Niagara Wine Festival – Winery Tours And Wine Tastings Are Awaiting!

Holidays in Niagara, Ontario most often bring to mind images of serene, breathtaking views of Niagara Falls. However, there’s much more to the area than this as the plethora of year-round activities on offer in the Niagara region proves. As well as a variety of natural wildlife and marine life to see, Niagara also offers visitors thrilling nightlife, an active theatrical scene and a number of historical and sporting attractions.

Among the most popular annual festivals held in Niagara Falls is the Niagara Wine Festival. Held every year in September, the Niagara Wine Festival hosts more than 100 events, including winery tours and wine tastings, as well as concerts, artisan exhibits, wine seminars and the opportunity to sample local Niagara cuisine.


Two Spin-Off Festivals

One of North America’s and probably most celebrated wine festivals around the world, the Niagara Wine Festival began in 1952 and today hosts two spin-off festivals from the original: the Niagara Icewine Festival, held each January, and the Niagara New Vintage Festival, which occurs annually in June.


IceWine Festival

Ice wine is the sweetest dessert wine made by frozen grapes in the vineyard. As the climate conditions in Canada is the best for this it has become the largest exporter of these sweet ice wines. Visiting the Niagara apart from the Falls would be for the Niagara Wine Festival. For ten days Niagara becomes a wonderland of wines with more than 30 wineries participating and attraction tourist to taste their wine. The Niagara Ice wine Festival constitute of romantic evenings, chestnut roasting, ice bars, frozen art exhibits and exotic winter tours along the Niagara’s famed vineyards.

That said, wine tours are huge part of the Icewine festival and have long been popular in the realm of unique vacations; for anyone who’d like to take the novelty of such a getaway to a whole new level, Canada’s Niagara region – and its famous Icewineries – await.

One of the most intriguing aspects of a wine tour is learning the history behind a type of wine, a winery or a region that yields the wine – none of which are an exception when it comes to Icewines. The discovery of Icewine in 1794 was accidental when, out of necessity, winemakers in Germany pressed frozen grapes – the resulting juice of which was found to have an unusually high concentration of sugar. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s, however, that the winery intentionally began to produce Icewine for distribution.

The production of Icewine did not extend to Canada until 1973, after which time the venture proved to be a huge success. Today, Canada – and particularly, Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula region – is the largest producer of Icewine, a product that’s often referred to as “liquid gold”. That’s because the juice from Icewine grapes composes about one-fifth the amount that would be extracted from unfrozen grapes. For instance, if the grapes of an unfrozen vine produced a bottle of wine, the grapes of a frozen vine would produce just one glass of Icewine.

The Icewine harvest begins in the winter months – typically, in December – once temperatures drop below -10 to -13 degrees Celsius and grapes have frozen on the vines. Natural freezing concentrates the sugars, acids and extracts, thus intensifying the flavors of the juice; then, as the frozen grapes are pressed, the highly concentrated, sweet juice is extracted. The natural water portion, however, remains in the grape skins as ice crystals. The juice is then fermented very slowly over the course of several months to produce Icewine. Typical grapes used for ice wine production include: Riesling Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc and the red grape Cabarnet Franc.

The Niagara region hosts an ice wine festival every January to celebrate the fruit of each year’s harvest. Locals and tourists alike can indulge in ice bars, frozen art exhibits and tours through Niagara’s famous wine routes – alongside, of course, a taste of some of the region’s most exquisite Icewines.

If you’re considering taking an Icewine tasting tour in the Niagara region this winter, rest assured that there are plenty of fantastic options for accommodation in Niagara Falls. The Doubletree Resort Lodge & Spa Fallsview, Niagara Falls, for example, features an award-winning VQA wine list, including Icewine by the glass or bottle at Buchanans Chophouse. So you can get started on the wine tasting before you even hit the festival or your tour!

By touring Niagara’s Ice wineries, you’ll learn about the unique processes involved in making Icewines, as well as have the opportunity to try some of the most exceptional wines in the world. So what are you waiting for? Take the novelty of a wine-tasting tour to a whole new level – experience the Niagara region’s famous Icewines.


Niagara New Vintage Festival

The New Vintage Festival is a time of growth and rebirth among Niagara’s 14,800 acres of lush vineyards – a testament to the rich soil and unique climate of the region.

Experience the beginning of a new season in the vineyard as we celebrate the efforts from vineyard to farm and winemaker to chef. This years party to be held in Niagara on the Lake.

What better time than the beginning of summer to enjoy our local bounty?


Moreover, the Niagara wine festival has twice been named Ontario’s Cultural Event of the year and has been hailed as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bar Association (ABA), so is a permanent fixture on the calendars of wine lovers across the continent.

The main celebrations of the Niagara Wine Festival take place in Montebello Park in St Catharine’s. Here, Niagara Wine Festival attendees can enjoy the finest wines, indulge in the well-known regional food and take delight in the festival’s opportunities for merry-making and revelry that are virtually unparalleled anywhere in Canada in the Fall. If you’re planning to visit the Niagara Wine Festival this year, you’ll be able to keep up to date on the festival’s website, which offers videos and podcasts for download.


