13 and 29, the Niagara Icewine Festival offers varied programming that ensures a little something for everyone. Attend the Cool as Ice Gala on January 14 and join guests at the new Niagara Parks Power Station. Beyond a wealth of wine samples, cocktails and delicious, farm-to-table bites from talented local chefs, attendees will also have the chance to view the station’s immersive exhibits and to experience views of Niagara Falls from “The Tunnel,” 180-feet below ground.
Prefer a little more freedom? The Discovery Pass offers just that, by way of self-guided vineyard tours to be enjoyed on weekends in January. Each pass includes six unique wine and culinary experiences from a number of local wineries, including Jackson-Triggs, Peller Estates, Redstone, Tawse, and many more, with a discounted Driver’s Pass available for your party’s chauffeur.
In addition, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival begins two weekends of celebrations on January 20, with the Sparkle and Ice Gala. Guests at the event will delight in expert VQA wine and food pairings in the Old Courthouse, while live music plays and fireworks dazzle. Downtown, Queen Street will transform into the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Village, while the Niagara Icewine Cocktail Competition will take place on Saturday, January 28, at the Courthouse Grand Hall.
"Niagara celebrates Icewine like nowhere else in the world,” says Sylvia Augaitis, executive director of marketing for the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario in a press release. “Ontario wine country street festivals and galas are an invitation to uncover the many ways to enjoy Ontario VQA Icewine — from VQA Icewine cocktails to spicy, sweet and savoury VQA Icewine food experiences,” she adds. Join the celebration this month and embark on a wintry experience you’re sure to love. To purchase tickets and passes, and to learn more, visit the Niagara Icewine Festival website and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival website.