Icewine Festival A Sweet Niagara Destination

January 13, 2016 | Fort Erie Times
By Don Fraser, QMI Agency

A marquee icewine festival is crystallizing into different corners of Niagara.

From Friday to the end of the month, the annual Niagara Icewine Festival will showcase events and tastings that range from Jordan to St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Kimberly Hundertmark, executive director of the icewine festival’s umbrella organization Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. “It has become like a secondary tourism season for us in Niagara, which is awesome for everyone.”

“The impact it has is a bonus for retailers, and accommodation and culinary partners who might otherwise be a little bit slower through the month of January.

“Now it’s a very vibrant time for the region.”

Among regional highlights at this year’s festival is a transformation of Jordan Village from Jan. 15-17 into a holiday market style destination, complete with premium VQA wines, gourmet offerings and live entertainment.

Festivities begin on Friday with the annual Xerox Icewine Gala at the Fallsview Casino Resort and the Sparkle and Ice Diamond Gala in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Outdoor celebrations take place at the street festivals in both Jordan Village and also Niagara-on-the-Lake from January 23–24.

This year, the festival is also partnering with the Downtown D’Lish in St. Catharines, with partnering restaurants offering fixed-price luncha dn dinner specials and many featuring culinary creations inspired by, or paired with Niagara wines.

In the Falls, a transformed Scotiabank Convention Centre will feature a Icewine Village.

Visitors can also purchase a Discovery Pass, and choose from dozens of wineries and culinary experiences along the Wine Route.

Meanwhile, Twenty Valley is also celebrating its seventh annual Winter WineFest Jan. 15 – 17 and held in conjunction with the regional festival.

Jordan Village will be enhanced by bonfires, seating areas, ice and art installations and hundreds of strands of lights. Wineries will select from their favourite vintages that will include icewines, sparkling wines and red and white vintages.

Featured chefs from the west St. Catharines-Grimsby “Twenty Valley” area will present special menus to celebrate the season and pair with regional wines, with samples starting at $2 each.

Food Network’s Lynn Crawford will also make her Winter WineFest debut as the headline chef of a Jan. 16 dinner and “Icewine Brunch” on Jan. 17. Both events are hosted in the Windows Room at Inn on the Twenty. Seating is limited with tickets on sale now.

That weekend also kicks off with an open-air concert featuring the Canadian indie-folk band “Whitehorse”.

Saturday night’s main stage will also feature some favourite Twenty Valley local bands, with all wine and food vendors open both evenings.

Other events are on the itinerary during those Friday- Sunday celebrations in Jordan and later in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

For a complete listing of all Icewine Festival programming and events, visit

Twitter; @don_standard