The Niagara Wine Trail is welcoming the harvest with its annual Harvest Festival Sept. 25-27. Participants will be greeted with seasonal food and wine pairings at each of the 20 participating wineries.
The Harvest Festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $30 per person in advance (online at www.niagarawinetrail.org). Remaining tickets will be offered during the event for $35 per person. Sales tax is not included in the ticket price. Each event ticket includes the tasting of three wines at each of the participating wineries along with a food pairing and a commemorative tasting glass from the ticketholder's starting winery.
Some of the food and wine pairings guests can expect include, 810 Meadworks local apple/cider mead cocktail with a hearty garnish; Flight of Five Winery's "Towpath Pickin's" with an apple pear phyllo cup; Midnight Run Wine Cellars butternut squash chowder topped with croutons; and Spring Lake Winery's zucchini patties with Parmesan cheese. Niagara Landing Wine Cellars is expanding its offerings to include squash, apple, corn and pumpkin recipes: butternut squash and apple soup, shrimp and corn chowder, squash-filled ravioli and pumpkin praline cheesecake.
Additionally, for a $3 donation to Niagara Hospice, participants can indulge in the "Hot Pepper Fest," which includes samples of hot pepper-infused wine, jelly, salsa, cheese and popcorn.
Schulze Vineyards & Winery also is expanding its pairings in celebration of this year's harvest to include harvest pasta salad with gouda, arugula and peach vinaigrette from cream & Sugar Café in Lockport paired with Siegfried Reserve for the dry palate, Riesling for the semi-dry, and Thirty Mile Point Niagara for the sweet palate. Schulze will welcome D'Avolio Olive Oils from noon to 6 p.m. each day of the festival for tastings and sales, plus live music from Varuna from 2-5 p.m. Saturday.
Other food pairings include: The Winery at Marjim Manor's peach salsa paired with "Peach for the Stars" and "Thursday Afternoon at 3"; Vizcarra Vineyards at Becker Farms' homemade donut holes paired with spiced apple and "Apple Cranny" wines; Black Willow Winery's open-faced smoked chicken won-ton; Schwenk Wine Cellars' fresh broccoli salad prepared by Partyka Farms from Kendall; and more to be listed on the trail's event page.
Ticket prices do not include applicable sales tax or transportation. All groups traveling by bus or limo (regardless of participant size) are required to contact the wineries in advance of their tour day to schedule a visit. When planning your itinerary, organizers suggest allowing your group 25 to 30 minutes per winery to taste and purchase your favorite wines.
A valid photo ID with proof of age is required to participate in wine tasting. Have your ID ready upon arrival.
Designated drivers and non-drinker attendees are welcome at the wineries at no charge.