Gourmet Travel - Niagara Ice Wine Festival Canada - Southern Ontario Ice Wine Tours

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Niagara Ice Wine Festival

by Wade Rowland - Part 2

Ontario ice wine - Niagara Ice Wine Festival outdoor ice bars
Niagara Ice Wine Festival
Outdoor Ice Wine Bars
Photo © Christine Collie

On Saturday, with our Icewine Touring Passports in hand, we bundled up and headed off to Niagara-on-the-Lakes's main street, Queen Street, for the Niagara Icewine Festival outdoor ice bar festivities and ice wine samplings. A portion of Queen Street had been closed to traffic for the outdoor Icewine Cafe with its ice bars carved from massive blocks of ice and embellished with scenes of Canadian life. More than 20 Niagara wineries were on hand with samples of their vineyard's ice wine.

Between ice wine samplings we popped in and out of boutiques to warm up from time to time, finally sitting down for a light lunch - and warm-up - at the casual diner, Roasters at 65 Queen Street.

Niagara Ice Wine Festival outdoor ice bar from carved ice
Niagara Ice Wine Festival
Outdoor Ice Wine Bar
Photo © Christine Collie

Through it all, ice sculptors were busy with their chain saws and hair dryers and other odd implements of their craft as they geared up for the next day's ice sculpture competition, and in an entertainment tent a group of musicians were gamely working through their set with surprisingly good results, considering that they were playing with gloves on. We met a couple of Japanese school girls, first-time visitors, who found it all quite wonderful.

The Niagara Ice Wine Festival, now in it's 10th year, attracts ice wine affectionados from Canada, USA and abroad for Ontario's acclaimed Icewine. Icewine Touring Passports sell for $20. Cdn. and give access to seminars, complimentary admission into most of the events during the 10-day Icewine festival, plus free ice wine tastings at many of the participating wineries. Passports can be purchased in advance through 905-688-0212.

Then we were off in our trusty Subaru to visit some of the 33 wineries listed on our weekend passport as offering special icewine-themed events.

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