Education meets entertainment at the Niagara Wine Festival

Visitors to the Niagara Wine Festival will have a chance to hear the stories behind the wines they taste, thanks to two educational events at this year’s festival.

The Educate Your Senses wine and food seminars are back by popular demand on Saturdays Sept. 21 and 28, coordinated by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and hosted by best-selling food and wine author Linda Bramble.

Bramble, a CCOVI Professional Affiliate, will showcase some of Niagara’s top winemakers, including alumni of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture program, as they share their experiences with participants.

The sessions at 1 and 5 p.m. will feature a food demonstration by the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College, while wine at the 3 p.m. session will be paired with cheese selections from the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

And a new event this year will be the East versus West: A Winemakers Showdown, which pits winemakers into competition on Sundays Sept. 22 and 29.

The East versus West showdown will feature a four-course wine and culinary experience. For each course, alumni winemakers from Brock University and Niagara College will team up based on if their winery is in east Niagara (Niagara-on-the-Lake) or west Niagara (the Twenty Valley) to compete for the best wine pairings with each course. The Canadian Food and Wine Institute and the Dairy Farmers of Canada will provide the food.

Throughout the experience, participants will learn about attributes from both east and west Niagara wines, and ultimately decide a winner between the two teams. Canadian wine media personality Terry David Mulligan will moderate the showdown on Sept. 22.

Tickets for the Educate Your Senses wine seminars and the East versus West: A Winemakers Showdown can be purchased at

*Marked sessions feature alumni of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture (OEVI) program

Educate Your Senses wine seminars
Location: Culinary Theatre, Montebello Park, St. Catharines
Cost: $6 if registering online, $6.50 (2 tokens) when registering in the park

Saturday, Sept. 21
1 p.m. Marc Bradshaw, Strewn Estate Winery
3 p.m. Fred DiProfio, Pondview Estate Winery*
5 p.m. Chris Colaneri, Colaneri Estate Winery

Saturday, Sept. 28
1 p.m. Marc Pistor, Constellation Brands*
3 p.m. Debi Pratt, Inniskillin Wines
5 p.m. Jay Johnston, Flat Rock Cellars

East versus West: A Winemakers Showdown
Location: Pavilion (All Access Lounge), Montebello Park, St. Catharines
Cost: $80

Sunday, Sept. 22
2 p.m.
East team: Angela Kasimos, Riverview Cellars Estate Winery*; Gavin Robertson, Niagara College Teaching Winery; Dave Sheppard, Coyote’s Run Estate Winery; Marty Werner, Ravine Vineyard
West team: Jeff Hundertmark, Mike Weir Winery and Stoney Ridge Estate Winery; Rob Power, Creekside Estate Winery*; Lydia Tomek, Hernder Estate Winery*

Sunday, Sept. 29
2 p.m.
East team: Marc Pistor, Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery*
West team: Richie Roberts, Fielding Estate Winery*; Sue-Ann Staff, Sue-Ann Staff Winery

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