Vintage weekend for Twenty Valley festival
Winter celebration of wine lures thousands of people to Jordan
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.
Dan Stouck of Malivoire Wine Co. competes in the barrel roll event at Twenty Valley Winter WineFest. He won the competition.
Karen Luvy of Cave Spring Cellars pours a glass of Cabernet Franc Dolomite for Nicole Young.
Hilary Vaughan, left, Gwen Eldridge, Gerry Bucsis and Gary Bucsis chat by a fire.