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Third Annual Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine & Herb Festival  

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine & Herb Festival is back for a third year with even more activities for visitors to enjoy. During weekends in May, discover different aspects of wine and herbs through a Touring Passport at the 16 Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake, an Herb Fair in the Heritage District of the Old Town, herb seminars with well-known experts, herb-themed cooking classes and herb-themed menus at restaurants.

New this year is the Herb Fair on Saturday, May 21 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. A variety of herb exhibitors and vendors will be set up in tents in Market Square, located in the heart of the Queen Street Heritage District, right behind the Court House. Admission is free. Throughout the day, herb seminars will also be taking place at the Market Room of the Court House. Seminars are $20 each or a one-day pass for all four seminars is $60; order online at www.niagaraonthelake.com.

The always-popular Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine & Herb Touring Program kicks off on Saturday, May 7, and continues on weekends until Sunday, May 29. Each of the 16 wineries has selected an herb, featured it in a nibbler and matched it to a specific wine. Combinations include Quail, Chicken & Thyme Pâté matched with Cabernet Sauvignon at Konzelmann, Mint Eggplant Relish with Goat's Milk Cheese matched with Sauvignon Blanc at Niagara College Teaching Winery, and Chicken Liver Parfait with Apricot & Sage Preserve matched with Icewine at Peller. Passports cost $20 until April 30 and $25 during May, and can be used on all four weekends. Order online at www.niagaraonthelake.com, by calling 905-468-1950, or purchase at any of the participating wineries. Collect a complete set of the 16 recipe cards by visiting all the participating wineries during the month.

Canada's only winery cooking school, the Wine Country Cooking School at Strewn is offering herb-themed, hands-on cooking classes each weekend throughout the month. One-day "Herb Bouquet" classes take place Saturdays, May 7, 14 and 21, while a two-day "Celebration of Herbs Culinary Weekend" is scheduled May 28 and 29. Classes include the preparation of three-course meals using a variety of herbs, including Oregano, the 2005 Herb of the Year, and are matched with Strewn wines. For details, prices and availability check www.winecountrycooking.com.

Strewn winery is also offering a special Wine & Herb Matching seminar on Sunday, May 15 at 11:00 am that includes a number of herb-delicacies matched to different wines. Cost is $15 plus tax, reservations required (905-468-1229).

Stonechurch winery will be holding an herb market with fresh potted herbs on the weekends of May 7 & 8 and May 14 & 15. On the Saturdays, Chef Oscar Turchi of Savoia Hors D'Oeuvres will be conducting herb pesto demonstrations at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. Demonstrations are free; no reservations required.

Reif Estate Winery is hosting an Herbal Wine Cuisine Tasting and Seminar with Arlene Mills of Niagara Herb Farm on Sunday May 15 from 1:00–3:00 pm. A wine tasting, complemented by some of Arlene's dips and cheeses, will follow the seminar. Cost is $10, limited to 20 people, and reservations required (905-468-7738 or andrea.nelson@reifwinery.com).

On Saturday, May 28, Jackson-Triggs will be holding a unique epicurean experience: "Savour the Sights," a five-course herb-inspired dinner matched with award-winning VQA wines, served in picturesque locations throughout the winery. Cost is $135 per person plus taxes and gratuity.

Whether you're a wine enthusiast, a home gardener or simply someone who loves the flavor herbs impart to recipes of all kinds, The Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine & Herb Festival is for you!

 

 

 

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