Niagara wine

By Monica Kosior

Niagara Wine Country is the gift that keeps on giving.

With the lack of snow, it may not feel like winter just yet, but there are plenty of up-coming events to lift your spirits.

As a local, one of my favourite seasons in Niagara is the slow, cold months of January and February. Icewine harvests begin, winemakers take some well-deserved holidays and the tourists have all gone home. 2019 is already gearing up to be a busy and bountiful year.

See my top events below for what to do this winter, the snow may be missing, but the wine sure isn’t! Cheers and all the best in the New Year!

Niagara Events

Ontario wine

Twenty Valley Winter WineFest

The annual Twenty Valley Winter WineFest is celebrating 10 chilly years in Jordan village. The free admission event gathers up the best wine and food vendors of Niagara. In the quaint village, heaters and fire pits keep you warm as you use your purchased tokens to taste through all the delectable options. Featured ticketed events include Dilions Video Dance Party, Winter WineFest Chef Challenge, Icewine Brunch and more. And my favourite part of the weekend, the Barrel Toss competition, watch on the sidelines as local winemakers flip barrels end over end the fastest to win this years trophy.

More information available here

Dates: January 11 – 13
Location: Jordan Village 
Cost: Free admission to Jordan Village, Tokens packages and featured ticketed events varying prices available online here

Niagara wine country

Niagara Icewine Festival

There are two parts to enjoy the icewine festival, so twice as much fun. Part one, dress to the nines and enjoy the Northern Lights Gala, a celebration of Canadian icewine and the flavours of our country coast to coast. Hosted at the Fallsview Casino, 40 wineries participate to show off all things Canadiana. Part two, the Icewine Festival Discovery Pass takes you to your top 8 winery choices from Beamsville to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Wineries have prepped and paired their icewine treats for you to enjoy all January long.

More information available here

Dates: January 11 (Northern Lights Gala), January 11-13, 18-21, 25-27 (Discovery Pass)
Location: Participating wineries available here
Cost: Varying prices, Tickets available online here

Photo by Elena Galey-Pride, Winestains

Days of Wine and Chocolate

Both savoury and sweet, chocolate is paired all February with Niagara’s best VQA wines. With over 20 participating partners your new favourite pairing is one sip and bite away. Designated driver passes available for purchase.

More information available here

Dates: Every Weekend in February
Location: Participating wineries available here
Cost: $55 per person (+ HST and fees) available online here

Cuvée 2019

A celebration of Ontario wine while supporting and donating proceeds to Ontario’s ever growing wine industry. The Cuvée En Route pass kicks off the weekend with participating wineries offering their best tasting flights. Niagara wineries roll out the red carpet for you to enjoy and purchase featured Cuvée wines. At the Grand Tasting on March 23, the all-inclusive tasting event starts at 7:30 pm sharp. Ontario winemakers select only their best to be poured. Paired with dishes prepared live by the best local and guest chefs. My annual must-attend event with fellow VQA lovers.

More information available here

Dates: March 22-24
Location: Scotiabank Convention Centre  and Participating wineries available here
Cost: Varying costs, tickets available online here

Twenty Valley Events

Snowshoeing Through The Vineyard

The Westcott family will join you on a snowshoe tour through the Beamsville vineyards. Enjoy a glass of VQA wine and appetizer by the fire to warm up after the one-hour tour.

More information available here
Dates: January 12 – 13
Location: Westcott Vineyards 
Cost: $33.90 per person, available online here

Calamus Annual Souper Weekends

Warm up on a cold January weekend with Calamus’ Chef Pascal whisky barrel French onion, butternut squash and creamy potato bacon soup. Complimentary for guests purchasing and tasting wines in the barn loft.

More information available here
Dates: January 19-20 from 11 am-5 pm
Location: Calamus Estate Winery

Cost: Complimentary with wine purchase

Reserve Release Party

The first official release party for the brand new Private Reserve Selection from Di Profio Estate Winery. Tapas and tastings prepared by Chef Kevin and assistant winemaker Jacklyn Boyd. Join the family for this special evening, limited spots available.

More information available here

Dates: January 19 from 6:30-10:30pm
Location: Di Profio Estate Winery
Cost: $59.95 per person, Reservations required call 905-562-7080 to book

Love The Bench

From the organizers of Graze the Bench, fall in love with Beamsville during the winter months. Participating wineries are serving up some local and international favourites. From oysters shucked fresh by Tide and Vine at Fielding to fireside raclette at Hidden Bench. Reservations for groups of 6 or more required, purchase tastings at each participating winery.

More information available here

Dates: February 10-11, 17-19 from 11 am – 5 pm
Location: Peninsula Ridge Estate Winery, Angels Gate Winery, Fielding Estate Winery, Rosewood Estate Winery, Thirty Bench Winemakers, Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery,
Cost: Varying cost at each winery, details here

Set Your Heart Afire

This Family Day weekend, Kacaba and Zooma Caters are cooking up their spin on tomato soup and grilled cheese. Kacaba will be serving their newly released Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 with Bacon & Beet Jam Grilled Cheese with Spicy Tomato Soup. Are you drooling yet?

More information available here

Dates: February 16-18
Location: Kacaba Vineyards 
Cost: $10 per person, purchase tickets at the winery or online here

Intimate Wine & Food Adventure

The ultimate Toronto to Niagara experience. Carolyn Evans-Hammond is your personal Niagara tour guide flying from the Six into Beamsville where a luxury car awaits to take you to Tawse, Redstone and 13th Street Winery. Your ticket includes all transportation for the day, tastings and tours at Tawse and 13th Street, plus a private three-course lunch with wine pairings at Redstone. Truly a once in a lifetime private experience with one of Canada’s top Sommeliers.

More information available here

Dates: February 16, March 16
Location: Start location – Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Cost: $699 per person, Tickets available online here

Niagara-on-the-Lake Events

Community Skate Day

The community is invited to Wayne Gretzky’s skating rink for a free skate in January. The Whisky Bar Patio will be open and offering your favourite cocktail or wine. Skate rentals available.

More information available here

Date: January 9
Location: Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery
Cost: Free!

Icewinemaker’s Dinner

Peller welcomes you for a four-course menu created by Chef Jason Parsons and inspired by Winemaker Katie Dickieson’s icewines. The sparkling reception kicks off the evening, and as each course progresses you will learn just why icewine is Canada’s most prized product. End the night by roasting your own icewine marshmallows over the open fire, be careful not to let them burn!

More information available here

Date: January 19 at 6:30 pm
Location: Peller Estate Winery 
Cost: $140 per person (+HST +gratuities), tickets available online here

Sip & Swing

Learn to Swing while you sip, hosted at Between The Lines, Hamilton Hoppers will teach you everything you need to know about jumping and jiving. No partners required, enjoy your BTL wine or icewine cocktail with tapas and sliders. See you on the dance floor!

More information available here

Date: January 19 at 5:30 pm
Location: Between The Lines Winery 
Cost: $45 per person (+HST +gratuities) tickets available online here

Mardi Gras Celebrations

Join Reif Estate Winery during their southern inspired celebrations for Mardi Gras. Complimentary wine and food pairings will be offered at the winery during both weekends.

More information available here

Dates: March 2-3, 9-10 from 12 – 4 pm
Location: Reif Estate Winery 
Cost: Free!