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Deal: Sample Canada's best icewines with this pass -- and save

Deal: Sample Canada's best icewines with this pass -- and save
Icewine grapevines at Peller Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. (Wine Council of Ontario)

What's the upside to harvesting grapes in freezing temperatures? Icewine, of course, and Canada's Niagara Falls area celebrates with a festival held over three weekends in January.

Those intent on sampling the chilly good stuff should buy a pass that saves 50% on the cost of individual tastings.

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The deal: The Niagara Icewine Festival will mark its 20th year in 2015. During the wintry harvest, grapes aren't  picked until temperatures plummet to around 18 degrees.

Regardless of when the harvest begins, the festival goes on.

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More than 35 winemakers in Wine Country Ontario open their doors for tastings and specialties such as peaches and triple-cream brie tartlet paired with a 2013 Vidal Icewine, or icewine marshmallows to be roasted over an open fire.

Buy a Discovery Pass for $40 Canadian ($34 U.S.) and you can sample wine and food at eight stops along the Wine Route. You'll take home a souvenir wine glass too. (Download a Discovery Pass Guide for a description of each winery.)

In addition, you can sip icewine, tour ice sculptures and hang out in front of a fire at street festivals in Twenty Valley, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, not far from the U.S.-Canada border.

When: The pass is available for purchase online and good Jan. 9-11, 16-18 and 23 to 25.

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Tested: Wine stops at the festival normally cost $10 Canadian each for advanced purchase tickets. So eight wineries for $40 means a good half-off deal.

There's also a Driver's Discovery Pass for $30 Canadian that covers food samples for designated drivers.

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