Wine and ice and everything nice

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

by Sylene Argent

It was beginning to look a lot more like winter over the weekend. The cool weather was just in time to help area wineries host the annual two-day Festival of Ice event.

Through the Southwestern Ontario Vintners Association (SWOVA), 12 area wineries joined forces to host the Festival of Ice at their own facilities. The event attracts many area residents – as well as many individuals from outside the region, to enjoy an afternoon of wine testing and see what area businesses have to offer.

Jennifer Ring, SWOVA’s Event Coordinator, said the event began at Colio Estate Wines 12 years ago. Four years ago, it became a regional event as many other wineries joined in the winter festival.

Ring said the Festival of Ice has grown in popularity. Last year, eight area wineries joined to host their own version of the event. Colio itself usually welcomes at least 800 people onsite during the festival.

The major reason to host the event is to give individuals the opportunity to do something fun during the long winter lull. It also provides individuals the opportunity to explore the county, Ring said.

At Colio, vendors were set up on site to sell their unique items. Participants were able to listen to live music as sculptors created cool masterpieces out of large blocks of ice.

Henry Ford Community College Culinary students, Jeff Lao and Paul Nuznov were two of the many sculptors at Colio during the Festival of Ice. They spent Saturday afternoon creating cool works of art with a dragon theme.

The two students are part of the Ice Carving Club at the school and are enrolled in an additional class to the culinary program that teaches the students how to create art out of ice.

Neither student thought they would discover they had sculpting skills before entering the program. Nuznov said he never thought he possessed artistic ability. Lao added that he had never touched a power tool until he joined the program.

The students began honing in their artistic skills with small pieces. Eventually they were able to advance to larger blocks of ice.

Nuznov commented that ice sculptures are a unique and creative way to display food that needs to be kept cold.

The sculptors first attended the Festival of Ice last year, and were eager to attend again over the weekend.

Admission to the event, at any of the participating wineries, was a canned good. The donated food items would then be forwarded to the food bank located in the community of the participating winery.