If you have not heard of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration, held in the Niagara region in southern Ontario, it is something not to be missed. The i4C+ Celebration started in the summer of 2009 with some Ontario wine makers celebrating their success at the 2009 Cellier Wine Awards in Montreal. These wine makers believe in the renaissance of Chardonnay. It can be light to full-bodied, steely, floral, stony and much more. The grape is complemented by cool climate, whether it is cool by altitude, latitude, marine influence, or climatic conditions. These wine makers can be thought of the anti-ABC movement.
The first i4C Celebration took place in 2011 with 28 Ontario wineries and has grown over the past 6 years, with attendance by cool climate wineries from around the world, and also some related cool climate grapes, like Pinot Noir, so evolved to i4C+. Along with these wines, the Celebration also has several brunches and dinners where you can see the versatility of the Chardonnay grape when paired with expertly crafted dishes.
This year’s i4C+ happens July 21-23, 2017, with the events centered around Niagara-on-the-Lake venues. There are individual event tickets available. Info for those will follow below.
A Few Quick Facts About i4C+
From the event organizers, here are some facts you need to know:
- 2017 marks the 7th Anniversary of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration
- 39 Ontario wineries are members of the i4C Association
- Over 150 wineries from 37 cool climate wine regions have participated including some of the world’s most eminent producers: Louis Jadot, Drouhin, Taittinger, Champy, Laroche, Torres, Kistler, Ramey, Kumeu River, La Crema and Hamilton Russell
- Over 12,500 consumers have celebrated in the heart of Ontario’s wine country
- Over 725 different cool climate Chardonnays have been poured
- Industry support from all key stakeholder groups in the industry: LCBO, VQA Wines of Ontario and Wine Country Ontario, Grape Growers of Ontario, CCOVI at Brock University, Niagara College, Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, Canadian Vintners Alliance and numerous industry suppliers
- The i4C is not a competition; rather it is a celebration of exceptional cool climate wines.
- The i4C mandate states that a minimum of 50% of the annual participants are from outside of Ontario to ensure a true exploration of the nuances of cool climate Chardonnay
Where Can I Buy Tickets?
Tickets are available online through the direct link on the http://www.coolchardonnay.org/ website.
What Events are Happening?
Friday July 21.
THE SCHOOL OF COOL
Industry Sessions presented by VQA Wines of Ontario and The Grape Growers of Ontario
8:30am – 5:00pm
White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa 253 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
$150 +HST | 350 guests. Parking at Niagara College (shuttle provided)
8:30am – 3:30pm – Industry Sessions, Keynote address by Karen MacNeil.
3 compelling seminars focusing on issues of cool climate winemaking and viticulture. Moderator John Szabo, MS, leads panels of wine makers and experts. $150.00 + HST includes lunch.
3:30pm – 5:00pm – Industry Networking Event
A meet-and-greet event for international wine makers and media and Ontario wine-industry guests, with a selection of Chardonnays poured by their makers in a collegial setting. Included with School of Cool tickets; additional tickets available for $35.00 + HST.
FLIGHTS OF CHARDONNAY
7:00pm – 11:00pm
Niagara District Airport 468 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake
$49+HST, food additional | 750 guests
Mix and mingle in the coolest venue in Niagara while tasting exceptional Cool Climate Chardonnays from all corners of the globe, poured by their makers. A Cool Marché of some of the best chefs and food trucks in the region join in the mix, with live bands.
Saturday July 22.
EXPLORE WINE COUNTRY ONTARIO
11:00am – 2:00pm
Wineries across Niagara
Visit the i4C member wineries across Niagara for special Chardonnay tastings, winemaker experiences or luncheons. Visit coolchardonnay.org for event details. Events require pre-booking through the host winery. Ticket prices vary by venue
THE COOL CHARDONNAY WORLD TOUR
Presented by VQA Wines of Ontario and the LCBO/VINTAGES
6:00pm – 11:30pm
Ridley College 2 Ridley Road, St. Catharines
$150+ HST | 850 guests
The signature event of i4C weekend. The Cool Chardonnay World Tour is the only event where all 159 wines of the i4C are available to taste. Wander the grounds of historic Ridley College during the Grand Tasting, then sit down to a family-style feast curated by eight of Niagara’s top winery chefs including Jason Parsons (Peller Estates), Frank Dodd (Trius), Paul Harber and Ross Midgley (Ravine), Erik Peacock (Wellington Court), Craig Youdale (Canadian Food and Wine Institute), Jason Williams (Inn on the Twenty) and David Sider (Redstone). A team of sommeliers will pour a selection of cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc or Gamay paired with the chefs’ creations. After dinner, dance under the stars to live bands or sample VQA red wines and craft beer at the Après Chardonnay bar. A magical evening in wine country.
Sunday July 23.
THE MOVEABLE FEAST
11:00am – 2:00pm
Ravine Vineyard 1366 York Road, St. Davids
$75+HST | 250 guests
A perennial favourite of i4C weekend. Chef Ross Midgley and owner Paul Harber welcome their favourite artisan producers to join them in presenting a fabulous wandering feast in the vineyard marquee. Cool climate Chardonnay, Blanc de Blancs and a selection of VQA Rosés will be available to taste. A glorious way to end i4C weekend.
BRUNCH ON THE BENCH – NEW!
11:00am and 12:30pm seatings
Redstone Winery 4245 King Street, Beamsville
$90+HST | 250 guests
An exciting new addition to i4C weekend. Chef David Sider and his team present an exquisite 3-course brunch served with specially selected Chardonnays from i4C 2017. Dine surrounded by the striking design of the winery restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling views of the vineyard. Then wander to the extraordinary patio to sample on premium VQA Rosé after lunch.
Wineries and Wines to Expect?
There is a long list of wineries and wines at the i4C+ Celebration, so I will post these details on my next post. Enjoy!