This was our first time attending Taste BC, an annual event put on by Liberty Merchant Company and benefiting the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Hosted at the Pan Pacific Hotel on January 22nd 2015, this event has raised over $200K since its inaugeration 21 years ago. With tickets only $49.99 for a night of sampling BC’s best in imbibements and delicacies, and knowing that all proceeds are going to a great local cause, this is a must go-to event for Winecouverites!
Taste BC is a great way to sample wines, beers and spirits from over 70 wineries, breweries and distilleries from all over BC, in around two hours – an otherwise logistically impossible tasting tour! Not that we wouldn’t have preferred touring through the beautiful BC vineyard landscapes, but this was an efficient way of doing a large scale tasting of so many different regions – some stretching hundreds of kilometers from each other – in the middle of the winter and in the comfort of our own backyard, i.e. the warm and glistening Pan Pacific Hotel (just look at the photo above – the ceiling was literally full of sparkling chandeliers, which we will accept as the urban equivalent of the glittering lakes of BC!).
We happily sipped the newest vintages from some of our favourite Okanagan wineries – Poplar Grove, Meyer Family, Hester Creek, Tinhorn Creek – and learned of new wineries to add to our “must visit list”, for example the small, family-run Daydreamer Wines in Naramata. We were excited to taste wines from outside the Okanagan region, such as 40 Knots from Comox, BC, or the Mead wines from Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery in Sooke, BC, as well as some of BC’s finest beers and spirits from Pemberton Distillery, Howe Sounds Brewing, and Tod Creek Craft Cider. We couldn’t help but feel proud to be from a province that produces such a wide variety of high quality wine, spirits and beer. For a full list of participants, see here.
To pair with our beverage tastings was a wonderful variety of local culinary samples (no simple bread and cheese plate stations here!), such as fresh ceviche from Commercial Drive’s La Mezcaleria, artisan cheeses from Salt Spring Island Cheeses, deluxe chocolates from Zimt Artisan Chocolates, and favourite treats from our local Rodney’s Oyster House. These were nice pit stops between tasting booths to ensure that we were pacing ourselves appropriately and not over-imbibing. A hard feat to achieve with so many tempting tasting tables!
Overall, this event was a great value for all it offered: a fantastic selection of high quality tastings from various BC regions; knowledgable and friendly winemakers, brewers, distillers and reps to discuss their products with; and excellent local artisan food pairings to complement the tastings. Because of the smaller scale of this event (compare it to the grander Vancouver International Wine Festival), we were able to actually make it around the room, which felt like quite the accomplishment. To top this all off, your money is supporting a great local cause, so you can feel good about your night out (even if you don’t feel so good the next morning…you should have spent more time at the food tables!)
Heather’s Pick of the Night: “I loved Misconduct’s Suspect Series Chardonnay and Viognier blend that winemaker Rick da Silva pulled from under the table. Jeff also very much enjoyed the (“above the table”) Chardonnay! We visited Misconduct Winery last summer and loved our visit there, so I was thrilled to see that beautiful blue label at the event, and was not disappointed!”
Jeff’s Pick of the night: “I was impressed by the wines from Saskatchewan grain-farmer-turned-wine-maker, Tyler Harlton from TH Wines (I might be a little biaised since I’m from Saskatchewan). This new Summerland winery (opened in 2011) has produced a number of 90 point wines, including my pick – the Viognier 2013 – crisp and fruity, with a long subtle finish.” The TH Viognier 2013 was also chosen by Taste BC judges as a silver medal winner. For the results of people’s choice and official judge picks, see here.
This was one of our favourite wine tasting events to date and we look forward to next year!