Forget wine and cheese, this February the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake are offering up a decadent twist on food and drink pairings with the Days of Wine and Chocolate.
Happening every weekend in February, each of the 26 participating NOTL wineries will opening its doors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a unique combination of VQA wine and carefully chosen chocolate infused dishes.
Andrew Niven, director of marketing for Konzelmann Estate Winery and chair of the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake, said the month-long event is something they look forward to every year. “Everyone is ready to come out of holiday mode and approach something different.”
He said the wineries can get into friendly competition with each other when cooking up their newest chocolate inspired dishes. “We put in our A-games. As the quality of our offerings have improved the numbers continue to grow.”
The Wineries of NOTL have been hosting this event for the past eight years, and Niven said it gets better every year. “It’s a great way to get some traffic out to the wineries. We open our doors and showcase what we do best.”
Touring passes for the month-long event can be purchased online for $55. The pass is valid all month and grants access to each participating winery, allowing individuals to sample the wine and its paired chocolate dish.
Responsible drinking and safe driving, designated driver passes can be purchased for $30, permitting the driver to indulge in the experience and taste food pairings without the wine.
Niven said organizers are strict about responsible drinking and want to encourage groups to bring a designated driver.
“It wasn’t fair to charge people who wouldn’t be drinking,” Niven said.
He suggests visiting no more than eight wineries a day. The event lasts all month and individuals can return each weekend to sample the rest.
Those looking to plan ahead can check the event website for a list of each winery’s selected dish and wine pairing.
Groups of eight or more are advised to call ahead to each winery to allow for better service and experience.