Twenty Valley’s Winter WineFest

The Niagara Icewine Festival is well under way. And there was no better way to kick it off, than with Twenty Valley’s Winter WineFest.

I’ll tell you exactly why this event was so great. First, there was lots of delicious food. Then there was lots of delicious wine. Then there were fun events happening  – like the barrel rolling. Add in good music, a fun-loving crowd, and pretty good weather and you have the makings of a really good time.

Which I certainly had.

Before we launch into the blog post, I just have to say the event organizers and volunteers should get big kudos for this event. It was so well organized. When you host an outdoor event in January, you never know what Mother Nature might throw your way. I was there on Saturday – which was sunny but quite chilly – and there were lots of spots to warm up. There was plentiful seating, and tables for propping up your food and drinks. The shuttles came constantly, so there was no standing in the cold wind forever waiting to be shuttled to the Main street in Jordan. Our shuttle driver – who we had both coming and going – was very cheerful. The volunteers I bumped into were helpful and cheerful too. Really, they deserve huge congratulations on a good event. I hope they celebrated their success well.

I’m looking forward to next year, as I’m definitely going to get to more of the great stuff they have happening. This year Chef Lynn Crawford hosted a special Sweet Sparkling Sensational Dinner, and a special Icewine brunch. I really wish I had been able to get to the Cave Spring Cellar Speakeasy that was held on Friday night too.

So let’s all plan ahead. The dates for next year are January 13th to 15th, 2017, and it’s already down in my calendar. You should mark it in yours too.

We’ll get into the pictures from the fun on Saturday, shall we? There are lots of them. This is one of those posts where I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking. Well, I’ll try.

The sun was peeking through, and there was a festive buzz going on in the crowd when we arrived.

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I took a look at what all the food and wine tents were offering, but I made a beeline for Back 10 Cellars. I still haven’t been there, and I wanted to sample some of their wine.

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I was really tempted to try their Start from Scratch Chardonnay, as it sounds divine. I knew I would probably be drinking red for the rest of the afternoon, so thought I should start as I meant to go on.

So I saved the Chardonnay for my visit to the winery. Which will be soon.

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Instead, I had the yummy Big Leap Cabernet Franc. Cab Franc can be temperamental for me – sometimes I like it, sometimes not. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the Big Leap. As you can see in this picture.

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Next, we made our way over to get a place for the Barrel Rolling Competition. We wanted to make sure we got a good spot, all for the sake of good blog pictures. Food would have to be sacrificed for the time being.

Representatives from several wineries were there, all ready to roll those barrels and take home the prize. There was a prize for the top male and female.

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But I have never noticed this character working at a winery. Have you?

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The force was with us that day.

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It was time to begin, with Sue-Ann Staff leading the way.

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The participants rolled the barrels through the course, dodging some photographers as they went. I think that requires extra skill.

But then.

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I didn’t think the photographers would want to mess with Darth Vader.

But underneath that mask, it would seem Princess Leia was there. No one should mess with Princess Leia either.

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Then it was time for the top three men and women to roll again.

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Extra points for avoiding the photographer.

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Two winners were finally declared. Dan from Malivoire, and Jessica from Vineland Estates.

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After watching all this physical effort, I needed some sustenance. Oh boy, I loved this.

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A Mac & Cheese hot dog. Oh yes. Food snobs, don’t knock it till you try it. It was yummy.

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We listened to the music, and did a bit more people-watching.

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By this point, we were getting a bit chilly. As you can see by these goofy windblown shots of me.

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So we took a break by a warming station to thaw out a bit. My poor sweetie-pie photographer had very numb hands. He kept buying coffees just to keep his hands warm. We’re going to invest in some serious photographer gloves for him. Whatever those are.

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Then I sampled a bit more wine, finishing off with one of my favourites – Megalomaniac‘s Big Mouth Merlot. Matched with these scrumptious meatball sliders.

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Such a fun afternoon, I wish I could have stayed longer. Good thing I have next year to look forward to.

This week the festivities continue in Niagara-on-the-Lake, with the Icewine Village. There’s also the Icewine Cocktail Competition, and lots of Discovery Pass sampling to be done.

I don’t ever recall liking January, but I’m sure liking it a lot more now.