Are you researching the best Niagara wine festivals in 2020?
Our comprehensive guide to Niagara wine festivals features a detailed list of all of the annual festivals, special events and unique tasting pass programs in Ontario’s favourite wine region.
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Best Niagara Wine Festivals
The diverse selection of year-round Niagara wine festivals and events means there’s always a good excuse to enjoy a relaxing Ontario wine country getaway.
Niagara is Canada’s premiere wine growing region, stretching from Beamsville and Vineland in Twenty Valley to beyond St. Catherines into scenic Niagara on the Lake.
We encourage first time visitors to plan their visit around a popular Niagara wine festival. Visit during a special event like the Niagara Icewine Festival in the winter, or purchase a Taste the Season passport to enjoy a vineyard hopping adventure during the Fall.
Why book an Ontario wine country holiday during one of the Niagara wine festivals? The quaint town of Niagara on the Lake rolls out the red carpet to throw fun fêtes for adventurous oenophiles.
Plan the perfect Niagara wine festivals getaway by staying at a romantic boutique hotel, relaxing at a serene spa, sipping through local wineries and dining at award winning restaurants.
Niagara Wine Festivals Accommodation
Looking to enjoy a Niagara wine festivals getaway? We suggest spending 2-3 nights in Niagara on the Lake as it will give you enough time to enjoy the village’s historic main street, gourmet restaurants, and award-winning wineries. Old Town offers plenty of accommodation options, from luxury boutique hotels to historic bed and breakfasts.
We’ve included helpful links to the best hotel booking sites so you can compare prices and availability.
- Pillar & Post: Pillar & Post is a charming country inn offering guests luxurious suites, fine dining restaurant, gorgeous gardens and Niagara on the Lake’s largest spa.
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- 124 on Queen Hotel: this resort-style hotel sits perched over Niagara on the Lake’s main street. It offers unique villa suites as well as a boutique spa and award-winning restaurant.
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- Somerset Bed and Breakfast: is the only accommodation in Niagara on the Lake located on Lake Ontario. The properties 3 luxurious suites enjoy views of nearby Fort Niagara. Ranked as the best B&B in Niagara for a romantic getaway.
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- The Charles Hotel: is our favourite boutique hotel in Niagara on the Lake. The historic property offers antique adorned suites, fine dining restaurant and a popular verandah that sits perched over North America’s oldest golf course.
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Niagara Wine Festivals
Niagara Wine Festivals is Canada’s largest wine festival series. The popular festival hosts four annual events in Niagara to help showcase the region throughout the seasons.
The year launches with the Niagara Icewine Festival in January. Spring Sparkles Festival offers wine lovers an ideal getaway in the month of March. Niagara Homegrown Festival celebrates wine in warm weather every June. Niagara Grape & Wine Festival offers an homage to the annual grape harvest in September.
Niagara Icewine Festival
Looking for fun things to do during the winter in Niagara on the Lake?
Niagara Wine Festivals hosts the Niagara Icewine Festival each January to help kick off a new year of grape growing.
Dubbed “Canada’s coolest wine festival,” the Niagara Icewine Festival launches each year with a glitzy gala. Guests enjoy icewine tastings poured by 35 local producers, which are paired with a menu from top chefs at Niagara Casinos.
During the last three weekends in January visitors can purchase a Niagara Icewine Festival Discovery Pass. Each passport allows its holder to enjoy 8 wine and food pairings at participating Niagara wineries.
Looking to enjoy a magical moment at the Niagara Icewine Festival? The Snow Globe Soiree is a one-of-a-kind wine and dining experience in Niagara Falls. Enjoy award-winning Niagara wines paired with a three-course meal prepared by the region’s most celebrated chefs. Diners enjoy unforgettable views of Niagara Falls while feasting in a cozy snow globe.
Each year the Niagara Icewine Festival overlaps with the Niagara on the Lake Icewine Festival. Both run during the month of January, but the Niagara on the Lake Icewine Festival focuses on transforming historic Queen Street into an al fresco fête.
Scenic Queen Street is closed down to traffic and fills with live music, magicians and sparkling ice sculptures. You can purchase tickets to sip on icewine and feast on savoury snacks prepared by local restaurants.
Spring Sparkles Festival
Niagara Wine Festivals’ newest annual event is the Spring Sparkles Festival, designed to add some sparkle to the humdrum time of year that is March.
