Vin­tage week­end for Twenty Val­ley fes­ti­val

Win­ter cel­e­bra­tion of wine lures thou­sands of peo­ple to Jor­dan

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Front Page - JULIE JOCSAK

Mother Na­ture was much kinder to Twenty Val­ley Win­ter WineFest for its 10th an­niver­sary.

Last year rain and cold kept most peo­ple away, but this week­end Jor­dan was buzzing with ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the up­graded fes­ti­val.

from which wine, beer and food was served lined park­ing lots while a stage set up at one end end­lessly pumped out up­beat jams.

Large metal acorns served as fire pits. The orig­i­nal works by Beamsville artist Floyd Elzinga added a unique and cre­ative touch to the warm­ing fire pits while nearby a new event tent treated vis­i­tors to var­i­ous work­shops through­out the week­end.

“It’s go­ing well, it’s been su­per busy to­day, the weather has been good, bet­ter than last year,” said event man­ager Jen­nifer Feschuk.

She was hop­ing for about 11,000 peo­ple to walk through the gates Fri­day through Sun­day. As of Satur­day af­ter­noon more than 4,000 had de­scended on the vil­lage.

“We have a new celebrity chef chal­lenge. Those chefs got five black box in­gre­di­ents from 20 Val­ley. I dropped them off on Mon­day so they had five days to pre­pare a dish and they have to serve 80 peo­ple at a sold out event,” said Feschuk.

“We have a new event tent. We have work­shops go­ing on all week­end. Grape Grow­ers have an icewine se­ries go­ing on in there, there’s a cheese board-mak­ing work­shop from Ni­a­gara Na­ture Tours, we have Dil­lon’s Dis­tillery do­ing a cock­tails work­shop tonight.”

The time-tested crowd favourite bar­rel roll brought ev­ery­one out to the street to see seven com­peti­tors vie to be­come cham­pion and take home all of the brag­ging rights that go with it. Dan Stouck from Malivoire Win­ery Co. took home the tro­phy.

The or­ga­niz­ers’ ef­forts did not go un­no­ticed by the crowd.

“It’s well done this year,” said Gary Buc­sis. From Fonthill, he and his wife Gerry come

al­most ev­ery year.

“We re­ally like some­thing to look for­ward to in the mid­dle of Jan­uary be­cause there’s not much else to do,” said Buc­sis. “The mu­sic is won­der­ful, the fires are won­der­ful, you get to meet peo­ple. We met peo­ple from out of the coun­try and it’s just re­ally, re­ally fun.”

For Hi­lary Vaughan, it was her first time. She de­cided to cel­e­brate her birth­day there at the sug­ges­tion of her sis­ter who had been in the past.

“My sis­ter lives in the area, she sug­gested this. My mom is from Burling­ton, El­iz­abeth is from Mon­treal and I am from St. Thomas,” said Vaughan. “It’s awe­some. Hon­estly, it’s got such a va­ri­ety and it’s just the feel­ing that ev­ery­body is here for fun and you’re all par­tic­i­pat­ing. It’s a great crowd and the en­ter­tain­ment is fan­tas­tic.”

She would def­i­nitely come back, “and I’ll be the same age next year!” Vaughan quipped. “You have three gen­er­a­tions en­joy­ing it, so that speaks highly of an event that can en­ter­tain three gen­er­a­tions hap­pily in a day.”

Su­san Bell and her hus­band Garry brought a cou­ple of their friends with them to ex­pe­ri­ence the fes­ti­val for the first time, in­clud­ing Les­lie Lepard.

“It’s good, good en­ter­tain­ment, a good crowd and they keeps warm if we need it,” said Lepard. “In the win­ter, what else is there to do, right? It’s some­thing to do on a Satur­day af­ter­noon.”

Al­though the first-timers en­joyed them­selves and would be back next year, they will be dress­ing a lit­tle warmer for the oc­ca­sion.

East Coast fid­dler Ash­ley MacIsaac opened up the week­end with an out­door show on Fri­day night which was fol­lowed by a ’90s af­ter­hours dance party.

“It’s awe­some to see all of these peo­ple out here, en­joy­ing the win­ter weather, not com­plain­ing about the cold, be­ing good Cana­di­ans,” said Feschuk.

The Ni­a­gara Icewine Fes­ti­val kicked off with the North­ern Lights Icewine Gala at the Grand Hall at Ni­a­gara Fallsview Casino Re­sort on Fri­day and will con­tinue this com­ing week­end in Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake. More in­for­ma­tion can be found at www.ni­a­garawine­fes­ti­val.com.

JULIE JOCSAK THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Dan Stouck of Malivoire Wine Co. com­petes in the bar­rel roll event at Twenty Val­ley Win­ter WineFest. He won the com­pe­ti­tion.

JULIE JOCSAK THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Karen Luvy of Cave Spring Cel­lars pours a glass of Caber­net Franc Dolomite for Nicole Young.

JULIE JOCSAK THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Hi­lary Vaughan, left, Gwen Eldridge, Gerry Buc­sis and Gary Buc­sis chat by a fire.

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