Live In The Vines: Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival Brings The Music

Live In The Vines: Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival Brings The Music

By David DeRocco

“What’s in a name” goes the question. When it comes to the 2017 Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival, adding the name “homegrown” has helped make the first big wine event of the season even bigger according to organizers.

“We did find that when we used the word ‘homegrown’ in the title of the festival last year that people reacted, from a social media perspective, really well to that,” said Kimberly Hundertmark, Executive Director of the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. “So we thought there’s something special here. Every year we’re seeing incremental growth.”

That growth trend should continue this year thanks to the exciting entertainment component being added to the Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival Discovery Pass program June 17th and 18th.  With help from a Celebrate Ontario grant and incorporating lessons learned during last year’s festival, the 2107 Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival and close to 30 of its winery partners will be hosting “Live In The Vines,” featuring a variety of local artists performing daily from 12:30 to 4:30pm. Hundertmark says the packed schedule of live entertainment will give visitors an additional reason to hang out on winery patios during festival weekend.”  

“What we found last year when we did the Niagara Homegrown Music Festival as part of what used to be the New Vintage Festival was that people really liked the music,” said Hundertmark. “People like the idea of enjoying live music amongst the vines, and we just played up on that. We worked with our agency and got the vibe from winery partners that they were totally into this. We were successful with our (Celebrate Canada) application, we got some funds, we were able to book some incredible Niagara talent and we’re off to the races.”

Working with entertainment coordinator Nathan Warriner, the wineries got actively involved in the development of the Live In The Vines concept to help determine the proper pairing of winery and music.

“A number of (the wineries) had specific genres and what we allowed the partners to do was work with Nathan to say, ‘this is the vibe we want.’ Some of the wineries wanted jazz, some of them wanted folk, some of them wanted a little indie. It allowed them to work with him to find the perfect fit for their brand and the experience they wanted to offer.”

Besides giving purchasers access to all wineries participating in the festival’s Live In The Vines activities, the Discovery Pass is still a bargain at $40.00 (plus tax). The bigger ticket – and the best party – remains the annual TD Tailgate Party (, a premium event featuring over 35 Niagara wineries uncorking their seasonal best alongside local chefs preparing farm-to-table favourites. This year’s tailgate party is scheduled for June 17th at the Niagara College Teaching Winery on Taylor Road, and Hundertmark says there’s always a few new twists to look forward to.

“The big change with that program is always the venue,” said Hundertmark. “This year with it being at Niagara College, they’re really the feeder into the system as far as chefs of the future, winemakers of the future, even brew masters of the future. It definitely seems like the perfect place to be hosting the event this year. We’re excited about the fact it backs onto Woodend, it’s got a beautiful vineyard and it’s close to the highway. It’s going to be perfect.”  

Purchase your tickets to both events now at  Or you can try to win a pair from GoBeWeekly. Visit for details.