More Catchup : Thursday 22nd April
Back at the Vancouver Wine Festival.
Most of the festival program is occurring at the new Convention Centre, which is right on Vancouver harbour with the float planes that go to and from Victoria Island landing and taking off out front. There’s also the Olympic Torch from the recent Winter Olympics at the front entrance, so the whole thing is in a quite spectacular location, with the snow topped mountians on the other side of the water as a magnificent backdrop. Vancouver is all dressed up with everywhere to go right now!
So for the main three days – Thursday through Saturday – this section of the Vancouver waterfront is just buzzing , and we’re right amongst it all – staying directly opposite the Convention Centre at the very new, just completed in time for the Winter Olympics, Fairmont Pacific Rim. This is rock star accommodation folks, and this is the first time I’ve stayed in such a hotspot!
It took me a few hours to work out the lights and curtains, as there aren’t any switches – it’s all hot dot touchpads. I stood there for a bit just power opening and closing the curtains – juvenile but fun! And the bathroom – you could live in there! All I can say is: Now I know why all those hijinks happen in those rock star rooms! They’re built for it. Just lucky I didn’t have ANY spare moments to get into any such trouble!
Seriously though, the service and facilities at the FPR (Fairmont Pacific Rim) are outstanding! We have our Pewsey Vale Riesling on at the Raw Bar/Lobby Bar to go with all the sushi and sashimi, but if that’s not your thing they have “giovane” (means “young” in Italian), which is the bakery and deli. Check out the sugar bun if you have a sweet tooth. I looked at one and put on a kilo! There’s the sugar and new chocolate version that they bake daily themselves, made with butter pastry and filled with either vanilla or choc cream. My pick of it all? The tempura prawn rolls and poached chicken with ginger from the raw bar. How healthy is that!
Being so close to the action is really important for this event, as there’s a lot of contact hours and consecutive sessions and events. Here was my schedule for the Thursday:
11.15am – 1.30pm (glorious late start after the late finish at Point Grey last night)
Trade Days Lunch – where we sit in our distributor “stables” with invited key trade and press guests, and this is the formal opening with the welcome speeches. I was lucky enough to get Jason from The Boathouse restaurant, sitting next to me, and we had a grand old catch up.
1.30 – 5pm
Festival Exhibition Session – Trade Only
This is where the trade has access to all 200-odd wineries in the exhibition hall, and you generally see a non-stop stream of folks from all facets of the Vancouver and British Columbia trade. (There is also trade from other Canadian provinces, plus this year quite a few from the Pacific Northwest US states.)
7 – 10pm
Festival Exhibition Consumer Session
This is open to everybody and is one of three evening sessions that were sold out this year. I reckon there were several thousand people in the place each night, and you basically pour and talk your face off from go to wo!
Joined the rest of the wineries in our MAB stable at a suite in the FPR hotel for some late dinner and to compare notes on the event thus far.
I didn’t have any extra events Thursday, so it was a softer start than I’m used to – no complaints here!