Disclosure: I was a media attendee and all opinions are my own.
Vancouver loves wine. At 39 years and running, the Vancouver International Wine Festival (VanWineFest) has been celebrating wines both within the nation and past our borders. At the heart of the festival is the Tasting Room where hundreds of wine can be sampled an unlimited number of times. Read on past the jump to see what the Tasting Room is all about and why it’s one of the best value events for the festival.
The Tasting Room is organized by nation and all guests receive a map booklet on their way in containing all the wineries and festival information. Being Canada’s 150th birthday, this year’s festival featured a lot of Canadian wine and so there were numerous rows like this one brandishing the Canadian flag.
The Tasting Room featured lots of light from Coal Harbour and it was quite fun navigating my way using the map booklet and crossroad signs like this one.
Expert pourers were everywhere as principals, wine executives, and regional ambassadors introduced guests to their wines and different origins.
Apart from all the wine, there were also small food samples such as Sysco scallops, Cafe D’Oro gelato, and Terra Breads.
I’ll admit I didn’t have time to sample every single wine from every single vendor, but I made a point to investigate the wines with the most interesting names. They were as follows:
- Blasted Church - OMG 2011 ($28)
- Cassini Cellars - The Godfather 2012 ($75)
- Majella Wines - The Musician 2014 ($20)
- Cavit Roscato - Sparkling Sweet Red ($17)
It turns out partnering with a creative marketing agency can do the trick, as I was naturally drawn to Blasted Church’s OMG 2011. Hailing from Okanagan Valley, Canada, this was a pink salmon coloured bubbly with a refreshing taste of berries and a bright finish.
Cassini Cellars, also from Okanagan Valley, boasted the coolest bottle with a red wax seal, The Godfather. Its air of superiority was reflected in its price as I discovered it to be the most expensive out of my favourites (there were no labelled prices in the tasting area). This wine only saw 150 cases produced and had the biggest flavour out of any wine I’ve tried so far. The cherry and black currant added to silky tannins for an enjoyable experience.
Moving across the water to Australia, Majella Wines was on board with The Musician 2014. This shiraz/cabernet mix is a tribute to the wine principal’s late musician companion, and featured an elegant mix of blackberry and herbs.
Last but not least, from Italy I enjoyed Cavit Roscato’s Sparkling Sweet Red. This was not chosen for its funky name, but because spakling and sweet red are not commonly put together as most reds have some sort of tannin finish. This was an elegant bottle and turned out to be the value pick of my lot. The wine was the easiest to drink and featured aromas of blackberries. The finish was a soft lingering feeling on the tongue.
And there you have it! The biggest benefits of attending the ($69-89) festival tasting room are as follows:
- Some wines are only available through BC Liquor Store at the festival tasting room, making them more exclusive
- If you were ever curious about a certain wine, chances are here you can try it before splurging a ton of money (e.g. The Godfather 2012!)
- Wine experts are on hand to make a personal recommendation for you, the consumer
- For chronic drinkers, you can consume in a safe place, in the name of research, and stumble home from the Vancouver Convention Centre’s central location
Happy drinking! Stay tuned this week for more posts about the Vancouver International Wine Festival, perhaps through my RSS Feed.