It’s one of the best fall festivals Ontario has to offer: a celebration of the harvest in the heart of Niagara wine country.
The Niagara Wine Festival is an opportunity for the best wineries in Niagara to show off what makes this area famous. Experience the hub of the action in Montebello Park or head to one of the participating wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The festival spans two fun-filled weeks with events going on all around the region. Get the details on this exciting event and start planning your trip with this quick guide.
EXPERIENCE THE BEST OF NIAGARA’S WINERIES
The Niagara Wine Festival is spread out among the region, but the weekend headquarters are located in Montebello Park, downtown St. Catharines. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, guests join here to indulge in Niagara’s best.
This year’s festival is taking place September 10 to September 25. The 65th annual Grande Parade will take place on Saturday, September 24.
Formerly known as the Grape and Wine Festival, Niagara residents as well as visitors from all over the country look forward to this event year after year. It’s treated as a homecoming to kick off the new season and celebrate hometown pride in the region.
Sample the Best Wineries in Niagara
If you’ve ever wanted the Niagara wine tasting experience but didn’t know where to start, you don’t have to choose!
Most of the major wineries in the region have their own events and tastings happening on-site, but they also have booths in Montebello Park on the weekends. Each booth is located beside one of Niagara’s top restaurants.
Festival guests purchase tokens, which they can exchange for wine samples they receive in a collector’s glass. You also have the option of purchasing a bottle for more tokens.
Enjoy a variety of samples from Niagara’s wineries as you listen to the live entertainment and take in the downtown atmosphere. There are also tons of vendors selling merchandise and artisan goods you can visit during your trip.
Delicious Local Culinary
Treat your tastebuds to a perfect wine and food tasting at any of the participating wineries, going on throughout the 2 weeks. These pairings have been specially created for this year’s Niagara Wine Festival.
In Montebello park, the weekend will feature tons of selections from Niagara’s gourmet food providers. From local restaurants to food trucks, you’ll be sure to find something you’ll enjoy. You might even go back for seconds.
One of the featured highlights is always the food from the Niagara College Culinary Institute. Every year, the culinary students showcase their talents with something creative and innovative.
The Grande Parade
The Grande Parade kicks off the final weekend of the festival. Saturday, September 24 at 11am bring your lawn chairs and find a spot along the parade’s downtown route.
For 65 years this parade has been bringing Niagara residents together. More than 70,000 people come out to watch the parade every year.
You’ll enjoy watching the vibrant floats from local organizations, schools, and companies. You’ll also listen to the music of the steel drum bands, bagpipes, and marching bands. Children love waving to their favourite pop culture characters with giant smiles.
There are annual donations collected for Community Care during the parade, so don’t forget to bring some non-perishable goods to benefit the needy.
Stop by Montebello Park after the parade for fun children’s activities for the grandchildren or grab some lunch at a local restaurant. There are tons of local food trucks nearby as well as vendors selling local items.
Live Music at the Niagara Wine Festival
No festival would be complete without some awesome bands on stage getting the crowd up and dancing! This year includes an all-Canadian lineup, ready to take the outdoor stage in Montebello Park.
Here’s a schedule of the music so you won’t miss out on your favourite bands!
Friday, September 16: Whitney Pea 6:45pm-7:45pm, The Caverners 8:15pm to 10:30pm.
Saturday, September 17: Groovy Food 1pm-2:45pm, Soul Jam 3:15pm to 5pm, Flat Broke 5:30pm to 7:15pm, The Madhatters 7:45 to 10:30pm.
Sunday, September 18 (New Country Day): Brad Battle 1:15pm to 2pm, Al Rowe 2:30pm to 3:15pm, Beverley Mahood 3:45pm to 5:30pm, Jessica Mitchell 6pm to 6:30pm, River Town Saints 7pm to 8pm.
Friday, September 23: Mel Monaco 6:30pm to 7:30pm, #TeamWolf Featuring DJ Dave Stiles and DJ Tanner 8pm to 10:30pm.
Saturday, September 24: Hammer Bros. 1pm to 2:45pm, Wednesday’s Engine 3:15pm to 5pm, Theatre Crisp 5:30pm to 7:15pm, Jonesy 7:45pm to 10:30pm.
Sunday, September 25 (New Country Day): Evermile 1:30pm to 3:30pm, Brad James 4pm to 6pm, Cold Creek County 6:30pm to 7:30pm.
And There’s More!
If that isn’t enough, there are even more events happening during the two weeks!
Check out the Pied Piper Parade on Saturday, September 7 in Montebello park. For this family focused event, parade marchers dress up in costumes that celebrate Niagara’s harvest.
If you have grandchildren, put them in their most adorable costume and watch them shine. They could win a prize for best costume! After the parade, let them play in the family activity area.
There is also the Mayor’s Annual Grape Stomp event on Saturday, September 24 as well as other grape stomping activities to enjoy. But be warned- it’s messy!
How to Make the Most out of the Best Wine Festival in Niagara
To make your experience super rewarding, you can grab a Discovery Pass. Your pass will get you entry to wine tastings and food pairings at the participating wineries for one flat rate.
If you love wine, this is your opportunity to taste this year’s features from Niagara’s wineries and maybe find your new go-to bottle.
For those who are designated drivers, you can purchase a Discovery Driver’s Pass for a cheaper rate that allows you to sample the culinary offerings without risking safety.
Enjoy Niagara’s Festivals When You Live at Upper Vista
Upper Vista is located in the heart of the Niagara region, just a short drive away from all of the Niagara wineries and events. Never miss out on another event again!
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