Quick Overview Of The Niagara On The Lake Wineries

With over 60 amazing Niagara wineries and scenic countryside, Niagara on the Lake wineries, 21 of them and 15 000 acres of land they cover, are probably the finest and most visited ones. And they were the first one to open their door for tourist visits and wine tours.

NOTL as the “prettiest town in Ontario” is a home to numerous Inns, popular bed and breakfasts, historic sites and attractions, world known Shaw Festival and many wineries in its neighborhood.
Top wineries that are presented here are famous for the quality of their wines and premium grapes they produce. They earned countless prestige awards on various world exhibitions.

Wineries in Niagara on the Lake town are only 30 min drive from mighty Falls, and many can be seen when driving along Niagara parkway. Thousands of acres under vine and orchards can be seen during the ride, and scores of lovely spots and remarkable mansions.

Top Niagara on the Lake wineries are visited by thousands of visitors annually, attracted by their beauty, picturesque countryside, old and antique wine cellars, state-of-the-art facilities, wine festivals, events and numerous available wine tours and seminars.

Niagara on the Lake Wineries are bordered by Welland Canal, Escarpment, Niagara River and Lake Ontario and grouped within two areas: one below the the Escarpment and the other group surrounds NOTL town.

NOTL wineries with its available tours like Trolley Wine tours, World Wine Tours, Crush on Niagara; is a great alternative to overcrowded city of Falls.

These wineries are easily accessible by car or by bicycle and they are relatively close to each other. Every single winery with its unique personality offers extraordinary experience and many memorable moments.

Top ten Niagara on the Lake wineries are:

Frogpond Farm – producer of certified organic wine.

Hillebrand Estates Winery is one of the larger and top wineries in NOTL and Ontario.

Inniskillin Winery offers a free self-guided tour with a several stations and marked tour path.

Jackson-Triggs Winery is modern in design with a state-of-the-art technology.

Peller Estate is one of the newest Niagara on the Lake wineries, within walking distance form NOTL.

Pillitery Estate Winery is the world’s largest estate producer of Ice wine.

Reif Estate Winery – 25 years in wine making business and producer of world class wine.

Joseph’s Estate, they are producing specialty and fruit wines.

Chateau des Charmes a winery that offers a taste of France.

Stratus winery is a leader in sustainable production.

Many of these wineries are producing an award winning wine, a Jewel and dessert wine called “Icewine”. Icewine is among the top North American wines made from naturally frozen grapes, handpicked and immediately pressed.


At this point, you already know that the best time to enjoy the Niagara wine is during the festival. That said, the Niagara Wine Festival is said to attract over 500, 000 visitors – so booking your hotel in Niagara early is essential if you’re counting on having a comfortable place to stay. In fact, the Grande Parade in itself is expected to attract around 150, 000 visitors this year, so even if you’re only planning to attend this main event, booking ahead is crucial.

And if you’re driving to Niagara from the United States, new regulations mean that you won’t have to show your passport when you cross the border into Canada or when you return to the USA, although visitors travelling by air will still be required to carry these documents. Getting to Canada has never been easier – so there’s really no reason not to visit the Niagara Wine Festival this year.


Questions Other People Heading To Niagara Wine Festival Have Asked:


1. What is some general Niagara on the Lake information? Where is it and how big is it?

Niagara on the Lake is located in Southern Ontario Canada on the Niagara River beside the United States. The closest border crossing is located in Niagara Falls which is about 20 minutes up the river from Niagara on the Lake. Niagara on the Lake has a population of just 14,000 but sees 10 times that number in tourists a season.

2. What are the most exciting attractions to see while I am there?

Niagara on the Lake has a variety of great attractions that can make for a relaxing day or afternoon in the town. There is the Shaw Festival, which puts on afternoon and evening theater productions. There are kilometers of scenic walking and bicycling paths that wind their way through historic Niagara, and all the way up the Niagara River. The main street in town is filled with many boutique shops that can make for a pleasant afternoon walk. There are many things to do, these are just some of the most popular activities.

3. You mentioned dinning, what choices are there in Niagara on the Lake.

For a small town, it has a large variety of restaurant and dinning options. It depends on tastes and appetites but some options include wineries, grills, 4 star fine dinning, and pubs. There are a lot, and your best bet is to just walk around and find one that looks interesting for you.

4. Niagara is Wine Country, what is the best way to explore it?

In the immediate region surrounding Niagara on the Lake there are over 20 vineyards which gives you a great variety of sites to visit. You can take a guided or self guided bicycle tour of the wineries. There are also guided trolley bus tours that will show you the town and shuttle you around to the wineries for tours and tastings.

Enjoy Niagara wine festival this year, great opportunity to enjoy wonders after wonders!

Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!