North America's first Indigenous winemaker to host long-table dinner at Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver

Nk'Mip Cellars' Justin Hall will be pairing wines at the waterfront festival's Indigenous Feast

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      When the Harmony Arts Festival hits the West Vancouver waterfront August 2 to 11 for its 29th year, it will see the return of the Indigenous Feast.

      The long-table dinner, which debuted last year, has become one of the fest’s most popular and significant events.

      And for the 2019 edition, Nk’Mip Cellars winemaker Justin Hall will be in attendance as host.

      Working out of the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America alongside senior winemaker Randy Picton, he’s also the continent’s first Indigenous winemaker.

      A proud member of the Osoyoos Indian band, Hall started out at the winery cleaning equipment right after high school. He went on to earn a post-graduate diploma in Enology and Viticulture from New Zealand’s Lincoln University.

      Pronounced in-ka-meep, “Nk’Mip” translates to “bottomland”, referring to the band’s location the southern end of the Osoyoos reservation, which was registered under the Indian Act in 1877. 

      Of the numerous awards the winery has earned over the years, NK’Mip Cellars earned its first gold award last spring at the Chardonnay du Monde competition, which is held annually in France.

      At Harmony Arts Festival’s Indigenous Feast, Hall will select wines to pair with family-style dishes being prepared using traditional and modern techniques by the Indigenous team at Salmon n’ Bannock.

      The menu features fried bannock with pemmican berry mousse; braised, smoked duck wing with house-made “Shake n’ Bake-style” Ojibwe grits, wild mushrooms, and maple-scented coleslaw; and a salmon duo consisting of a sockeye-ceviche cup and smoked candy salmon with maple drizzle.

      Then there’s a bison pot roast with roasted vegetables and baby potatoes as well as Haida Gwaii snapper in garlic cream with potato hay, to be followed by a wild-berry dessert.  

      The evening will begin in the traditional ways of the Coast Salish peoples, whose territory Ambleside Landing is located on, with singing, drumming, and dancing. 

      Presented by Odlum Brown, Harmony Arts Festival has more than 50 free live musical performances and concerts on two stages, as well as art markets, outdoor cinema nights, multiple culinary experiences, and more. Read more about the fest here.

      The Indigenous Feast, in partnership with BMO Bank of Montreal, takes place on August 6 at 6 p.m. Tickets, $95, and more details are at Harmony Arts Festival