Winterfest Wine Show, inside the igloo

The jubilant echoes of Christmas carols rang through the streets of downtown Windsor Saturday afternoon at the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association’s (DWBIA) first winter celebration, Winterfest.

Photo by Travis Fauteux.
 Photo by Travis Fauteux.

Photo by Travis Fauteux.

Travis Fauteux

News Editor

The jubilant echoes of Christmas carols rang through the streets of downtown Windsor Saturday afternoon at the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association’s (DWBIA) first winter celebration, Winterfest.

Hockey legend Gordie Howe led the holiday parade, which ended with the classy appearance of Father Christmas himself in a classic automobile.

Roasted chestnuts, horse-drawn carriages, and beavertails were available for Windsorites, but much of the attention, at least for adults, was focused on the giant inflatable igloo at the end of Ouellette where the wine flowed at the Winterfest Wine Show.

The show featured nine of the region’s award winning wineries and allowed the public to taste some of Windsor’s best.  Admission was gratis and tasting was affordable.

Maria Colini from Cooper’s Hawk Vineyard said the event was a valuable opportunity for wine makers in the region and for many Windsorites who cannot travel out of the city to taste the flavours of the Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island region right in their back yard.

“We’re trying to do more of this in Windsor.  We just had an event at Walkerville Brewery where all the wineries got together,” she said.  “Everybody is good at their own thing.  Everyone specializes in different things and everybody knows that about each other.  The more the merrier.”

“We try to get people to go and try and stay on the wine route and visit more than one place.  It makes it more fun as a destination and people can travel around the county and hopefully enjoy a lot of the things out here,” said Colini.

Cooper’s Hawk has accumulated several awards in the past including a 2011 Gewurztraminer that won gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships and a Chardonnay Musqué, which they featured at the wine show, that won the silver at the same competition.

Colini encourages wine lovers who enjoyed their time in the igloo last weekend to visit the many wineries outside the city limits, including, of course, Cooper’s Hawk.

“There is usually something going on out here,” she said.  “Everybody has a good time and you can try a larger variety of wine.”

Viewpoint Estate Winery brought a Cabernet Franc, a Pinot Grigio, and their Auxerrois, which Claudia Taylor, production and inventory manager at Viewpoint, called their signature white.  Taylor said that they decided to play to the wine region’s strengths in their selection for the show.

“Cab Franc is one of the better showing grapes of this region and we humbly think that we produce an absolutely fabulous one,” said Taylor.  “All of the wines that we’re going to have are of course wines that we make here from grapes that we grow here – totally local.”

Taylor said that “local is the new black.”

“Getting to know what is produced in your neck of the woods and realizing that it’s really good is a double win.  You win because you realize you are supporting the local economy and drinking some really good stuff and we win because we’ve just converted people that might be purchasing wine unknowingly to wine that they know is local, sustainable, and quite delightful,” said Taylor.

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