10.41pm, Friday 27th February, Pan Pacific Hotel , The Waterfront next to the Convention Centre where the Van Wine Fest is being staged, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Evening folks, just got back from the consumer session at the Van Wine Fest, the “Barossa’s Old Vine Heritage” seminar before that, and the Trade Tasting Session before that. It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint this Van Wine Fest – but the level of interest is so high, folks come from all over Canada and now the USA to this event, and the circuit of seminars and dinners that make up the wine week are so well supported – that you just have to throw yourself into it and plough on!
I’m going to try something a bit different and put words and pictures together, instead of all the pictures at the end, so please bear with me.
Our day started at 9am with breakfast at the Acme Cafe, which is down on East Hastings street, just before it gets a bit ‘sketchy’ as the locals call it. I like the Acme Cafe, and never fail to put on a kilo every time I stand there and gaze at their cake stands. This morning we took two gals from our fab Seattle distributor – Noble Wines – to breakfast as part of their ‘come to the Vancouver Wine Festival’ prize for winning a sales incentive. Acme Cafe do their own very special version of Eggs Benedict called ‘Baked Eggs Benny’ and it’s ham, egg and muffin – but all layered ‘lasagna’ fashion and baked in a deep dish, served on shredded potato hash browns. Top start to the day, then it was off to pack my kit for Day 3 of the Vancouver Wine Festival. Corkscrew, soft drink, snacks, info booklets, ID pass & ticket, and most importantly….your individual event day by day schedule.
First up the Trade Tasting Session …1.30 – 5pm dedicated for retail and restaurant trade only. We had a very VIP visitor today, the excellent young sommelier Jason Yamakazi from Chambar restaurant – Yep, that’s where we did our “Wizards of Oz” dinner Tuesday night. All I’ll say is “you just had to be there!! The stars aligned….the food, the wine, the sold out in 6 hours from ticket release company, and the stories”. The announcement was made this morning – Jason has been named the top sommelier for British Columbia, and now goes on to compete for the national title in Toronto. Superb result, and all the very best from all of us Jason.
So, it worked! Matching words and picture, on we go!
I left the Trade Tasting Session early, to be on the panel for the seminar ” Barossa’s Old Vine Heritage” with the absolutely lovely Bernie Hickin from Jacobs Creek, our local Barossa Grape & Wine Assoc guy James March, and the super staunch supporter of the Australian Wine Industry – local Vancouver hero wine scribe Anthony Gismondi. I’m starting to run out of steam as its just ticked past midnight and it’s another big day tomorrow, so to keep it short and sweet…..this set of wines sets the bar high for any region anywhere, and yes of course I’m biased – I love the place – but I saw some wines from my own region today for the first time and it stopped me in my tracks. We have something seriously special with capital S’s in these old vine Barossa wines…….not a shadow of doubt in my mind that they are a vinous force to be reckoned with, and I was proud as punch to be there to tell stories about the Barossa in and around them. Today was a good day. Here’s the pic of what the wines looked like from where I sat, plus a few of what these old vines actually look like in the ground. Tomorrow I’ll add in the list of wines, as well as the Old Vine Charter that has come into play in the Barossa in reference to the tremendous viticultural treasure trove that we have in these old timer vines of ours.