What a wonderful event, such a joy to attend! So many events, so many amazing wines, knowledgeable people to meet and chat with. Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers and exhibitors, and of course, the wineries of the world.
In all, 173 wineries from 15 countries, participated in the 2018 festival which took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, as well as a few additional locations throughout the city.
The featured countries this year were Spain and Portugal. I was very impressed with how at very single winery one was greeted with a warm smile and greeting. They all took great pleasure in presenting and describing their wines. Read more.
Canada was represented by British Columbia and one winery from Nova Scotia, L’Acadie Vineyards. The provincial boundary shipping laws may have prevented Ontario and other provinces from attending.
My first day (Thursday) began with a visit to Painted Rock where I was greeted by owner John Skinner and his charming daughter Lauren. Painted Rock is one of British Columbia's top wineries well known for its quality wines. I found their 2015 Syrah to be exceptional!
Next was L’Acadie Vineyards where I was greeted by owner-winemaker Bruce Ewert and his lovely wife Pauline Scott. This is a winery that produces tantalizing sparkling wines. After a long chat with the couple I was off to visit the BC wineries, in random order based on opportunity.
Black Sage was next with winemaker Jason James pouring their wines. I liked their Cab Franc and was also impressed by their 2015 Zinfandel. Now on to C C Jentsch, where the Viognier 2016 was very good.
Time Winery was the nest stop where Christa-Lee McWatters Bond poured a very good Meritage. Time was followed by See Ya Later Ranch were I chatted with winemaker David Saysomack while enjoying their Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris.
Cassini Cellars poured a very good 'Nobilus Merlot" 2013 followed by CedarCreek and their impressive wines. The next opening was at Harpers Trail from Kamloops, I enjoyed their Pioneer Block Riesling. Also from Kamloops was Monte Creek Ranch where General Manager Erik Fisher poured pretty good Rose and Riesling.
Note: These visits actually occurred over three sessions (2 days) whites on the first go around and reds after that. On Thursday evening I attended Blackwood Lane's hospitality suite and was treated to tastes of their outstanding wines along with a most welcome appy table.
It is always a pleasure to see Heleen Pannekoek from Fort Berens Estate Winery, located in Lilloet, a very charming lady.
Winemaker Danny Hattingh was there also, one of the few wineries to have two main principals at the table. All their wines are five star.
Perhaps the biggest smiles of the event were provided by Okanagan Crush Pads' Operations Manager, Julian Scholefield I was lucky enough to have her guide me through tastings at two tables, Haywire and Narrative. Waters and Banks Sauvignon Blanc was a very good wine from Haywire. Narrative impressed me with their Riesling 2016.
Hester Creek had its powerful lineup of reds with The Judge 2013, and the Reserve Cabernet Franc 2014 being most impressive.
I had a most enjoyable session chatting with winemaker Jim Faulker at Mt. Boucheries Winery on the West Bank I liked their Gamay grown in the Similkameen. The Semilon was impressive too. A quick stop at Poplar Grove, no principle available, I enjoyed the Pinot Gris 2016.
Quails Gate Chenin Blanc was excellent.
Tightrope Winery was next up, chatting with owner Graham O'Rourke sipping a very good collection of wines including Riesling 2016 and Meritage 2013 made it very enjoyable.
Another very good tasting session at Tinhorn Creek, wines poured by Andrew Moon. A very good cellar of wines.
While on a lunch break I was joined by owner-winemaker of Misconduct Winery Richard da Silva, and his wife Twylla. It was a great conversation thank you Richard and Twylla.
Now, not to be forgotten, Sake! Vancouver has a very good Sake winery on Granville Island, known as Artisan Sake Maker, which holds the title of Canada's first sake winery. Their Fraser Valley Junmai Skae " Renaissance" is amazing!
Thank you VIWF a most enjoyable event!