Grand River Valley Ice Wine Festival Celebrates Its 12th Year

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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. Five area wineries come together on March 7, 14 and 21 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 also garnered top awards in international wine competitions.

The festival features 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.

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. on March 7th, 14th and 21st. 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.

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 sites 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 stating; “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 surely 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. At that time, they are able to offer wonderful amenities and are much less crowded.

For more information about the Ice Wine Festival call 440-466-3485 or visit www.wggrv.com for a list of details.

Gabe Arnold
Author: Gabe Arnold