This is the Spring before the buds burst and before the sun shines…and nothing does that better than bubbles! Add in the fact that sparkling wine is Ontario’s fastest growing wine segment, there are lots of great reasons to celebrate!
Spring Sparkles Festival in Niagara is comprised of a Discovery Pass, Mystery Dining Series and Sparkling x Fried Chicken Showdown. Be sure to add a bit of mystery to your Niagara dining experience with a 5-course menu paired with sparkling wines by one of the region’s best chefs. 24 hours before a guests reservation the mystery will be revealed!
Niagara Homegrown Festival
Each June the Homegrown Wine Festival celebrates growers, winemakers and chefs from Canada’s largest wine region.
Visitors can enjoy the popular TD Wealth Tailgate Party, RBC Brunch in the Vineyard, and two weekends of Discovery Pass pairings.
Keen to book one of the best Niagara on the Lake wine tours? Leave the trip planning to local experts and enjoy an unforgettable adventure in Ontario wine country!
- Niagara on the Lake Winery Tour: enjoy a private tasting tour of Niagara wine region featuring tastings and lunch in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake.
- Niagara on the Lake Wine Tour and Icewine Lounge: this 6 hour tour visits a local chocolate factory, award-winning wineries and special stop to Peller Estates 10 Below Icewine Lounge.
- Niagara Wine, Cider and Brewery Tour: this 5 hour tour showcases Niagara’s best liquids in style. Travel in a Mercedes Benz to sample local wine, cider and craft beer.
- Niagara on the Lake Foodie Tour: this 3 hour small group tour showcases Niagara’s multicultural culinary flare.
- Private Wine and Chocolate Tour: this private tour accommodates up to 6 people and stops at 9 Niagara on the Lake wineries and a chocolate factory.
- Niagara on the Lake English Cab Tour: this 6 hour Niagara on the Lake wine tour is offered in an authentic black British taxi. Perfect option for a romantic couple, this private tour includes wine tastings and fine dining dinner.
- Indoor Baby Goat Yoga and Cider Tasting: for a truly quirky experience, Small Talk Vineyards offers goat yoga followed by a cider tasting.
- Niagara Falls Day Tour: this Niagara Falls day tour features a cruise, lunch and “journey behind the falls.”
- Niagara Falls Helicopter Tour: enjoy an unforgettable flight over Niagara Falls by helicopter.
Niagara Grape & Wine Festival
Canada’s largest wine festival happens every September across the entire Niagara region.
Celebrate harvest season with 100+ wines, 50 hours of live music, and 3 VIP lounges at Montebello Park in St. Catherines. Or, you can choose your own wine adventure with a wine festival Discovery Pass at over 30 participating wineries.
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Wineries of Niagara on the Lake Signature Events
Each year the Wineries of Niagara on the Lake host four signature events in February, April, May and November.
The organization represents a consortium of Niagara on the Lake wineries who offer thematic wine and food pairings that guests can enjoy.
Wine passports are valid during the duration of each festival, so you can come back and enjoy a few wineries every weekend rather than trying to fit them all in one day.
Days of Wine & Chocolate
Each February, Wineries of Niagara on the Lake celebrates Valentine’s Day with its annual Days of Wine and Chocolate. Guests experience the sweet and savoury art of wine and chocolate pairing. You’ll have an opportunity to visit and taste over 20 VQA wines paired with chocolate-infused dishes.
Chocolate pairings from the past include Cocoa and Buckwheat Blini with Duck Confit, Passion Fruit Tart with White Chocolate and Ravioli Filled with White Chocolate and Parsnip in a Brown Butter Truffle Sauce.
Dig Our Roots
Each April, Dig Our Roots offers a celebration of the Niagara on the Lake appellation. Each Spring local wineries open their doors to offer unique food and wine experiences.
Past experiences include Make Your Own Meritage at Palatine Hills, Brunch & Bubbly at Konzelmann and a 5-course Savour the Sights Dinner at Jackson Triggs.
Sip & Sizzle
Each May, Wineries of Niagara on the Lake celebrate the start of barbecue season with Sip & Sizzle. Each weekend wineries pair one of their signature wines with a unique grilled food item. It’s a perfect way to get recipe inspirations before summer grilling season starts!
