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Cornucopia 2022, signature tastings

Cornucopia is Whistler’s food and drink festival celebrated during their shoulder season. (A term I recently found out meant the time in between seasons where there is still not enough snow on the mountains to ski or snowboard). The goal is to bring visitors up to the ski town with drink and food offerings.

This year I drove up the first weekend of the two week-long event, staying two nights, to be able to attend 2 of their larger scale tasting events, here is that recap.

On Friday November 11th we began our night self-pouring top shelf bottles and mingling with the industry professionals. We talked shop and grazed on an impressive long table charcuterie by Picnic Whistler. A help yourself assortment of fresh fruit, dried nuts, cured meats, sharp cheeses, crackers, chips and dips; plus, everything in between. All curated with wintery props like a sled and real moose antler. This was a wonderful way to balance your drinking with continual nibbling. An assortment we would later revisit at the end of the night.

Then we would gravitate towards the main hall for Cellar Door, a tasting style event that promises the ability to sample fine wines and champagnes, with the uncorking of top-shelf bottles valued at $35 and up. Not just wine from BC, but from different regions around the world as well.

This is a free for all. You grab a glass and visit table by table, trying all or any of the bottles of your choosing. My advice for this is to scout ahead and mark off the wineries you are most excited about and visit them first. There are limited bottles and with unlimited pours it is first come first served, and the more popular booths do run dry first.

I won’t be going to each of the options or the wine(s) that we tried with them, because truthfully, you do loose track and count at the excitement of being able to have it all. Instead, here are some photos of some memorable pours.

I did fully appreciate the food options. Not enough to replace a meal, but if you amalgamate the creamy ravioli from Milestones, it can be a substantial bite.

There was also beef and potato with gravy on a stick for easy consumption. A smoke salmon and cream cheese crepe with asparagus and sprouts rolled into a wrap. A warm butternut squash soup served in a cup. Cheese from a local vendor. And desserts like a creme burlee cheesecake and a raspberry cream mousse. And if you approach any wine table with food in hand, the experts were sure to point you in the direction of the wine that best paired with it.

On Saturday November 12th, it was the CRUSH Grand Tasting, referred to as the flagship tasting event of Cornucopia. Like the Cellar Door, but at a much larger scale with all the same wineries and double the vendors. The same principle applies: you travel the room to sip, sample and savour your way through dozens of wineries. From New World to Old World, Merlot to Champagne, there is something for everyone and every palate. Those in attendance include the following.

Participating Wineries:

Back Door Winery
Barbanera s.r.l.
Black Swift Vineyards
Blasted Church Vineyards
Boekenhoutskloof Winery
Bordertown Vineyards and Estate Winery
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Café De Paris
Carpineto Wines of Tuscany
Chateau Montelena Winery
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
City Side Winery
Covert Farms Family Estate
Crown and Thieves
Delicato Family Wines
Dirty Laundry Vineyard
Earthling Wines
Empson Wines
Erath Winery
Família Torres
Fort Berens Estate Winery
Fox & Archer Estate Winery
Foxtrot Vineyards
Frind Estate Winery
Garden of Granite Winery
Gold Hill Winery
Haywire by Okanagan Crush Pad
Henricsson Vineyard
Jackson Family Wines
Jackson Parkes Customs
Kettle Valley Winery
Lakeside Cellars
Lone Tree Cellars
Marchesi Mazzei
Marques de Riscal
Mathilde Chapoutier Sélection
Moraine Estate Winery
OPUS (non-alcoholic)
Peak Cellars
Peju Winery
Pentâge Winery
Phantom Creek Estates
Philippe Dandurand Wines Ltd.
Poplar Grove
Raymond Vineyards
Renaissance Wine Merchants
Road 13 Vineyards
Santa Margherita Wines
Siren’s Call Wines
Stella and Mosca
Tenuta Belguardo
Thomas Allen Vineyards
TIME Family of Wines
Two Tradesmen
Univins & Spirits
Villa Marcello
Wesbert Winery
Zeni 1870

Participating Chefs and Restaurant’s:

Barn Nork
Bob likes Thai Food
Center Plate Whistler Conference Centre
Chef Alana Maas of Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver
Cold Comforts Kitchen
Merina Koly
Milestones Whistler
SIDECUT Steakhouse

In short, if you are only to attend one event during Cornucopia, this year or any; this is the one you do for the most value and the ability to try the most.

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