|Photo by Anne Froehlich|
The festival includes five area wineries all within 10-minutes drive time. Patrons begin at the winery of their choice for this fun, progressive Ice Wine tasting all throughout the Grand River Valley wine region.
Participating wineries include Debonnè Vineyards, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Laurello Vineyards, and St. Joseph Vineyards.
Last year the festival was extended for three weekends, which turned out to be a great success. The wineries were much less crowded than in years past giving the customer better service.
“Each year this festival has grown in popularity due to the quality product that is being offered to the consumer,” says Nick Ferrante, from Ferrante Winery and chairman of the organization. “We are fortunate to be able to grow internationally award winning ice wines right here in Northeastern Ohio. Many of the ice wines consumers will taste have won Best of Show and Double Gold Medals from competitions all over the United States. Not only is it a great product but a very reasonable priced event for the quality of the product.”
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, ice carving, dog sledding, and several artisans. Most of these “extras” are free but some will cost the patron a little extra. 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.”
This year is a special celebration. “There was much concern regarding the ice wine harvest,” says Tony Debevc, president of Debonnè Vineyards. “With an unusual warm winter, there was fear that the grapes would rot on the vines before there was an opportunity to pick. But, a blizzard blew into the region, temperatures dropped and the picking crews were called in.” 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, reaching temperatures below 17 degrees, 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 winegrowers website for a places to stay the night. Many hotels and restaurants are able to give top-notch service because it is a slower time of year and they 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 then provide a sample of their wines, an ice wine glass, along with a complimentary appetizer. The event begins at noon and ends at 5:00 PM. 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 www.wggrv.com for a list of details and a map.
Appetizer and Event MenuDEBONNE’ VINEYARDS: Adams Reserve Sharp Cheddar served with Homemade Peach Jam & Crushed Walnuts. Featuring Ice Carving at 2 p.m. Sled Dog Demonstration. Ice Wine Martini Bar (small additional fee). Winter Glow Progressive Dinner- each Friday evening. Call (440) 466-3485 for more information on the dinner.
FERRANTE WINERY & RISTORANTE: Peach Vidal Mascarpone with Vanilla Crisp.
GRAND RIVER CELLARS WINERY & RESTAURANT: Homemade Warm Peach Cobbler. Featuring Ice Carving at 12 p.m. Ice Wine Marshmallow Roast All Day (small additional fee). Jelly Sales and Samples by Gatherings. Winter Glow Progressive Dinner- each Friday evening. Call (440) 298-9838 for more information.
LAURELLO VINEYARDS: Homemade Orange Cranberry Biscotti. Featuring Beach Glass Jewelry & Pottery.
ST. JOSEPH VINEYARDS: Golden Pound Cake with Warm Maple Syrup. Art Work featuring Jeff Suntala. Krzys Family Maple Syrup Demonstration.