The world of wine has converged in Vancouver.
The annual international wine festival continues through to Sunday, March 3 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Some 25,000 people are expected to partake in the festival and consume 30,000 bottles of wine over the course of the seven days of intoxicating grape juice celebrations.
The festival in Vancouver is very important to Whistler in that it gives our restaurant industry leaders an opportunity to hone their skills and boost their knowledge. While that is good for the individuals who participate in the trade events that take place at the festival, the accumulated knowledge of all the Whistler people who come back with new skills and knowledge is great for everyone in Whistler, as that knowledge will further impress the wine lovers who come to Whistler and find knowledgeable and helpful servers and sommeliers.
More than 7,000 industry people are expected to participate in trade tasting, seminars, symposiums and networking events.
The insiders, those who are in the biz, get a chance to mingle before the "civilians" arrive.
The Trade Tasting events are simply a block of time ahead of the public opening of the tasting opportunities. Wine purchasers get an opportunity to network and taste wines without the pesky public getting in the way.
More than 170 wines of interest to British Columbia wine purchasers are available for tasting with representatives of the wine on hand to answer questions. Winery owners put their nametag on a royal blue lanyard so they are easily identified as a senior member of their winery operation. The trade tasting times are perfect for purchasers to link up with sellers and talk business for an hour before the doors open to the masses.
The industry events culminate with the 10th annual wine festival awards luncheon. Rick Cluff of the CBC radio morning show is hosting the luncheon and awards ceremony. Vancouver Convention Centre Executive Chef Blair Rasmussen will prepare the food for the event and wines from California, the festival's featured wine region, will be paired with the food.
The awards for Sommelier of the Year and Spirited Industry Professional will be announced and the Wine List Awards will also be revealed. Whistler has its own Wine List Awards category so we'll find out if last year's gold recipients, Araxi and RimRock, have maintained their award-wining status. Last year the Grill Room and Ric's Grill received honourable mentions. Will the judges give these two higher praise this year and will one of Whistler's other top wine purveyors be honoured this year?
Check back next week!