Wine lovers take note! i4C, the sixth annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration returns July 22nd to 24th to the Niagara region.
Chardonnay, one of the most widely cultivated varietals in Ontario, is deserving of a renaissance. The grape is both resilient and refined. It can be steely or floral, complex or focused, and according to the winemakers behind i4C, it expresses terroir better than any other grape we grow. In short, it can create some seriously beautiful, magical wines.
This year has the festival expanding bigger than ever. Weekend packages and signature event series are the hot ticket items, but there are also a dozen smaller, intimate events being hosted at local wineries.What’s more, this year we’re not just celebrating chardonnay, but also some of the other cool characters in cool climate wine: Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet Franc.
The festival brings 9 countries, 61 winemakers and over 150 cool climate wines to Niagara to taste, enjoy and celebrate what makes wine-making in the farthest reaches so special.
There’s some pretty great chard-education happening at a few different wineries. Highlights include the ever popular School of Cool – Viticulture and Winemaking Sessions at the White Oaks Resort, which includes three sessions covering everything from harvest to stemming to cellaring chardonnay.
There’s a unique opportunity on Saturday to tour two chardonnay vineyards with Thomas Bachelder and Norm Hardie. You’ll have a chance wander through the vines learning why the sites are so coveted before convening at Domaine Queylus Winery for lunch and a selection of these winemakers� favourite Chardonnays.
Meanwhile, at Flat Rock Cellars, get up close and personal with the winemaking team and international winemakers from all over the globe over Chardonnays & Pinot Noirs from different regions. Join in an interactive discussion with the winemakers about their regional terroir and practices.
If +150 wines from the coolest vineyards on the planet aren’t enough, they’ve appointed Paul Harber of Feast On? Certified Ravine Vineyard the Culinary Director of the i4c Board. What does that mean? Well for starts — he’s dictating what you eat!
Harber has assembled “The Dream Team” of vineyard chefs — literally, that’s what they’re calling it, and we couldn’t agree more! — to throw down some seriously delicious eats during the weekend. Who made the cut?
Look for creative, locally driven dishes from Harber’s fellow Feast On ambassadors: chefs Jason Parsons of Peller Estates, Ryan Crawford of Backhouse, Roberto Fracchioni of Hockley Valley Resort, Ross Midgley of Ravine Vineyard, as well as chefs from The Garrison House, Niagara College, Bolete, Zooma, Trius Winery, Redstone Vineyards, Inn on The Twenty, Tide & Vine Oyster House and Wellington Court. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us!
Ontario wineries participating in 2016 include: 13th Street, Adamo Estates, Bachelder, Big Head, Cave Spring, Chateau de Charmes, Creekside, Domaine Queylus, Flat Rock Cellars, Henry of Pelham, Hidden Bench, Inniskillin, Jackson Triggs, Lighthall Vineyards, Malivoire Wine, Niagara College Teaching Winery, Norman Hardie Vineyards, Peller Estates, Ravine Vineyard, Redstone, Stratus, Tawse Winery, Thirty Bench Wine Makers, Trius Winery at Hillebrand, Two Sisters Vineyards and Westcott Vineyards.