Sipping through the Niagara Icewine Festival


“You do not know what you are missing” is the only thing to say to anyone who has never tried icewine.  It’s a true Canadian delicacy!

So what exactly is this icewine we speak of?  No Silly, it’s not wine served with ice.  It’s wine made from grapes that were frozen while still on the vine.  The Niagara Region produces both red and white icewine. If you want to read up on icewine and then impress your friends & family with all your newly-acquired knowledge we recommend the Ice Wine 101 site.

We visited the Niagara Icewine Festival last weekend and wined & dined to our heart’s content.  Watch the video below to see all the fun we had!

The annual Niagara Icewine Festival is held in several places within the Niagara Region during the last 3 weekends in January.  The Festival was located along Queen St in Niagara-on-the-Lake during our visit on January 23, 2016.

Here’s our episode for the Let’s Discover ON webseries:

Getting There:

We chose to drive but we found 2 options for city slickers without a vehicle.

  • By Car – It’s a scenic 1.5 drive from Toronto along the QEW (assuming there’s no traffic of course).
  • Niagara Air Bus runs shuttle services that can be booked ahead of time.
  • Magnificent Tours  also has shuttle services & wine country packages.

For those driving, paid street parking is close by and plentiful.

Always have a designated driver if you wish to indulge, or you can stay at local hotel or B&B.


Entrance to the festival is FREE however tokens & a wine glass must be purchased prior to any tastings.

  • Wine glass – $5 & it also becomes a souvenir 🙂
  • Tokens – Prices start at $3/token however the more tokens you buy the cheaper they become.
  • Icewine samples – 2 tokens/tasting
  • Food samples – 1 token/tasting

For $40, you can get a ‘Discovery Pass’.  Visit up to 8 different wineries for more wine and food pairings.  More details on the festival website.  Obviously, the terms of the pass can vary from year to year.

Important things to keep in mind:

  • Dress appropriately – The festival is outdoors so multiple layers are recommended.  You can also seek relief from Old Man Winter by hopping into to one of the shops along Queen St.
  • Don’t drink & drive – Yes we all know its fun to day-drink however plan ahead & have a designated driver.
  • Be mindful of your bladder – We didn’t see any port-a-potties along Queen St however we spotted some public washrooms on Market St behind Balzac’s Cafe.
  • Pets are allowed but we recommend keeping them on a leash so that your precious pooch doesn’t get lost in the crowd.
  • Not the best event for kids, this is adult fun.

What you need to try:

  • Red icewine – Niagara wineries produce 95% of the world’s supply
  • The FOOD – Try Everything…Our personal faves were the pulled pork sliders,  thai lemongrass soup & dark chocolate truffles covered in chopped pistachios….yum 🙂

Here’s a quick checklist for your next visit:

Niagara Icewine Festival’s visitor’s checklist – Save this image to your phone.

As always, please visit the Niagara Icewine Festival’s official website to get the latest info before your visit.

Have any photos or videos you want to share? Send them over to @LetsDiscoverON.


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