Peller Estates chills out

10Below icewine lounge gives visitors the experience of a frigid grape harvest

Niagara-On-The-Lake Town Crier

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE — As winery tours go, this one could leave you cold.

But then again, that’s exactly what the people at Peller Estates might want visitors to feel when they visit 10Below, a new icewine lounge at the John Street estate winery.

“We started last year to wonder how we could provide a better tour experience,” estate manager Tim Coons said after members of the media had an opportunity to check out the new room.

And just as the name suggests, ambient temperature in the room is a bone-chilling -10 C, the chilly threshold for harvesting grapes for icewine.

“But it doesn’t include wind chill. We don’t want to kill our guests,” Coon said with a chuckle.

The room is a part of Peller’s “The Great Winery Tour” package that takes visitors through the entire estate operation. Coon said many guests are quite surprised when they arrive at 10Below and see racks of parkas and boxes of gloves waiting for them.

Once inside the cozy confines of the 300 square-foot lounge, guests are treated to samplings of three of Peller’s icewines, Vidal Blanc, Riesling and Cabernet Franc.

“You can touch the ice, taste the icewine,” Coon said.

While the room can accommodate up to 20 people, tours are limited to 15 people at a time, Coon added.

For now, tours of the room are only a part of the complete tour, but Coon said consideration is being given toward creating standalone visits. Opportunities for groups wishing to use the room for private functions are also in the cards.

“We have 280,000 visitors a year,” Coon said. “We have tours leaving literally every 30 minutes. We’re one of the busiest wineries, I believe, in Canada.”

The feedback from visitors has been positive, Coon said.

“We’ve had international visitors here who have never even experienced a winter.”

More than 30,000 pounds of ice was used to create the room. It was designed by Hensall, Ont., company Iceculture.

And like ice will do, the current design of blocks etched with hashtags, stories about icewine and how it’s made will not last.

“The life expectancy of the ice is about a year,” Coon said, which means Peller has the opportunity for the winery to give the room a new look often.

“We will continue to evolve and it will continue to change,” Coon said.

Tickets for the Greatest Winery Tour are $15 and can be booked at www.peller.com.

Read full article: Niagara this Week: Peller Estates chills out

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