Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Icewine Festival will make its triumphant return on Jan. 21, 2022.
Like so many popular winter activities, the Icewine Festival was cancelled in 2021 due to COVID-19.
But thanks to NOTL’s Chamber of Commerce, which also resurrected this Friday's Candlelight Stroll, the festival will be returning for two weekends at the end of January.
So get the new year started off right by attending the Sparkle and Ice gala in the old Court House on Queen Street. The event kicks off the Icewine Festival on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m.
It will be in the Grand Hall in the Court House and will feature local icewine makers serving up their favourite VQA wines with well-paired dishes created by some of NOTL’s master chefs.
Tickets can be purchased through the Chamber of Commerce for $95. A maximum of 170 tickets will be sold.
On Saturday, Jan. 22, prepare for the first day of the Icewine Village on Queen Street. The roadway will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring NOTL wineries and food from Signature Kitchens and other restaurants around town.
Queen Street will be adorned with tents, ice sculptures and wineries showcasing Canada's finest icewines. The village operates for the whole weekend, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. It will operate during the same hours on Jan. 29 and 30.
ID and proof of vaccination will be required to enter the Icewine Village.
This year restaurants in addition to those from the Signature Kitchen group will be participating in the festival.
“We’re going to have more local restaurants participating this year. That, I think, is a good thing and something that we have been pushing for,” chamber president Eduardo Lafforgue said.
At 8 p.m. on Jan. 23, the Icewine Cocktail Competition will be held in the village. This event offers winemakers the chance to present their most inspired icewine cocktails for the enjoyment of attendees and the judgment of panellists.
On Friday, Jan. 28, the progressive dinner returns. For $150, you can attend a reception in the Grand Hall of the Court House with appetizers before travelling in small groups to some of the best restaurants around NOTL.
Tickets can be purchased through the Chamber of Commerce and are limited to 120.
The progressive dinner will be a marvel of organization. Shuttles will take participants to a different restaurant in town for each course of their meal.
“All groups will have different culinary experiences. We will have the fish course in one place, the meat course in another place,” Lafforgue said.
“It is a wonderful night.”
After dinner, everyone gathers in the Icewine Village for a specially made dessert and the chance to clink their glasses together and raise a toast. There also will be fireworks.
More information on the festival can be found at www.niagaraonthelake.com.
Evan Saunders, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report