- Created on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 19:11
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By NECHELLE VENTURINI
For 62 years, the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival has been an important event in the Niagara region to showcase local businesses and promote community awareness. Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) and Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold are two of the biggest contributors.
This year marked 10 years Niagara College has been involved.
Craig Youdale, acting dean of the CFWI, says the Niagara Wine Festival provides a “wonderful venue to showcase” its unique approach to wine, culinary and beer education. He adds the students and “expert” faculty always look forward to participating in events that “pair the wonderful tastes of Niagara with world-class Ontario wines.”
“The Niagara Wine Festival is a perfect opportunity for the CFWI to show everything we are made of,” says Alicia Tymoszewicz, events co-ordinator for Niagara College’s Wine and Beer Operations. “We have a huge community of passionate staff, faculty and students working together, before and during the weekends of the festival, to show the community who we are.”
She says this is an excellent representation of what makes the CFWI so special.
Tymoszewicz says Niagara College’s Teaching Winery is a proud member of the Niagara Wine Festival, and this allows them to participate in all the events throughout the weekends, such as winemaking contests, culinary contests and the Grande Parade.
“This year, our very own assistant winemaker, Gavin Robertson, will be duelling it out on the East versus West, a winemaker showdown event,” she says. “And our talented culinary students have created an amazing menu for the winemakers to pair their wines with.”
Niagara College also presented the All Access Lounge in the Montebello Park pavilion. This is where premium VQA wines and award-winning wine from Niagara College Teaching Winery were paired with a range of locally-inspired dishes prepared by culinary students in the CFWI.
Tymoszewicz says a lot of planning, organizing and hard work is put into the festival. “We want to pick our best wines for the guests to try, while also bringing something that’s unique and interesting to the park.”
Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold has also been a big contributor to the Niagara Wine Festival for over 15 years, helping to promote community awareness.
It is a non-profit organization with a goal of “compassionately providing vital services and assistance to individuals and families that meet their basic needs.” Its vision is for a healthy, caring community where everyone lives with dignity and purpose.
Community Care collected non-perishable and harvest items at Montebello Park, the surrounding fire halls and the Real Canadian Superstore. It also collected non-perishable food items and cash donations during the Grande Parade.
“Whatever you place on your table is what we need on ours,” says Nancy McIntosh, community and development co-ordinator for Community Care.
She says they have been part of the Niagara Wine Festival for more than 15 years. “We never have a goal, as we are grateful for whatever we receive. ‘One can of food is one can we did not have before.’”
Last year they collected 8,000 pounds of food and the St. Catharines firefighters collected more than $9,000 in cash donations.
McIntosh says the rain dampened the donations on the first weekend, but they are still grateful to those who gave and for the efforts of the Niagara Wine Festival and the Real Canadian Superstore.