With cold weather comes the Ice Wine Festival, now in its 12th year. The festival is located in the Northeastern Ohio in the heart of the Grand River Valley Wine Region. The event will be held March 7, 14 and 21. 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. 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. The cost is $6 per person at each winery.
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 featuring local meats, cheeses and vegetables, ice carving, dog sledding, food demonstrations 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.
"This year is especially exciting for us here at Debonne Vineyards," says Tony Debevc, President. "Our 2013 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine garnered the top award at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition being recognized as the sweepstakes winner for "Best Dessert Wine". In addition, our winemaker, Ed Trebets, garnered the same award for "Best Dessert Wine Maker". The festival provides a great opportunity for patrons to taste this award winning ice wine and the award winning ice wines at the other wineries as well.
Art Pietrzyk, owner of St. Joseph Vineyards, looks forward to the festival every year, "The Ice Wine Festival is a great opportunity for people to get out in March after another long and cold winter." He adds, "Ice Wine is unique and can only be produced in areas such as ours. Imagine that, a benefit from the cold!" 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.
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.
Appetizer Menu and Events
DEBONNÉ VINEYARDS: APPETIZER: Butternut Squash Soup with Diced Pears Sled Dog Demonstration all day Live music Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Field to Fork Progressive Dinner – each Friday evening. Call 440-466-3485 or www.debonne.com for more information on the dinner.
FERRANTE WINERY & RISTORANTE APPETIZER: Chocolate Hazelnut Pursette. View our custom designed evergreen Ice Wine Queen. Live music Friday & Saturday evenings. Join us for our 3 course Wine Pairing Dinner. Available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday all three (3) Ice Wine Weekends! No Reservations Necessary. Visit FerranteWinery.com for our menu. SPECIAL CABERNET SAUVIGNON ICE WINE TASTING Enjoy this unique and rare Ice Wine paired with Chef’s appetizer. (small additional fee)
GRAND RIVER CELLARS WINERY & RESTAURANT APPETIZER: Blue Cheese & Bacon Mac & Cheese Featuring Ice Carving at 12 p.m; Delightful Soy Candles featuring Ice Wine Candles Ice Wine jelly samples and sales by Gathering Place; Ice Wine Marshmallow Roast All Day (small additional fee) Field to Fork Progressive Dinner – each Friday evening. Call 440-298-9838 or www.grandrivercellars.com for menu or more information on the dinner. Live music Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:30-10:30.
LAURELLO VINEYARDS APPETIZER: Silky Chocolate Mouse with a Savory Crunch Topping Featuring Beach Glass Jewelry by Rita Burns. Art show by Carolyn Mandato featuring European scenes.
ST. JOSEPH VINEYARDS APPETIZER: Apple Strudel with infused Ohio Maple Syrup Art Show Krzys Family Maple Syrup Demonstration