With cold weather comes the Ice Wine Festival, now in its 13th year. The festival is located in the Northeastern Ohio in the heart of the Grand River Valley Wine Region. Five area wineries come together to celebrate this golden nectar otherwise known as ice wine that can only be made in certain parts of the world. Not only is this wine unique but Grand River Valley ice wines have garnered top awards in international wine competitions.
The festival consists of 5 area wineries all within a 10-minute drive of each other. Patrons begin at the winery of their choice for this fun, progressive Ice Wine tasting throughout the Grand River Valley wine region. Participating wineries include Debonné Vineyards, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Laurello Vineyards, and St. Joseph Vineyards. Making this event a progressive tasting is one of the reasons the event is such a draw. Patrons will have a unique experience at every winery and will be able to see different sights around the area. Many wineries have added “extras” for people to enjoy. Some of the extras include special wine dinners the night before or the evening of the festival, ice carving, dog sledding, and several artisans. Most of these “extras” are free but some will cost the patron a small additional charge. In addition, many of the winemakers will be on hand for people to talk to and other wines will be available for people to taste.
The festival is also an opportunity for the participating wineries to pair up with other agricultural entities to highlight their commodities. St. Joseph Vineyards is a prime example of that. “Each year we invite the Krzls Family to demonstrate the maple syrup process and we always incorporate it with our featured appetite for the event,” says Doreen Pietryk, owner of St. Joseph Vineyards. “March is also maple syrup month so it just makes sense that we work together.”
The wines featured at the Ice Wine Festival are ‘true’ ice wines. The grapes are left on the vines at the end of the traditional harvest season and await Mother Nature to shift seasons from fall to winter. Once the grapes are truly frozen, and the temperature reaches 17 degrees or less, the grapes are picked and pressed immediately before they have a chance to thaw.
Out of town guests will be sure to want to check the local visitor’s bureau websites for places to stay the night. Since the Ice Wine Festival is in March, many of our hotels and restaurants are able to give top-notch service because it is a slower time of year and are able to offer wonderful amenities and are much less crowded.
Participants will need to determine a starting point at one of the participating wineries in the Grand River Valley. Each winery will provide a sample of their wines, an ice wine glass, and a complimentary appetizer. The event begins at noon and ends at 5 p.m, March 4th, 11th, & 18th . The cost is $6 per person at each winery. In an effort to help the local food banks, the wineries are encouraging everyone to bring in canned food items for which they will receive $1 off at each location. For more information about the Ice Wine Festival call 440-466-3485 or visit www.wggrv.com for a list of details.