St. Catharines, ON — While it may look a little different than in the past, the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival is rising to the challenge of creating a new blend of safe wine country experiences for this fall. From a fun new approach for the beloved Grape & Wine Parade to a new initiative that will bring the festivities of Montebello Park to your own backyard and creative new ways to enjoy and explore Niagara’s wineries, the 2020 vintage of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival will provide Niagara residents and Ontario wine lovers a fresh, safe way to experience the Festival’s most popular events and activities.
The Next Best Thing to Partying In The Park
While group size restrictions will prevent the traditional Montebello Park festivities from taking place this year, the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival will offer new ways for participants to continue to enjoy the wine, music and fun. Concerts from headline bands will be live-streamed on the Internet on Saturday, September 19 and Saturday, September 26. Ontario bands that have always dreamed of taking the main stage at the Festival will have the opportunity to submit an online audition later this summer for a chance to win one of 6 opening act opportunities.
Niagara wineries will create Grape & Wine packs that will include a selection of wine and themed goodies to help bring the fun of the festival to your own backyard. The specially priced boxes will be available for no-fee delivery across Ontario or curbside pickup at participating wineries.
The Parade Must Go On
Because a large-scale street parade isn’t feasible given current social distancing guidelines, this year’s Meridian Porch Parade invites Niagara residents, both on and off the traditional parade route, to bring the fun to their front door. Later this summer, residents who plan on showcasing their Grape & Wine spirit will be able to register their house, building, street, or neighbourhood at niagarawinefestival.com. On September 26, the Niagara Grape & Wine Porch Parade team will visit to capture the fun on film and judge their efforts for a range of friendly contest categories, including Best Costumes, Best Neighbourhood Spirit, Best Decorated House and more. The festivities will be captured on film and shared live via webcast and through social media channels to allow the whole region to enjoy seeing everyone’s Grape & Wine spirit.
According to City of St. Catharine’s Mayor Walter Sendzik, “The Niagara Grape & Wine Parade is an institution. It was incredibly important to the City of St. Catharines that we still find a way to safely celebrate the important role that area grape growers and wineries play in our community. I know that the residents of St. Catharine’s will do a great job keeping the celebration alive in their front yards this September.”
A Supersized Grape & Wine Discovery Pass Program
With a record number of wineries on board, more days and extended hours, this fall’s Niagara Grape & Wine Discovery Pass touring program will be bigger and better than ever. By purchasing a $50 Discovery Pass Passport, wine lovers can enjoy a total of 8 signature wine and food pairings at over 30 Niagara wineries beginning September 17th. A discounted food-only Discovery Pass will also be available for $40.
The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival has launched an all-new Niagara Wine Country Check-In web tool that allows users to reserve their Discovery Pass experience in advance. In addition to the perk of being able to skip the lines, making a reservation using this new tool also grants guests access to specially designated socially distanced tasting areas. Additional options are in the works, including a self-guided tour tool that will allow winery guests to use their smartphone to explore wineries independently.
“Whether it’s an unexpected frost or a devasting draught, Niagara’s grape growers and wineries are regularly faced with unexpected challenges. They don’t have the option of cancelling a harvest. They press on and rise above the adversity to create a unique vintage. Their fortitude has been our inspiration for creating a fresh new take on this fall’s Niagara Grape & Wine Festival programming that is both fun and safe. The wine, food, music and activities we are planning may look a little different this year, but they will still offer an amazing experience and a memorable 2020 vintage,” said Dorian Anderson, Executive Director of the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival.
For up-to-the-minute news and programming announcements, follow Niagara Grape & Wine Festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @NiagaraWineFest