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California Beach Party, VIWF2022

This week’s Vancouver International Wine Festival festivities have kicked off, and we were attending our first tasting of the week.

This was a one of a kind way to introduce California Wine. Instead of a serious sit down seminar, or even a formal booth set up for sample pours, this event allowed guest to mix and mingle and take in wine as it should be taken: Slowly sipped, amongst great company, in a lively setting.

This is the California Beach Party, sponsored by California Wines and Granville Island. Uniquely held in one of Granville Island’s covered parkades, shielded from the elements.

Guests are invited to get into character with rainbow leis and a plastic collectable cup. Then from one table to the next, sample and taste their way through 10 different California wine producers, who have brought out their favourite white/rose and reds to help celebrate the night. Bottles are limited and poured until they are out. So guests were determined to hit them all and go back for seconds of their favourites. Like many, we ran around the room trying the whites before going another turn for the reds.

The following were the California wines being poured. Followed by photos of the nibbles being offered.

Bread & Butter Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Dave Phinney Wines
Orin Swift Cellars Abstract 2019
Orin Swift Machete 2018

Josh Cellars
Pinot Grigio 2020
Central Coast Pinot Noir 2020

The Prisoner Wine Company
Unshackled Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Unshackled Rosé 2019

Rodney Strong Wine Estates
Knotty Vines California Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Knotty Vines California Chardonnay 2018

Shannon Family of Wines
Shannon Ridge Buck Shack Rose 2020
Buck Shack Bourbon Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Stags’ Leap Winery
Napa Valley Chardonnay 2020

Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast 2018
Chardonnay Central Coast 2019

Wente Vineyards
Morning Fog Chardonnay 2020
Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Wagner Family of Wines
Conundrum White 2020
Conundrum Red 2019

Small bites were chauffeured around the open space, catered by Granville Island’s The Fish Company. We all started with seafood to pair with the white, and went red meat when everyone transitioned to red wine. Crab salad on an endive, salmon sashimi on cucumber, avocado sushi, cocktail shrimp with dip, bacon wrapped scallop, pork baos, and steak skewers. And like the wine, these were first come first served, and eat all you want to and can until it is gone. It was enough for me to want to visit The Fish Company for a full meal, to better enjoy their cuisine.

I was initially worried that they would pack the venue and guests would be kept waiting in lines all night. Lines for wine and lines to play the games like giant jenga and connect four, or the tic tac toe basketball throw. But there was just the right number of guests in attendance. Plenty of roving room and standing tables to linger and make new friends at. And these minimal waits extended to the outdoor trailer washrooms, with proper flushable toilets.

In closing, this was a great event and a fun way to try and learn more about California wines; all of which were completely new to me. So be sure to look out for this one next year!

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