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Press Release: 2005 Niagara Wine Festival, September 16-25


For Immediate Release September 6

St. Catharines, Ontario - The Niagara Wine Festival is pleased to announce details of their 54th annual celebration of the grape harvest.

The Festival has grown to over 100 events including winery tours and tastings, concerts, Niagara cuisine, artisan shows, wine seminars, family entertainment and one of Canada's largest parades, running from September 16th to the 25th.

Starting Friday September 16th, Montebello Park in downtown St. Catharines will be the place to be for the next two weekends as the Balderson Wine Cheese and Food Experience brings over 40 Ontario wineries and restaurants together. Sample the best Niagara and Ontario has to offer, while enjoying wine seminars, art shows, children's Grapeland, grape stomps, cooking demonstrations and big name jazz, blues and pop recording artists on the Main Stage. This year's weekend headliners include Tributes to Chicago and Ray Charles on Friday evening, Sue Foley on Saturday night, and Ian Thomas on Sunday evening.

Admission is free to Montebello Park which is open from 11 am to 10:30 pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, September 16, 17, 18, and 23, 24 and 25.

The popular VQA VIP Experience dinner series will return to the heart of Montebello Park, September 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 starting at 6 pm each evening. VIP guests are invited to enjoy the superior sightlines from the VIP tent as they enjoy the Featured Concert each evening, starting at 8:00 pm. Guests will be expertly guided by a culinary panel through a delectable four course meal each of our six featured dates. Tickets cost $59.

Don't forget about our midweek activities when Montebello Park opens Tuesday September 20 to Friday September 23 for great entertainment from 4 pm to 10:30 pm. The featured act Tuesday is Rik Emmett, guitarist and singer from the hard edged prog rock band Triumph. Wednesday, Queenston Duty Free's "Celtic Night" brings us the humorous and heartwarming The Irish Descendants. "A salute to the Guess Who" will be performed by tribute band Undun on Thursday and the ultimate Beatles clone band, the Caverners get the mop tops hoppin' on Friday night.

Upwards of 200,000 people are expected for the 54th Grape and Wine Parade sponsored by the Pen Centre, one of the largest and longest running street parades in North America. The pageantry will commence at 11 am on Saturday, September 24 through downtown St. Catharines. "Musical Moments to Remember" is this year's Grande Parade theme, and it is only fitting that Niagara's own Walk of Fame and Grammy Award winner Walter Ostanek is this year's Grande Parade Marshal.

Entertainment for weekend two begins right after the parade with regional favourites, Who's Your Daddy, and Polka great Walter Ostanek. In the evening The Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort presents featured performer and Juno Award winner jacksoul at 8 pm on the Standard Main Stage.

Join us for the closing day celebrations in Montebello Park on Sunday, September 25. Entertainment begins at noon with the 60th Anniversary tour of Luluk Purwanto and the Helsdingen Trio from the Netherlands in salute to Canadian veterans in this Year of the Veteran. St. Catharines' own acclaimed singer/song writer Ron Sexsmith takes to the Standard Main Stage at 8 pm and at 9:30 pm join Subway in a salute to Ontario's Grape and Wine industry for the Vineyard Laser Lightshow which will illuminate Downtown St. Catharines.

New for this year is "The Best Seats in House Program". The program allows guests to enjoy the outstanding concerts of the 2005 Niagara Wine Festival with reserved seating in the Festival VIP area. 100 seats will be set aside for those guests who desire private wine service. Seats can be reserved for $20 per person, which includes $10 worth of Festival tokens and an official Wine Festival tasting glass ($5 value). "Best Seats in the House" tickets are available for weekdays, September 16, 20, 21, 22 and 23 for between 6 pm and 10:30 pm. For the two weekends, September 17 - 18 and September 24 - 25 two seatings are available, noon to 5 pm and 6 pm to 10:30 pm. Seats can be booked through the Festival website at www.niagarawinefestival.com or by calling the Festival office at (905) 688-0212.

Last year's successful launch of Festival Winery Touring Passports will be repeated this year and will become a festival mainstay. Visitors can present their $20 Passport at the 35 participating Ontario wineries for complimentary and discounted activities along Niagara's famous Wine Route. Another way to use your Passport is to bring it to Montebello Park any day of the Festival to receive your official ISO wine tasting glass and tokens to sample from the more than 3 dozen wineries and restaurants in the Park.

Other highlights include.

* RBC Financial Group Industry Awards - Tuesday September 13

* 30th Bank of Montreal Artisan and Craft Show - September 16, 17, 18 and 23, 24, 25 - 10 am to 6 pm.

* 22nd Scotiabank Celebrity Luncheon with Catriona Le May Doan - Wednesday, September 14

* VINES Magazine Wine Seminars - September 17, 18 and 24, 25 - 2 pm, 3pm and 4 pm.

* Farm Credit Canada Installation of the Grape King, Wednesday September 14, 2:30 pm in the Grape King's Vineyard

* Brock Days - September 23, 24, and 25

* Fergie Jenkins Celebrity Events

* Wine & Cheese Party - Thursday September 15 - Four Points Sheraton Suites, Thorald

* Charity Classic Golf Tournament - Friday, September 16 - Links of Rockway Glen, St. Catharines

* Niagara Culinary Institute's Gourmet Pavilion - September 17, 18 and 24, 25 - 11 am to 6 pm

For complete details and ticket information, please visit the Festival web site at
or call the Festival Office at (905) 688-0212.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Gerry Ginsberg, General Manager;
Brian Kroeker, Media Relations
e-mail: merlot@niagarawinefestival.com
or Festival office at vidal@niagarawinefestival.com
PHONE (905) 688 0212 FAX (905) 688-2570

Please find our 2005 event listing in the body of this email. We can also offer more details by visiting http://grapeandwine.com/media/index.cfm.

Please check back often as we will be posting our Highlights page, article, and featured entertainment schedule when they become available for download, or email. For hi-rez images, media passes, video or Media Kit CD-ROM and DVD (in production), please reply to this email or call Brian Kroeker at (905) 688-0212 Ext. 13. If you would like to be removed from this list, please reply to this email with "REMOVE" in the subject line.

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