BBQ and wine pairings from the past include Rainbow Trout with Fennel and Herb Slaw, Prime Rib Slider and Meritage Onions, Lamb Merguez with Feta Spanakopita and Grilled Pineapple with Shrimp Poke.
Taste the Season
Of all the Niagara wine festivals, Taste the Season is our favourite way to celebrate the grape harvest in Ontario wine country.
Wine passport holders enjoy VQA wines paired with holiday-inspired food pairings. Pairing highlights from the past include Beef Brisket Pho, Mortadella and Mozzarella on Italian Baguette and Dark Chocolate Drizzled Pumpkin Spice Waffle.
Twenty Valley Winery Events
Niagara’s Twenty Valley comprises of Beamsville, Vineland, and Jordan in the Town of Lincoln and extends from Grimsby to St. Catharines.
The local tourism board hosts annual wine events to promote visitation to the wineries along the Niagara Escarpment.
Each January the wineries of Twenty Valley host Winter WineFest in scenic Jordan Village. Access to the outdoor street festival is complimentary and features cozy fire pits and live entertainment. Tokens can be purchased onsite for those looking to sample wine and food.
Winter WineFest in Twenty Valley also includes an annual barrel rolling competition, ice cellar dance parties at Cave Springs and an Ultimate Twenty Valley Showcase Dinner and Brunch.
Get Fresh in the Valley
Each April, Twenty Valley hosts a vineyard hopping Niagara wine festival featuring 20 local wineries.
Get Fresh in the Valley does a great job at showcasing new vintages and aromatic wines paired with fresh Spring flavours. Guests have an opportunity to meet winemakers and sample fantastic food pairings offered by local chefs.
If everyone in your group is keen to sip and sample we suggest booking tickets for the Magic Winery Bus. The classic British double-decker offers a hop-on and hop-off excursion that travels in a loop to Twenty Valleys best wineries. Expect to spend around an hour at each winery.
Fresh food pairings from the past include Brie & Pear Panini, Pickled Shrimp Tacos, Creamy Corn Gazpacho and Kimchi Poutine.
Wrapped Up in the Valley
Each November Twenty Valley welcomes wine lovers to celebrate the harvest season. The wine passport program runs for 3 weekends and features VQA wines paired with culinary treats.
Visitors go home with an exclusive digital recipe book that will help inspire upcoming holiday dinner party menus. The digital cookbook is sent as a PDF via email once you’ve purchased your tickets. It includes 20 recipes perfect for Christmas and New Years entertaining.
Wrapped Up in the Valley recipes from the past include Moroccan Chicken Canapé, Blue Cheese Cheesecake with Fruit Compote, Wild Mushroom Tartlet with Goat Cheese and Truffle Caramel and Turkey Empanadas with Mango Chutney.
Graze the Bench and Love the Bench
The Beamsville Bench Wineries Association hosts two Niagara wine festivals each year in February and June.
Love the Bench takes place during three weekends in February. Visitors can enjoy unique food and wine experiences at Hidden Bench Estate Winery (Fireside Raclette), Fielding Estate Winery (Oysters and Bubbly), Thirty Bench Wine Makers (4 wines and 3 small plates), Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery (Comfort & Cozy Cuisine), Angel’s Gate Winery (Carrot Ginger Soup and Riesling) and Rosewood Winery and Meadery (Wine, Cheese and Honey).
Graze the Bench takes place during one weekend in June. The festival celebrates summer’s arrival on the Beamsville Bench. Visitors have the opportunity to sip new vintages, sample food pairings and enjoy live music and spectacular vineyard views. Listen to live jazz from the comfort of a Graze Zone Muskoka chair or dance with friends on an impromptu crush pad dance floor. This is how wine-loving Canadians get excited for summer!
International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration
Of all the Niagara wine festivals our favourite in the warmer months is the prestigious International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (also known as i4C).
During a weekend in July the annual Niagara wine festival honours the coolest Chardonnays on the planet. Since the inaugural event in 2011, over 226 wineries from 38 cool climate wine regions and over 16,000 consumers have come to Niagara to celebrate the Chardonnay grape.
The best way to experience i4C is by booking a weekend getaway as the festival offers unique events over three sunny days. Highlights from the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration in Niagara include Viticultural and Winemaking Sessions, Industry Networking Sessions, Flights of Chardonnay, Cool Chardonnay World Tour Tasting and Moveable Feast Brunch.
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