So, I spent this past weekend pouring wine at the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival at the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton, and it was awesome! I have spent the better part of the last two years trying to explain to people from all over the globe that Edmonton, and Alberta as a whole is a wine market bursting at the seams and about to explode. If I got one thing from this past weekend, it is that I am absolutely correct, and I couldn’t be happier.
I brought in a great friend of mine from the Toronto area to help with the huge demand of pouring wine for 12,000 people, and he couldn’t stop saying how great the vibe was, how interested the guests were in what they were tasting, and not just looking to get a buzz. Many wine and food events turn in to a bit of a drinking festival, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be a bit disheartening for passionate winemakers and representatives.
The most uplifting thing about working this past weekend event, is that I lost my voice by Sunday after answering all of the questions and explaining our wines over and over again, and you will never hear me complain about that. I love wine and food so much that I decided to turn it in to a career, and I banked on the consumers of Alberta to share that passion – well this weekend proved to me that I made the right decision. What is even more exciting than that, is the fact that we are at the start of something special. The wine scene is still in its infancy here in Edmonton.
Most restaurants still do not employ a fully dedicated sommelier, or even really put a focus on the importance of pairing their food with the right wine, so it is a real treat when you find one that does. The part in all of this that I am most excited about is that the consumers of Edmonton are the real drivers of new discoveries and push the availability of great wines in the right direction, as long as they are asking for it. So, after this weekend, I am completely charged with enthusiasm knowing I am in a city full of so many wine enthusiasts that seem to be asking for more, and are willing to accept the next wave of new and exciting wines, and the Edmonton wine industry is chomping at the bit to deliver and you can find fantastic wines from all regions at Characters Restaurant to enjoy.
By: TJ Harstine/Certified Sommelier
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