Confirmed conference reservation, purchased airline tickets to and from Seattle, WA, hotel in Seattle, pre-excursion to Lake Chelan area, hotel in Penticton, British Columbia all booked. Passport renewal in new name submitted and now working on transportation back to Seattle. New liver, well let’s hope I don’t need one. So just what is this trip I’m planning? The Wine Blogger’s Conference 2013 (WBC13) to be held this June in Penticton, British Columbia where wine geeks meet to drink, talk and learn more about wine and the surrounding area.
There is one thing missing though, the availability of Canadian wine in my area. Other than Ice Wine, I have very little experience with wine from our northern neighbors. With this year’s conference I am looking forward to experiencing Canada and their wine industry. The conference is a great place to network, meet people face to face that you have as Facebook friends put ultimately for many of us, it’s about the wine experience.
I’m looking forward to experiencing a part of North America I’ve never visited and I’m very interested in and curious to enjoy the local wines. In the past 20 years the number of Canadian wineries has grown from around 30 to 700 with more than 200 in British Columbia alone. Being that the US is Canada’s biggest wine export, why is it like a treasure hunt to locate a Canadian grown varietal outside of Ice Wine in my region? I wonder if states like New York, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Illinois and the like fare better with their wine selection.
Canada’s two biggest wine producing areas are Okanagan Valley of British Columbia and Niagara Peninsula of southern Ontario. Additional smaller areas include the Similkameen Valley, the Fraser Valley, southern Vancouver Island, the Creston Valley, in the Kootenay area and the Gulf Islands all located in British Columbia. In additon to the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario also produces wine Prince Edward County, Pelee Island and the north shores of Lake Erie.
A few varietals I’m hoping to sample:
Chancellor, a fruity wine with raspberry and cherry notes.
Barber, a red Italian grape with low tannins and high acidity.
Bacco Noir a hybrid red grape known for early ripening producing medium bodied, fruit forward wines with red berry, wood and spice flavors.
Carménère , I find this to be a very pretty wine in California varietals and curious to see what effects cold weather has on the flavors.
Cabernet Franc, a major black grape grown worldwide the flavor profile can range from fruity to herbal.
Auxerrois, cold hardy with sugars similar to Riesling but lower acids.
Blattner, not commonly grown but can be found in coastal areas of British Columbia. Notes of apple, pear and honey.
Bacchus, a white grape created by viticulturist Peter Morio in 1933 by crossing Silvanere x Riesling with Müller –Thurgau.
Chasselas Blanc, produces a full, dry, fruity wine.
The list of varietals grown throughout Canada is vast and while my “home base” will be in British Columbia, I’m hoping other regions are well represented as well. As a WBC12 scholarship recipient and now a two year veteran I’m eager to speak with first timers and get their perspective on the conference. I’m also hoping next year they’ll bring it back to the east coast so I can save some cash on airfare.
Another thing I’m hoping to save on is my hotel stay. Wine’dUp and My Wine Concierge are offering a two night stay at the host hotel, The Penticton Lakeside Resort. If you’re looking for so much needed wine accessories, fridges, decanters, glasses or anything wine related, check out My Wine Concierge. For wine info, tastings, events, recipes and more, be sure to check out the Wine’dUp website.