Every year, in January, wineries across Niagara cross their fingers and hope that the temperature will dip below -8 C for a long enough period so that the mature grapes, still hanging on the vines, freeze to produce a super sweet dessert wine called Icewine. Canada is the worlds biggest importers of Icewine. Some of the most famous wineries that create these amazing Icewines are in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Also every January comes one of my favorite events of the year… The Niagara Ice Wine Festival. The main street of the “Old Town” is closed down and is transformed into a little tent village where wineries and the best restaurants of Niagara pair to offer us delicious treats.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a tourist destination most popular in the summer, however, this festival gives the little charming town a winter boost!
Photographing this event was quite difficult for many reasons. It was cold and I was afraid my camera would freeze if it was left out. Also, the Festival was packed with people, it was difficult to take photos without capturing some strangers head who might now appreciate having it posted online. None the less, here are some of the event photos to give you and idea of what the festival was like.
When we first arrived we lined up to buy are tokens. Then, directional signs guided us around the tent village and pointed us towards our favorite wineries and restaurants.
Trius, from Niagara-on-the-Lake and one of my favorite brands of Wine was at the Niagara Icewine Festival pouring 1 oz glass of the sweet delicious dessert wine.
There was all sorts of food offered at the festival, some of them had Icewine as their secret ingredient. Pictured above is a chocolate cup filled with ganache, nuts, caramel and a sprinkling of gold. I also had some yummy green curry stew, and lamb sliders.
A bar and cruiser tables made of ice were scattered across the street so you could rest your glasses of wine and sample your food. Wooden Muskoka chairs were placed around fire pits to warm up your hands and toes.
Instead of dealing with money and worrying about making change, you must buy tokens if you want to sample any wine or food . Each token is $3. I have to admit that although the Niagara Icewine Festival is fun, it’s not a cheap one. A 1 oz glass of Icewine is worth 2 tokens ($6) and 1 sample of food is typical 1 token. Having said that, a bottle of Icewine can be very expensive. They typically range from $35 to $99, but you can find some that are over $120 for a 375 ml bottle.
Have you every tried Icewine? Do you think they are too sweet? Or do you think they are the nectar of the gods? I know that some of my readers are from the States and the UK and I’m wondering they have seen Icewine sold in their liquor stores? Personally, I love icewine, and I definitely think it’s something worth celebrating!