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My good friend Raj Sodhi sent me a link today to CNN about making your own wine. Now, we are not talking about going to the local U Brew and getting a carton of juice. In the wine mecca of San Francisco a savvy entrepreneur has come up with a great idea.

He has developed a custom crush business, where the curious, serious, wine geek or adventurous can make as little as 1 barrel of wine. They provide everything, crush facilities, wine maker, access to quality grapes, bottling and storage facilities. The great thing about this is if you live in the USA, you do not even need to reside in San Fransisco. You can pay your fee, have the wine made with your assistance and have your finished product shipped to you if your state allows it.

Of course, in Canada we are not as forward and liberal thinking as our friends to south. After experiencing the gong show of what has become the Vancouver Wine Festival, it is clear there are many avid wine drinkers or over indulger’s if you will. Assuming that our archaic liquor laws will allow it, an entrepeneur in these parts could probably stand to start a similar business up in the Okanagan and be very successful with it. With wine prices continuing to go up in BC, this could be an opportunity to make quality wine and avoid the plonk of U Brew Its and escalating prices of BC wine.

Hmmmm, maybe the wine snob is onto something? So nobody steal my idea, ok? You can read more about the virtual vino service here.

Before I get into the wines I liked from the festival, a couple of overall comments on this year’s event:

It was too crowded, especially on Saturday night. At points, my wife, who is not very tall, was elbowed, pushed out of the way and cut in front of by unruly wine drinkers. The festival committee would do well to sell a few less tickets.

Australia proved to be a popular host, but many of the wines all tasted the same. While I liked many Aussie wines, far too many, at different price points, have that same jammy, fruit forward taste that is not “wine” in my opinion. It is tough to market and sell a $20.00 bottle of Shiraz when it tastes the same as the $13.00 Yellow Tail.

Nevertheless, here are my favourites, Aussie and otherwise. Prices noted all in Canadian Dollars. Some are available at the BCLS, some at private wine shops and well, some in just Australia. And… there were close to 200 wineries, so I did not hit every one.

Non-Aussie wines:

  • 2002 Bonterra McNab Biodynamic – $46.95 – I love organic wines
  • 2005 Concha Y Toro Trio Sauv Blanc – $14.00 – Summer Sipper
  • 2004 Michael David Earthquake Cab – $45.00 – BBQ Wine
  • 2004 Perrin et Fills “Les Christins – $24.95 – This is great stuff!

Aussie wines:

  • 2003 BVE E&E Black Pepper – $95.00 – It is worth $95 a bottle
  • 2002 BVE Ebenezer – $40.00 – the little brother of E&E
  • 2004 Bleasdale Frank Potts – $34.99 – A lovely Aussie Red Blend
  • 2003 Bleasdale Generations Shiraz – $41.99 – As Shiraz should taste
  • 2005 Vasse Felix Adams Road Chard – $24.99 – Lovely fruit

There were lots of others, but maybe keeping a few secrets is a good thing!

Beef Ternderloin

After a few days off, I am back for what will hopefully be some interesting reading.

Dragon Life thanks for the comments, I will track down some of your suggestions on wine.

In my next post I will give you my favourite wines from the recent Vancouver Wine Festival.

After the festival on Saturday, my wife and I went to Yaletown to have a nice meal and carry on with our wine drinking ways. We went to a lovely restaurant that we have been to many time before. I had Ahi Tuna, my wife had pasta. We drank a nice Pinot Noir and everything was going well.

A crowd of ladies came into the restaurant and sat beside us. They ordered the usual assortment of martini’s and other concoctions, as they were dressed to hit the clubs after dinner and wanted to get a little liquored up. I personally do not like to drink hard liquor with food, but I know a lot of people do not like wine, so whatever floats your boat….

What shocked me was the crowd of ladies proceeded to order rib eye steaks and beef tenderloin and insisted on the meat to be cooked WELL DONE! Ie: dry, rock hard, no taste, why bother ordering it and paying $35.00 CDN for the food!

Why should I be excited, why should I care? Well…. for those of you who used to go to granny’s, or still do, for Sunday roast beef dinner, you will understand my comments. Why would one want to eat a piece of beef that was so overcooked, that you would need a lumpy gravy to add any semblance of moisture, yuck!

As we were leaving, I asked the waiter what he thought about this. He rolled his eyes and said “we get all types in here on the weekends, so what can you do”?

I suppose the restaurant could refuse service, but then you wouldn’t make all that money off of the martinis….

Up next wine festival faves.

Vancouver Wine Festival Vancouver Wine Festival

There are many things that make Vancouver one of the best cities in the world: The people, the beauty, the food, the Canucks, and the WINE FESTIVAL! For those of us who are lucky enough to live in this beautiful city, we get a special treat every March after it has rained every day since Christmas.

This year the festival is very exciting as the “host” country is Australia. While I do not know the exact stats, I can tell you that Australian wine is very popular in these parts. Everything from “critter” wine (see that crap Yellow Tail) to high end Penfolds Grange sells well in this market. While one could argue that Aussie Shiraz and Chardonnay’s are all starting to taste the same and if you stick to the big producers, you might encounter this. There are plenty of Aussie wineries producing unique and fabulous wines.

I encourage you to check out some of the smaller wineries or wineries that may have corporate money backing them, but are left alone to their own devices. Try different varietals and blends. Things like Grenache, Reisling, GSM’s, Sauv Blancs, “Sticky’s” and Cab’s. There is more to Australia than Shiraz with Yellow Labels and Penguins on the bottle. Some of my favourite Aussie wineries that will be at the festival are:

So enjoy the festival, try some old favourites and something different and I look forward to hearing about your hits and misses.