Vancouver, we made it!

9.23am, Sunday 22nd February 2015, Canada Place, Vancouver, Canada

Morning folks, and I have landed in Vancouver – with all my luggage! – after a two day trek, starting back on Friday evening in Angaston, Barossa Valley…..roughly 12500 km away. And folks “all my luggage” includes about 42 kg of booklets for different events that we’re doing with the Vancouver Wine Festival throughout the next week, corkscrews, my decanting kit for the big reds, and maps of the Australian wine regions showing our vineyards that will make up the ‘tablecloth’ for our tasting bench at the Festival. The maps were designed by our fabulous in house designers – thanks to Jimmy the rev head and his crew – and help enormously to explain our world at the consumer and trade sessions that are a big part of the Festival.

So our trek to the Vancouver Wine Festival went a bit like this – drive down to Adelaide from the Barossa, stay in Adelaide overnight, 4.30am start to catch a plane to Melbourne, change to a much bigger plane – thanks Qantas for the ride in the big bird named ‘Reginald Ansett’ after one of our local commercial aviation pioneers – and the long haul up to Los Angeles. Then navigate the ugly construction site that is currently Los Angeles International airport, through their legendary rubbish security setup, and into the sardine can setup of Terminal 2 as its being renovated. Thanks go here to the folks at The Pie Hole coffee and pie / breakfast spot – they’re working in crazy difficult congested conditions looking after an endless stream of folks travelling to Canada, Mexico and China!! So it was coffee here, and grab a sandwich for the plane, and the lunchtime flight to Vancouver with Westjet.

Through customs in Vancouver and yay! – there’s both of my suitcases on the belt – big win! Dumped my bags at the Pan Pacific hotel – excellent choice thanks, seeing as it’s right next door to the Convention Centre, home of the Vancouver Wine Festival for the next week – and over the road for my first Tim Hortons cafe mocha and maple iced donut.Mmmmmm……that means we’re back in Canada. Then a quick change of clothes and its off to the Pacific Coliseum, home ice to the local junior hockey team – the Vancouver Giants. It’s always difficult to get into the local time zone, so the easiest way is to do something on the first night that pushes you to say awake past 6pm. Otherwise you flake out as soon as 4 or 5 pm comes around, but you’re wide awake at 2 or 3 am.

Lucky for me that the Vancouver Giants were home to the Kamloops Blazers, and it was a top game! Fast, aggressive hockey with two top goalies – each having a red hot game, and only one goal getting through……fortunately for us it was for the local side. Well done the Giants goalie Payton Lee – all of 18 years old – we’ll definitely see him down the track in the NHL!! Then collapsed into bed, out like a light, and got a solid first night on the decks sleep. You have to do everything you can to get set up well for this Vancouver Wine Festival week – it’s a magic exhibition, and we’re fortunate as Australia is this years feature wine producing country, but it is a marathon.

So we’re here, and today’s job is to unpack all the gear and get set up for this evening’s event – a charity dinner that we’re doing with local top wine scribe Anthony Gismondi, the Vancouver Sun newspaper, the Hawksworth restaurant, and the Adopt-A-School program. Adopt-A-School is an incredible thing – it identifies different needs of schools across the Vancouver metro area, and puts what is needed directly in place. This includes before school literacy programs combined with breakfast, after school activity programs with snacks, special needs audio visual equipment, co ordinated out of school educational excursions – the list goes on. The Vancouver Sun newspaper supports Adopt-A-School, and with Gismondi as their main wine words man – have been incredibly supportive of the Australian Wine Industry and Yalumba – so we’re thrilled to bits to be able to give something back by being involved in tonight’s dinner at Hawksworth. At the end of the day, our event this evening will fund meals at one Vancouver school in need for a year. That’s a good thing!

So here’s the pictures for the last two days trek to Vancouver, we’re here, and we’re working tonight…..on a good thing. See you later on.

PS oh yes – nearly forgot. Right across the road is Miku restaurant – fabulous does not do their food justice! I’ll be there every opportunity I can – their edamame beans and sushi are my secret weapon to stay on top of this week’s schedule!

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