Grand River wineries ready for Ice Wine Festival

the vindicator

MADISON — It’s time for ice wine, that sweet and rare specialty squeezed from frozen grapes.

The winegrowers of the Grand River Valley wine region will have their Ice Wine Festival on March 6 and 13. Five wineries in the region, which is just south of Geneva on the Lake, take part in the festival, which is now in its seventh year. The wineries are all within a 10-minute drive of each other.

Patrons begin at the winery of their choice and stop at any or all of the participating wineries, which are Debonn Vineyards, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Laurello Vineyards and St. Joseph Vineyards.

Doreen Peitrik, owner of St. Joseph Vineyard, is especially excited this year for the festival as it will be the first Ice Wine Festival at their new location.

“We have been wanting to expand our winery for years to better accommodate patrons to the tasting events. At our new Route 307 location, we will be able to do just that and have added a maple-syrup demonstration during the ice-wine festival as well.”

Nick Ferrante, owner of Ferrante Winery and Ristorante and chairman of the organization, feels this year has a lot to offer.

“Along with tasting award-winning ice wines paired with delicious appetizers, some of the wineries have added extras for patrons to enjoy,” he said.

“Ferrante will be featuring dinner specials that evening that compliment their ice wine.

All the other wineries will have featured events such as ice carving, dog sledding demonstrations, wine-glass painting, artisan jewelry, progressive dinners and much more.”

Most of these extras are free, but some will cost the patron a little extra.

“This year, the ice-wine harvest was on Dec. 10 in blizzard conditions,” said Tony Debevc of Debonn Vineyards. “The wines featured at the Ice Wine Festival are true ice wines. The grapes are left on the vines at the end of the traditional harvest season and await Mother Nature to shift seasons from fall to winter.

Once the grapes are truly frozen, reaching temperatures below 17 degrees, the grapes are picked and pressed immediately before they have a chance to thaw.”

The result is a very rare, concentrated and sweet product.

Each winery will provide a sample of their wines, along with a complimentary appetizer. The event begins at noon and ends at 5 p.m.

The cost is $5 per person at each winery. In an effort to help the local food banks, the wineries are encouraging everyone to bring in canned food items in which they will receive $1 off at each location. For more information, go to

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