Winefest Calgary 2017 is an annual wine festival held in Edmonton and Alberta, where wineries from various countries around the world showcase their wine alongside various local food vendors. It’s a time to enjoy tasting red, white, sparkling, port and dessert wines from different regions, while also enjoying cheese, canapés and chocolate.
As a Calgary food blogger, I was invited to go to Winefest’s Media and Industry Session this year, which I gladly accepted! This year, it was located in the BMO Centre on the Calgary Stampede grounds.
When we arrived, we were greeted with friendly reception, a tasting notebook and a complimentary wine glass. It was our first time at Winefest, so we didn’t know what to expect.
There were three hallways of wineries on both sides (so 6 rows of wine in total), with some food vendors included in the mix. Cocktail tables littered the whole floor, along with servers walking around with hors d’œuvres, and roast tables & chefs. My friend, Kiel, joined me today as a fellow wine lover.
Our method of tackling Winefest: drink some wine, eat some food, and then drink some more wine (no, I am NOT an alcoholic). It was our goal to sample wine from each country, and eat food from all the food vendors.
Wine All Over the World
A number of wineries from all over the world were present at Winefest! The major players were there: Italy, France, Spain, Chile, USA, Australia, South Africa, Portugal, Germany and Argentina. But, minor players were also present like Canada (of course), Moldova, Greece, Hungary, New Zealand, Holland and Mexico.
As expected, the wine from each country had different flavours…I hope I could describe all the wine better, but my palette isn’t very sophisticated and I can’t describe wine well.
Some people have preferences for wine: red, white, port, sparkling or dessert. I’m a red wine person, but the other types of wine have their own time and place.
The Relax Red from Germany was a nice dessert wine, and was quite mellow (good for beginners). Holland’s Choco Wine was also a tasty chocolate wine for those craving liquid chocolate booze. 🙂
Our favourite wine was Freixenet’s Semi Seco—a semi-dry white wine that was only a little sweet, and is perfect for entertaining.
I loved that we were able to talk to the producers and sometimes the sommelier, because it gave me a sense of where and how the wine was produced. It’s also very inspiring to hear them talk about wine with such passion!
We noticed that each booth had a couple buckets and pitchers of water. Why? Well, I’ve seen wine tasting in the movies and TV shows, but apparently the bucket is there for you to discard the extra wine in your glass and/or spit out the wine after tasting.
But why waste good wine?? If it’s there and you paid for it, I say drink it. You’re not a sommelier or a restaurateur; you love wine and you love to drink it. So, I won’t waste my wine. 😉
I was really impressed by the food catered by the BMO Centre!
- Vegan brownies
- Gnocchi with mushroom
- Roast beef
- Vegan beet tartare
The gnocchi was a bit underdone (still tough inside, not al dente), but the flavour was good. The beet tartare is an acquired taste for some, because it’s very earthy.
My favourite were the vegan brownies! They were so moist, chewy, sweet (but not super sweet) and chocolate-y! I ate three pieces that day!
Besides the food provided by BMO Centre, there were a number of other food vendors present:
- Ollia Macarons & Tea, with several macaron flavours
- Fresh is Best Salsa & Co., with tortilla chips and salsas
- Springbank Cheese Co., with their cheese and crackers
- Terra International Foods, with antipasto, drunken beans and Theobroma chocolates
- Oh! Naturals Snacks, with banana chips and and sweet potato sticks
- Master Chocolat (Bernard Callebaut), with his chocolates, and;
- Luc’s European Meats, with their meat specialties
I really enjoyed Oh! Naturals’ banana chips and sweet potato sticks! They were sweet and savoury, which is always so playful on the tongue. Kiel loves Ollia, so she took her time tasting all their macarons. 🙂
We managed to take a photo with the incroyable Bernard Callebaut! His chocolates are amazing, and the salted caramel bonbon we tasted was exquisite!
Besides food vendors, there were other vendors selling miscellaneous goods like wine guards, wine holders, kombucha, and bottle stoppers. One of the things we bought from a vendor was a wine guard for pitchers, when entertaining outside during summer!
Overall Experience at Winefest
I highly recommend wine enthusiasts to go to Winefest! Besides the abundance of different types of wine from different countries, there are also delicious snacks and food to satiate your hunger!
Overall, we had an amazing time at Winefest! I can’t wait to go back next year! Hopefully I’ll be a bit more well-versed in describing wine and tasting wine.