One of NOTL’s most beloved festivals, a celebration of icewine and all things wine, is returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake, offering a magical winter getaway for locals and visitors alike.
The 25th annual Niagara Icewine Festival will kick off in Jordan on Jan. 10 and switch over to NOTL for two weekends before ending on Jan. 26.
The festival draws thousands of visitors to town, Nicole Cripps, events co-ordinator for the NOTL Chamber of Commerce, told The Lake Report.
The festive activities in NOTL will start with the Sparkle and Ice Gala at the Court House ballroom on Jan. 17 from 8 to 10 p.m. There will be food and wine samples from 16 different wineries and 10 restaurants. Juliet Dunn of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival will provide live music. At 10 p.m., guests will head out for an icewine toast and fireworks. Tickets cost $95.
The Icewine Village will take over Queen Street for two weekends, Jan. 18-19 and on Jan. 25-26. Visitors will be able to enjoy icewine from 22 NOTL wineries paired with food samples from 13 Signature Kitchen restaurants.
Live music will fill the historic Old Town street, which also will feature a variety of ice sculptures. At the entrance to the village will be two eight-foot-tall sculptures depicting icewine bottles.
The village will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Tokens cost $6 and glasses are $5. Admission is free but samples are purchased using tokens.
There will also be a Flash and Panache Cocktail Competition on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 9 to 11 p.m. Admission is free, sampling is by a token.
The White on Ice Dinner on Jan. 24 will see some changes this year. The progressive-style dinner will start with a welcome reception and hors d’oeuvres at the Court House.
Guests will then split into three different groups and each will be driven to one of the three restaurants: Peller Estates Winery, Prince of Wales Hotel and Oban Inn. The groups will then switch locations for the next two courses.
Everyone will then come back to the Icewine Village on Queen Street to enjoy dessert and an icewine toast while watching fireworks.
“I’m very excited,” Cripps said. “It’s a lot of work of organizing everything but once they’re happening and everyone is there and you see everyone enjoying it, it just makes it all worthwhile.”
With the purchase of a Niagara Icewine Discovery Pass, guests receive an icewine glass and five tokens.