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Celebrating Icewine: Niagara’s 20th Annual Varietal Appreciation Month

SOTFblog1.jpegThe Niagara region is home to almost 14,000 acres of prime vineyard property, and more than 80 amazing winemakers are taking full advantage, growing 32 thriving varietals year-round. This means that Niagara Falls and the surrounding region is a top destination for wine lovers of every shade, from master sommeliers to novice connoisseurs. However, of those 32 varietals, one in particular stands out as Niagara’s favorite and most prestigious wine: icewine.

Icewine gets its fantastic name from the process used to create it: Vintners allow the growing grapes to freeze on the vine during winter, which creates a sweeter, more concentrated flavor in the wine. Originating as a spin on the recognizable riesling varietal, icewine is typically labeled as a dessert wine, though most experts would insist that its sweet flavor can be enjoyed during any course of a meal. In fact, icewine is particularly refreshing as its intense sweet fruit flavors are well-balanced by a lingering acidity, providing a medium to full body that pairs well with salty, spicy, and rich foods.

For more than 20 years, icewine has grown in popularity to become the most beloved type of wine on Niagara’s verdant shores. This January, the entire region is celebrating its success with month-long festivities held in tribute to this under appreciated and delectable wine. If you foster a fine appreciation for wine, you absolutely must come to Niagara for these once-in-a-lifetime festivities.

The Icewine Experience

All month long at Reif Estate Winery, visitors can sample each one of this exceptional vineyard’s four unique icewines. Plus, expert sommeliers will pair wine with local culinary creations, providing a satisfying tasting experience all around.

Xerox Icewine Gala

On January 9, come to Fallsview Casino Resort to see all 30 of Niagara’s award-winning winemakers showcase their icewines. Top chefs will provide food to balance your palate, and rotating entertainment will keep your spirits up throughout the night. This event is the largest tasting of icewine in the world, so if you are interested in this unique varietal, you can’t miss this gala!

Icewine Dinner With Jamie Kennedy

Owner and head chef at Niagara’s famous restaurant Windows, Jamie Kennedy is Niagara’s expert on all things taste and smell. Fortunately, he is hosting an event on January 16 to celebrate the region’s wealth of delicious icewine with a bevy of tasty treats, including a four-course meal sure to please.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Village

SOTFblog2.jpegThe quaint township of Niagara-on-the-Lake sits right in the middle of the fantastic wine region, so naturally the entire city celebrates icewine with a full city street dedicated to the beverage. During the weekend of January 17-18, historic Queen Street will be lined with booths from local wineries offering samples of their best icewines to date. During the festivities, there will even be a competition for the best icewine cocktail, so amateur mixologists would do well to attend!

Niagara Icewine Festival

For a full weekend at the end of the month, on January 23-24, Niagara Falls will be transformed into a tribute to icewine. Outside you can dine on icewine marshmallows roasted over fire pits and revel in stunning ice sculptures commemorating the region. Then head inside where you can sample all types of wine, including the season’s favorite, and nibble on perfectly prepared foods.