The 11th annual New York Ice Wine & Culinary Festival returns to Casa Larga Vineyards, 2287 Turk Hill Road, Fairport, on Feb. 16.
Tickets are on sale at the Casa Larga Vineyards wine shop, at www.casalarga.com and at Wegmans.
This annual festival celebrates and showcases award-winning ice wines that are made in the traditional German eiswein method in New York state. To qualify as a true ice wine, the wines must be produced from grapes that have been frozen on the vine, not picked and then artificially frozen. Because harvesting is dictated by Mother Nature, the harvest often occurs on short notice in late December or early January. The frozen grapes must be picked and pressed within hours of the first sustained freeze. Because of this labor-intensive and weather-dependent process, very few wineries even attempt to make ice wine. On Feb. 16, some of these wineries will converge at Casa Larga Vineyards to sample and sell their authentic ice wines.
Thus far, five wineries and one distillery are joining in the festivities for the 2018 festival: Casa Larga Vineyards, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Hunt Country Vineyards, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, Schulze Vineyards & Winery, Embark Craft Ciderworks and Black Button Distilling. The wineries will be tasting and selling traditional red and white wines along with their ice wines.
A highlight of the festival is its culinary experience. Guests will sample cuisine made with ice wine in a menu developed by RIT Catering. The 2019 menu includes My Heart Beets for You Salad with micro arugula and beets topped with butternut squash, pecans, pomegranate seeds and goat cheese, finished with a pomegranate Casa Larga Vidal Ice Wine vinaigrette; Awesome Sauce Sicilian Pasta with crushed tomatoes, banana peppers, garlic, onions, fresh herbs and Casa Larga Vidal Ice Wine over local Bozza pasta with shaved parmesan cheese; Dream Big Brisket with a seared polenta cake topped with smoked beef brisket and black cherry and Casa Larga Vidal Ice Wine barbecue sauce and served with slaw; Ice Baby Ice Scallops with chilled Bay Scallops poached in Casa Larga Vidal Ice Wine; and dessert provided by Sweet Sammy Jane’s.
A host of indoor and outdoor activities round out the festival: ice wine and food pairings, the outdoor Luv Shack, an ice luge where guests catch an ice wine cocktail, winery tours, horse-drawn wagon rides through the vineyards, live entertainment, vendors and seminars. Seminars include Merrymaking Concoctions, on mixing cocktails with ice wine; Take the Challenge, on traditional versus artificial ice wine; and Weird and Wonderful, on foods to pair with ice wine. Attendees will also receive a commemorative glass with admission.
The 2019 festival is sponsored by Renewal by Andersen, Eastview Mall, the Del Monte Hotel Group, Crush Beer & Wine Tours, Cabot Creamery and Jack Greco Custom Furniture.
Tickets are available for two for $120 or $65 each through Feb. 15 at the Wine Shop on Turk Hill Road in Fairport and at www.casalarga.com. If available, tickets are $75 at the door. For group sales, call Cathy Fabretti at (585) 223-4210, ext. 121. For event updates and more information, visit casalarga.com/Events/NYIWCF or follow New York State Ice Wines on Facebook.