The Niagara Wine Festival
By Mike Peters; Staff Writer

Polka, polka, polka! This was the music reverberating around the most recent Niagara Wine Festival as I traveled through the denizens present at Montebello Park.

With this being the 55th anniversary of the event, the festival attempted to reach out to as many demographics as possible and for the most part, they succeeded. With over 45 wineries and restaurants, a play area for children and a cluster of vendors selling products ranging from art work to wind chimes, the festival truly attempted to appeal to the thousands venturing through the park. As I walked amongst the crowds, I was very impressed by the laid back, relaxed atmosphere. As the polka music swirled amongst the masses, I witnessed dancing, mingling and laughter by many, while others merely lounged at their tables under the tent partaking in the many different wines present at the event. Some people were inquiring about information at particular winery vendors while the rest dove into the wide array of foods present such as the perogies, gyros and subs. Though, some vendors mentioned how it was not as busy as the last few years because of the inclement weather present over the numerous days of the event, the festival still appeared to be a success.

I was pleasantly surprised to witness the participation of so many wineries. There were the larger wineries, ranging from Chateau des Charmes, Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin to the smaller, quaint wineries such as Maleta Winery, Coyote's Run and Creekside. After sampling quite a few wines, I concluded the overall quality of what I tasted was both elegant and satisfying. I had not been to the festival in the last couple of years and I was unsure of what to expect from it but I enjoyed myself and realized that this was one of the few events that truly relishes in the support and participation of the community located within the Niagara Region. This festival promotes the spirit of the community and helps to aid in the overall appreciation of wines as a whole. As a region largely involved in the wine industry, this festival only helps to bring awareness to our roots in agriculture and viticulture. It is an important event and should be revered for its efforts to promote tourism and information about our community and its' inhabitants.