By F.G. Couch © 2014
This year's Winter WineFest was held on January 11 th & 12 th on Main Street in Jordan Village. If the weather was any indication, this could have been called the “Spring” WineFest. The temperature on the first day reached a high of 9C with occasional rain. However, this didn't dampen the spirits of all those who attended this very enjoyable event. Over 25 wineries participated this year as well as Dillon's Small Batch Distillers, Oast House Brewers and Steam Whistle Brewing. Visitors could sample over 80 varieties of red, white, sparkling and Icewine as well as beer and spirits.
The WineFest village was set up with a main tasting tent, an entertainment stage, a tent for culinary demonstrations and fire pits. The street was lined with food trucks including Hank Daddy's BBQ, Pappas Greek on Wheels, El Gastronomo Vagabundo, Smoke's Poutinerie, and the Portobello Burger.
The wine and other food vendors were in the main tasting tent. Some of the fine food establishments included Events Catering, On the Twenty Restaurant, Peninsula Lakes Golf Club, the Restaurant at VinelandEstates, the Twisted Potato, Tide and Vine Oyster Company, the Smokin Buddha and Wellington Court Restaurant. An example of some of the food being served included East Coast seafood chowder, fresh oysters, Shiraz-braised lamb and root vegetable cassolute, Thai pulled pork pockets and sticky toffee pudding ice cream. You could then choose a matching wine from a wide assortment of dry red and white wines all the way to some of Niagara's finest Icewines.
Fried chicken, Icewine pickled cabbage, and aioli on a rye bun
On the Twenty Restaurant served Icewine butter tarts
Winery staff enjoying Winter WineFest
(Peninsula Ridge, Megalomaniac Wines, Vieni Estates, Kacaba Vineyards)
The Oast House Brewers had a tent set up outside of Zooma Zooma Resto and Wine Bar. S ugar shack stew, maple and double smoked bacon donuts and fine Oast House beers were being served
Besides the food and wine, there was plenty of events going on throughout the day and evening. On the main stage, there was continuous entertainment including groups such as “Treble Charger”, “Hollerado”, “illScarlett” and “The Believers”. Celebrity chefs, Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles put on cooking demonstrations and a black box challenge in the culinary tent. Local fashion stores put on a “Vogue in the Valley” fashion show on Saturday and Sunday. Some of the models
included winemakers, volunteers from the Heritage Gift Shop, Mary Hodgson, the wife of Lincoln's Mayor and other personalities.
Winemakers, Lydia Tomek and Sue-Ann Staff on the runway
A highlight of the Winter WineFest is the barrel rolling competition. Winemakers roll out the barrel to win the coveted “Golden Boots” award or the “D ouble Bottle” trophy for the female with the fastest time. This year's winner of the Golden Boots was Dan Stouck and Lydia Tomek took home the Double Bottle trophy.
Winemaker, Dan Stouck, in the barrel rolling competition
For the visitors who were brave enough, Jacuzzi hot tubs were set up so you could sip and dip. A bar was set up so you could purchase your favourite beverage and take a dip. Bathing suits, a fully heated trailer with change rooms and lockers were provided courtesy of Jacuzzi.
If you wanted to party on into the night, Steam Whistle Brewing threw an after party. This was held in the barrel cellar of historic Cave Spring Cellars. It featured music, cocktails by Dillon's Small Batch Distillers, wine by Cave Spring and beer by Steam Whistle.
The Twenty Valley Winter WineFest sure lived up to its slogan – “Sweet, Sparkling Sensational!”
For information on next year's WineFest and other events in the Twenty Valley be sure to check out their website at http://www.20valley.ca/ .
Photos by © F.G. Couch