Another year, another Vancouver International Wine Festival! And, as usual, I have a few reflections on the event.

1. Boy, California still makes great, ripe, fruit-forward wine…

I didn’t have time to taste through all the California wineries (who were featured at this year’s Festival), but those that I did…what ripe, fruit forward wine! California certainly still “gets it” when it comes to bringing out the fruit in wine. If only their Bordeaux compatriots would take that lesson…

2. But California wines are also really expensive!

While I liked the quality, I was even more struck by prices of many California wines. It seemed like many of the “regular” Cabernet Sauvignons, for example, were in the $60 – $70 a bottle range, with Reserve bottlings at $100 or more! Now, I know that can be considered cheap compared to many French wines, but boy…they are out of my snack bracket!

3. And where are the newer “boutique” California wineries?

Aside from a small handful, I was also surprised how many of the participants were virtually the same as was the case 10 or even 20 years ago! Now, good for them…but what about the newer wineries? I’m not sure whether their production is too small to do Festivals or they weren’t approached/didn’t want to come, but every time I read the wine mags, I see all these wineries I have never heard of before getting really high ratings. It would be great to see them as well.

4. More evidence that the 2010 vintage in the Rhone was amazing…

Not as many French wineries this year, but the wineries from the Rhone that were pouring 2010 vintages showed really, really well. Many of these are on the shelf right now, but more are coming and judging from the quality, people should stock up! And with France the feature country next year, we could be in for a real treat.

5. More BC wineries…but even more would be better!

It was great to see Blue Mountain and NkMip there, as well as a number of others, but there are so many other BC wineries out there…it would be great to see them! I realize that the smaller wineries don’t have the marketing budgets (or quantity of wine) needed, but people are really not getting a good idea of what the “Best in BC” is all about.

That’s it for this year…congrats again to the Festival and I can’t wait for next year!



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