In 2014 the 63rd Niagara Wine Festival fills September with a celebration of local culinary delicacies and the latest vintages from the Ontario wine country. As a harvest festival and a celebration of fine dining, the Niagara festival is a long and beloved tradition – the oldest continuously running festival in Canada.
Wine in the Niagara Region
The major epicentre for many of the festival’s events is St Catharines, sitting on the cusp of the Ontario vine lands and the viticultural ranges of the Niagara Peninsula – the source of two thirds of Canada’s grape production and site of some of its most prestigious wineries. But the festivities reach across the region, and the publicised wine tours reach from Virgil in the east to Winona in the west. The Niagara wineries alone receive a total of 1.9 million visitors throughout the year, and many of those travelling foodies and wine buffs congregate at St Catharines’ historic Montebello Park during mid-late September. The park comes alive with rock, soul and jazz music playing while families enjoy the full festival vibe, with wineries and local produce manufacturers setting up stalls for tastings.
Montebello Park in St. Catharines
The festival isn’t quite limited to copious amounts of eating and drinking either. Aside from the gourmet food, over a hundred individual events play out at Montebello Park and across St Catharines and Niagara – live music, seminars, behind-the-scenes lunches at winery restaurants, a grape stomping competition and much more. The adults can enjoy the culinary treats while the kids have the inflatable games at ‘Grapeland’ to keep them entertained.
Meridian Grande Parade
At the peak of the festival’s closing activities is the Meridian Grande Parade – one of the biggest of its kind in North America. This year the celebration continues marking the bicentennial years of the War of 1812, in its ‘200 years of peace’ themed procession of marching bands, floats, local community group marches and travelling performances. The parade expects upwards of 100 000 spectators cheering along the streets of downtown St Catharines every year. As an ostentatious end to the harvest festival, as well as a rallying point for local charities and the Niagara populace, the parade is indicative of the celebratory spirit that pervades the Wine Festival.
Niagara Falls wineries and events take place year round. Stay at the 4-star,World Class Marriott on the Falls Niagara Falls Hotel during your wine based vacation.