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January 28th 2017
Published: January 31st 2017
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Ice wine festivalIce wine festivalIce wine festival

Drinking Ice Wine helps you grow tall!!
We're spending this winter away in Australia altough, with unusually milder weather so far in Niagara on the Lake, there is less of an incentive to escape the typically harsh cold and snowy conditions.

Before leaving, we did experience the Ice Wine Festival in Niagara which spanned a 2 week period in January and various events were hosted by a number of communities in the Region. For those who are unfamiliar with Ice Wine, it's a very unique product that is made from frozen grapes which obviously gives Canada some advantages over Vineyards in other countries. It's a very good product for Export and the Industry has enjoyed growing demand, particularly in Asia and USA. In order to meet the Niagara's VQA (Vintners Quality Assurance), grapes must be harvested in -8 degrees Celcius temperatures which raises the sugar content when processing. It's a delicate and risky process and the yield per vine is comparatively low, however, selling a small bottle in Asia for appx. $75.00 USD gives Ice Wine a great "value added" characteristic.

The Town closed off Queen street for the Festival on Saturday and many of the local wineries offered sampling and food stations. There was some
Frank at Ice Wine FestivalFrank at Ice Wine FestivalFrank at Ice Wine Festival

His wife Barb was away so he hung around with us
entertainment, ice sculptures etc., and based on the crowds, the Festival has become a great attraction to the Niagara during the quieter January period. Also, and in keeping with NIagara on the Lake's growing attractiveness as a music destination, Molly Johnson (one of Canada's premier Jazz entertainers) was performing at the Shaw theatre on Saturday during the Ice Wine Festival.

After a 15 hour, non stop flight over the North Pole, we landed in Hong Kong on our way to Sydney. We intentionally booked a 17 hour layover in Hong Kong, which gave us some time to stretch our legs and relax at the Regal Hotel (located at the Airport) and to reacquaint ourselves with the city's core. We took the Airport Express train to downtown, spent a few hours walking around and enjoyed some PHO bowls (noodles, meat and broth) at a local Vietnamese restaurant. Back to the airport hotel to shower, catch a couple hours of sleep and then back on the plane to Sydney for a 10 hour flight.

We've rented a house in a golf community in Noosa Heads which is about 1 1/2 hours north of Brisbane, Australia. It's on the Sunshine Coast and fairly close to the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Although most of our time will be spent in this area, we do plan to spend some time in Sydney, Blue Mountain area, Melbourne and take the "great ocean drive" along the southern coast. We're looking forward to exploring these parts of Australia and sharing our experiences over the next few weeks through periodic travel blogs


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