Wednesday 21st April
Flew into Vancouver and caught up with the team from our distributor – Mark Anthony Brands (MAB from here on) at The Vancouver Club, along with all the other wineries that they look after besides us across Canada. We’re in a really interesting stable with wine houses from all corners of the wine producing world. When we all get together for ‘Wine Festival in Vancouver’, it’s a great opportunity to show the team what we’re all up to.
First – let me explain ‘Wine Festival’ when you’re talking about this particular city. It is actually The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. The difference between this wine event and most of the others I’ve seen is that for a winery to ‘exhibit’ and participate in the Festival, there has to actually be someone from the winery attending. That means that at any event, or at the winery ‘stand’ in the open exhibition trade or consumer sessions, that the folks coming along get to speak to someone from the home base. So the way it works is that each year, one country is featured, and there is a huge supporting program of food and wine events that feature regions, specific varieties, workshops, masterclasses, lunches and dinners – pretty much everything food and wine that you can think of – and it goes for a very solid four days.
Which brings me back to our distributor and their international stable of wineries, and the logistical mirror maze they have of making sure that we are all at the right place, on the right day, at the right time, with the right wine. I’ve listed the wineries in the MAB stable below to give you an idea – and it’s just lucky that MAB have The Ultimate Organiser in Miss Judy to make all of that happen! Besides that, she makes sure that there’s food to keep us going when we finish, and yes, she is definitely saint material!
Here’s who is in our ‘stable’ of wineries, and New Zealand and Argentina are the featured countries at this year’s festival:
- Antinori from Italy
- Dona Paula from Argentina
- Haras De Pirque from Chile
- Henkell from Germany
- Lanson & Louis Latour from France
- Nautilus & Man O War from New Zealand
- Nederburg from South Africa
- the local folk from the Prospect Winery and the Mission Hill winery in the Okanagan Valley
- Symington Family Estates (Warre, Dow, Graham) from Portugal
- and us – Yalumba from Australia
- plus there”s Tyrells as well, from the Hunter Valley
So now you can see why it’s such a huge exercise, and we’re just one stable coming to town! Our first event therefore makes a lot of sense – we all get together with the complete MAB sales team at The Vancouver Club, and do a ‘wine speed dating ‘ thing where we have 7 minutes with a trio of reps to taste one of our wines and do a quick catch up on the latest news from home.
After this, I went straight off to a private dinner at the Point Grey Golf Club, where we sat down with 20 members who have formed a wine club group – and had a look at everything from Unwooded Chardonnay to Octavius. Thanks Denise – who has supported Yalumba since seeing our wines for the first time 9 years ago when she was sommelier at The Beach House. Also, lovely to work with our young GQ coverbloke candidate – Jason. Very professional operator and we will be looking forward to now having an annual ‘Yalumba Dinner Date’ with the Point Grey Golf Club.
There endeth day one of our Vancouver four-day wine adventure!