One-Tank Trip for Sept. 10-16
(c) By Jim Fox
Clink, clink – it’s time to sip and savour again at the Niagara Wine Festival.
Or, as comedian W.C. Fields said: “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”
There will be lots of opportunities to enjoy fine wine and food pairings – even sipping vino by itself – at the 65th annual festival on weekends now through Sept. 25.
|Sipping and savouring|
And, in St. George, near Brantford, they’ll be celebrating the apple harvest on Sept. 17 and 18.
Niagara’s event celebrates the “bounty of harvest,” with the Montebello Park food and wine experience “truly showcasing all that the region has to offer,” said Kimberly Hundertmark, festival executive director.
“Experience regional cuisine presented by top local chefs and sip and savour VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) wines while enjoying Canadian talent on the centre stage,” she added.
Raising a toast
The wine fest features more than 100 events including “cellar-door experiences,” concerts, regional food and street parades.
A focal point is historic Montebello Park at Lake and Queen streets in downtown St. Catharines for events on the weekends of Sept. 16 to 18 and 23 to 25.
Local chefs cook up regional cuisine to be enjoyed with wines by the sample or glass bought with festival tokens sold for $3.25 each (one to three tokens per portion for the food).
The park is the setting for featured events with 23 wineries taking part and bands and tribute artists. The lineup includes a blend of local and Canadian artists with a focus on New Country Sundays on both the 18th and 25th. ** See festival information sheet below **
Enjoying vino in Montebello Park at the Niagara fest.
There is free admission and parking is no charge on weekends and evenings in city garages and lots.
A popular offering at the fest is the Discovery Pass Experience each weekend for “enlightened wine, food and vineyard experiences.”
These self-guided passports offer eight wine and food experiences along the Niagara Wine Route.
|Grapes on the vine are ready for picking in Niagara-on-the-Lake. (Photo by Barbara Fox)|
The passes cost $40, with the vouchers valued at $10 each, redeemable at participating wineries. There’s also a (Designated) Driver’s Discovery Pass for $30 good for non-alcoholic drinks and food.
A fun event has area politicians rolling up their pant legs to slop around at the Mayors’ Invitational Grape Stomp on Sept. 17.
|Visitors participate in the harvesting of grapes in the Niagara Wine Region. (Jim Fox photo)|
The first of two parades is the Pied Piper on Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. at the park with a “home grown” theme, inviting participants to dress up as fruit and veggies, even doughnuts and zippers created locally.
Called “one of North America’s foremost street parades,” the Meridian Grande Parade happens on Sept. 24 at 11 a.m., attracting about 70,000 spectators on Lake Street downtown.
Also: niagarawinefestival.com; (905) 688-0212
Niagara Grape and Wine Information Sheet
Niagara Grape and Wine Information Sheet
RBC Awards and Opening Night: Friday, September 16th
Awards including Business Citizen, VQA Licensee and Winery with Heart
The Caverners will be moving from their traditional second Friday spot to opening Friday!
Fallsview Casino Resort Wine and Culinary Experience
23 wineries and 12 culinary partners
Winery partners will be pouring three standard wines
Educate Your Senses Wine and Cheese Seminars: Saturday, September 17 and 24, 2016
Winemakers will provide educational wine and cheese pairings presented by co –founder and editor of VINES Magazine Chris Waters on Saturday, Sept. 17 and Belinda Kemp, Oenologist from CCOVI on Saturday, Sept. 24
Saturdays 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 pm
Presented by CCOVI and The Cheese Cellar
Discovery Passes- September 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 2016
The Discovery Pass is your key to three weekends of wine and culinary experiences at 39 wineries across Niagara. Discovery Pass holders can enjoy eight (8) experiences per pass. Passes are $40.00 each plus HST.
The Harvest Lounge: September 16-18, 23-25, 2016
Front of the Line Gate Entry to Montebello Park gate access. Exactly what it says; skip the lines and enter the park through your own VIP gate with unlimited in and out use. Plus Harvest Lounge ticket holders enjoy VIP Lounge comfort during hours of operation.
Ultimate VIP Passes start at $10.00 per person and provide the commemorative glass, sheltered seating, upgraded washroom facilities, private token booth and bar within the lounge. Harvest Lounge Access for children accompanied by adults is available until 6pm daily. After 6pm the Harvest Lounge is a 19+ only venue.
Grape Growers of Ontario Meridian Celebrity Luncheon
Celebrity Speaker is Gerry Dee
Wednesday, September 14th, Club Roma
Mayors’ Invitational Grape Stomp
Saturday, September 17th 12:00pm
Pied Piper Parade
Show Us Your Homegrown Style theme
Saturday, September 17th • Registration at 10am • Parade at 11am
Starts at Queen& Lake Streets, St. Catharines
The 65th Annual Meridian Grande Parade
Featuring Stand and Show with Drumlines
Saturday September 24th- “Homegrown Niagara”
11am • Downtown St. Catharines
Join Meridian Credit Union as they host three Pre-Parade Shows that will kick off the 65th annual Meridian Grande Parade. The Pre-Show Fun Zones will take place in front of City Hall, the corner of Ontario and St. Paul Streets and Geneva Street prior to the beginning of the Grande Parade starting at 9:30am. Join Meridian and the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival for a unique Stand & Show performance, lots of activities and fun for children.
Lineup includes a blend of local and Canadian artists with a focus on New Country Sundays on both the 18th and 25th.
St. George is the place to take home varieties of this year’s crop of apples as well as cider, dumplings and pies during AppleFest, Sept. 17 and 18.
The town, between Brantford and Cambridge on Highway 5 (off Highway 24), is one of the province’s best apple-growing regions.
“At this time of year, our community ‘comes alive’ and hosts a fantastic festival highlighting apples, pies, crafts, artisans, live entertainment, kids’ rides and much more,” organizers say.
|Come and get them – fresh crop apples in St. George.|
All products offered for sale are locally produced, including jams and honey, fruit, produce and flowers.
There will be more than 120 vendors, including local artisans and main street shops, offering meals and food items, home decor, antiques and jewelry.
The Spirit Garden serves wine from Reif Estate Winery, paired with cheeses from Tipperary Bog of Brantford and beer, along with musical entertainment.
The garden is the location for a free street party on Sept. 17 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Energy+ Inc. (formerly Brant County Power) will be in Snowball Park talking about energy efficiency and electrical safety, along with "some goodies to give away to the kids."
Children's activities include a petting zoo, pony rides, fish pond, inflatable bouncy castle and playground.
Hours are Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sept. 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free admission and parking. stgeorgeapplefest.com; (519) 448-1344
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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