Starting next Friday and lasting through Jan. 25, the Niagara region celebrates its prized product. The Niagara Ice Wine Festival includes winery visits, dinners, dessert parings and outdoor tastings. Throw in snowy wonderland scenery, and you've got a great getaway.
The festivities kick off Jan 16, with a gala that includes offerings from 30 wineries, regional cuisine and entertainment. It's held at the Fallsview Casino Resort, and runs $175 Canadian, about $150 US. Other festival packages including lodging, dinners and other special events.
Ice wine gets its name not from the serving temperature, but from the time the grape is harvested. By waiting until late in the season when the fruit freezes, vintners get a grape with much more sugar. But it's balanced by high acidity, which keeps the resulting wine from tasting like glorified grape juice.
Canada got into the ice wine business about 30 years ago. Niagara winery Inniskillin was one of the first to produce the sweet drink. Since then, others have jumped on the bandwagon. The best ice wines can be expensive — and profitable — selling for three to four times more than a typical bottle.
Once you have a sip, you won't complain.