There was no way that I was going to sample more than 350 wines in two hours, so instead, I chose to focus on new-to-me B.C. wineries when I attended Chef Meets B.C. Grape. The ninth annual wine and food fundraiser for the Arts Club Theatre took place at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre on June 5, and attendees had a little over two hours to explore 95 wineries from across the province.
Most of my wine knowledge is on relatively established wineries located in Kelowna, Naramata, Oliver, and Osoyoos. I’m also more familiar with wines from Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands after sipping my way through the Wine Islands Spring Tasting in Victoria earlier this year. One wine region I don't know much about is the Shuswap, so I was quite excited to meet Recline Ridge Winery at the event. My favourite of their wines was the 2009 Ortega, which is refreshing and fruity, with peach and apricot notes. Their Kerner is also popular and has strong green apple flavour.
Another new-to-me winery will be new to everyone. Winemaker Michael Bartier has been in the business for a long time, and he’s getting ready to launch Bartier Bros., located in the Okanagan valley, with his brother Don. Their wines aren’t in liquor stores yet, but I’m looking forward to when they do become available. Their Semillon, which is grown on the Black Sage Bench, is summery and light; the Goal—a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, and Syrah—is smooth and complex.
In between all this wine sipping (and occasional spitting), I also had a chance to sample most of the food at the event. Chefs from 16 Vancouver restaurants and a few from outside of the city, such as Tinhorn Creek Vineyards’ Miradoro restaurant, prepared small dishes that paired with wine. My favourites of the night included Cibo Trattoria’s duck paté, Tableau Bar Bistro’s oxtail croquette and consommé, and a Provence Restaurants’ spot-prawn canapé.