Robert Bell's Wines of Canada

Vancouver International Wine Festival

Vancouver International Wine Festival 2020

The wonderful world of wines comes together each year at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. When Vancouver welcomes the world's greatest wine producers and wine drinkers to its annual celebration of wine and food. The eight-day extravaganza showcased 163 wineries from 15 countries, including 42 wineries from France. France was this years featured country.

This year 33 British Columbia Wineries took part in the festival. Featuring some amazing wines, proving once again Canada ranks among the world best. I spent three days, eighteen hours at the festival coming home with a true appreciation for the organizers of this event and a even greater appreciation for a good pair of comfortable shoes.

It was, of course, impossible to visit all the wineries, much of the time been consumed by conversion with winemakers and winery owners. I did taste wines from France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Croatia and Canada.

My festival got off to a really good start as I entered the tasting room the first winery I saw was Vancouver Island's Averill Creek Vineyard. I shook hands with owner Andy Johnston who introduced me to his new winemaker Brent Roland. Brent took me through a brief tasting experience, featuring some excellent wines under their Joue Label.

Next I visited with Jennifer Turton-Molgate owner of The View Winery in Kelowna. This winery features a very impressive cellar of wines. Try the Pinot Noir and 2017 Pinotage Reserve.

It was a pleasure to see the brother team of Don and Michael Bartier They have some really good whites. The 2018 Viognier was one of the best wines in the festival!

Perhaps the best dressed couple at the event was Jesce and Charles Baessler matching their line of top rated wines. I had a nice long chat with Charles. The Gewürztraminer was impressive!

Then I spotted Chaberton from the Fraser Valley home of one of BC's best Bacchus. I was quickly greeted by general manager Brain Ensor and enjoyed a brief chat before sampling their fantastic Bacchus.

I visited Naramata Bench's Bench 1775 enjoying two really good whites 2018 Viognier and a white Merlot.

One cannot live on wine alone so set to find some refreshment. La Grotta de Formaggie offered a nice sample plate. I also selected a nice plate with prosciutto ham from Arc Iberico imports.

After a brief snack I visited Bordertown and chatted with owner Mohan Gill. Try their 2018 Pinot Gris. Later I returned to the table to once again chat with Mr Gill and marketing manager Cindy Ferrie. This time Mohan guided me through his excellent collection of reds.

I just had to stop at Popular Groves table and sample their Pinot Gris 2018. Good as always!

One winemaker I definitely wanted to say hello to was James Cambridge who had move from the Fraser Valley to the famous Lillooet winery Fort Berens. It was a pleasure talking with James and enjoying their wines. Later I would bumped into owner Heleen Pannekoek and receive a very warm greeting.

Day one ended with Christa-Lee McWatters of Time Winery who had recently lost her father Harry McWatters a beloved a respect pioneer of the wine industry in BC.

Among those I had a chance to chat with were Jason James winemaker at Black Sage. Taylor Whelan of Cedar Creek and Leeann Froese, Giulia Sa Barreto of Townhal Brands.

The next day I started with Haywire from Okanagan Crush Pad enjoying their Gamay 2018.Then moving on to Indigenous World Winery one of Okanagan's newest wineries. One must try their Muscat 2018.

One such never miss an opportunity to try La Frenz wines. They have an excellent collection of white wines

Also featuring a fine collection of whites is Moraine under the guidance of Dwight Sick. Try the 2018 Riesling.

A warm handshake with John Skinner owner of Painted Rock and the experience of enjoying some of BC's best reds. Here I met the owner of West Kelowna's newest winery Markus Frind of Frinds Estate Winery.

Speaking of Reds Osoyoos Larose was my next stop were I enjoyed a tasting of top quality wines with winemaker Caroline Schaller.

The room was getting quite busy especially the British Columbia section so I decided to move along and seek out some of the other countries.

When I returned to the BC section I first visted with Tightropes winemaker Lyndsay O'Rourke enjoying her cellar of fine wines.

Paid quick visits with Tim Turyk of Unsworth Vineyards from the Cowichan Valley, Okanagan's Tinhorn Creek, the new Phanton Creek winery and then it was time for a seminar called "Unknown Grapes"

Perhaps one of the best wines of the festival belonged to Hester Creek Estate Winery on the Golden Mile Bench Their 2019 Trebbiano WOW!

Robert;s Selections

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