The New York Ice Wine & Culinary Festival is set for this Saturday, February 16 at Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport.
The annual event celebrating winter and wine is now in its eleventh year. Andrea Colaruotolo-O’Neill from Casa Larga discussed this year’s celebration Monday during News 8 at Noon.
“This year we again have a lineup of great wineries,” said Colaruotolo-O’Neill. “We have five wineries bringing their ice wine. They’re all produced in the traditional method. That means those ice wines were made from grapes that they left out on the vines right after the fall harvest to be frozen, picked frozen and pressed frozen. The wineries will also be bringing other wines. People ask that a lot – is it just ice wine, no. They’ll also have some nice reds and whites and a great representation of what the Finger Lakes wines can make, as well as we’ll have entertainment going on through the day with horse drawn carriage rides. We’ll have a magician. There’s balloon making which is something new this year. We also offer tours, seminars, and then the most important thing that people like is the pairing of the food and the wine.”
A warm start made this a challenging winter to produce ice wine. “Ice wine is a very challenging product,” noted Colaruotolo-O’Neill. “Not every winery wants to venture into it because basically you are leaving grapes on the vine that you could bring in, in September, and know that you’re going to get a harvest out of them. This year with the weather being warmer it was a little questionable as to, are we going to get that cold day that’s below 17 degrees so that we can pick the grapes frozen and press them.”
Eventually that day did come! Colaruotolo-O’Neill said RIT Catering is helping out with the food pairings this year once again. “We’ve teammed up with them now for several years. Chef Autumn Geer, she makes fabulous foods. They create all of the pairings. We simply give them the ice wine and then they create. We’ve never been disappointed! This year there’s a brisket slider, there are scallops, there’s a pasta, a salad. And then the dessert this year, we’re going to bring in somebody different to do it. He’s Italian and he’s going to be making pinzzelles, which kind of ties into it. It’s our forty-fifth anniversary, so it ties into some of that Italian theme and piztzelles and ice wine go together very well.”
The New York Ice Wine & Culinary Festival is also known as a fun time for a date. “This is a great event for Valentine’s Day,” said Colaruotolo-O’Neill. “You come out as a couple and enjoy the day. It’s definitely for adults more than for kids. We do put a big festival on in the fall that all family friendly, the grape stomping, but the Ice Wine Festival is geared towards adults and enjoying wine and having a nice day out.”
You can get tickets at the door, or in advance at Wegmans or online at CasaLarga.com. Use the promo code LASTCHANCE19 for a discount!