Playhouse Wine Festival begins!

DS Malbec 06BC is the theme region, so let's celebrate!

The Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival began on March 23rd, and continues at several venues during the rest of the week. BC Wine Lover has been anticipating this festival for some time as the "theme region" for this year's fest is the British Columbian wine region.

Bring on the BC, we say! Stacey and I plan to be on-site every day this week, and will feature many interviews and video coverage of this year's festival.

Last night we had the pleasure to attend a food pairing featuring Inniskillin Okanagan's Discovery Series wines at the new Earl's Restaurant on Hornby & Smithe in Downtown Vancouver. Wow, one of our favourite BC winemakers, Sandor Mayer, did not disappoint! The Discovery Series wines included their Chenin Blanc, a unique and flavourful Marssanne Rousanne blend, an exceptional Malbec (probably the best BC Malbec we've tasted yet), a Zinfandel, as well as a Tempranillo Ice Wine.

The surroundings and other guests made it a very pleasant event for us.

During the evening we got to speak to Wine Festival General Manager Harry Hertscheg, who now has been running the event for 8 years. Harry described the year-long preparations as though it was a very long rehearsal for a show, and it felt great to be "uncorked!" and finally welcoming crowds.

We spoke to esteemed wine writer Anthony Gismondi, who has been attending the Playhouse Wine Fest since it's first event 31 years ago. He's proud that BC is finally the featured region, and thinks it's exactly "the right time" for them to shine.

Audio clip from Anthony Gismondi (clip):

Sandor Mayer spoke to us about his featured wines, and told a charming story of having to pick the Tempranillo grapes in the middle of the night on New Year's Eve. "After everyone was partying, they came outside in minus nine degree temperature to pick grapes."

Audio clip from Sandor Mayer (clip):

We also spoke to Sid Cross, Vancouver's great wine lover and critic. He talked about the importance of sharing knowledge of wine and food with today's younger generation, and described how proud he was that the festival that he helped begin 31 years ago had become an important part of the city's cultural scene.

Audio clip from Sid Cross (clip):

As we wrapped up the evening Stacey and I had a good talk with Tim Pawsey, aka the Vancouver Courier's "Hired Belly" wine and food writer. He filled us in on some best bets in the Gulf Island wine scene, and gave us advice on "pacing" oneself during a week long wine festival.

All in all, a great start to the week to come. Stay tuned to BC Wine Lover for more news of the 2009 Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival.