Wine Industry Symposium

Wednesday, February 27, 9:30-11:45 a.m.

Recap by Karen Wright, Savvy Company

I was delighted to have a bird’s eye view at the Wine Industry Symposium, a VIWF industry event packed with industry notables. Our seminar kicked off with a lively discussion to determine, “What exactly is a Canadian Wine”? “How would you describe it”? “Cool Climate?” Despite the best efforts of the panelists, it proved rather difficult to have a single description that covered the vast variety of Canadian wines and wine regions.

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Moderator: Jon Bonné
Panelists: Christine Coletta, Nik Darlington, Janet Dorozynski, Dr. Jamie Goode, Sebastien Le Goff

Unexpected California

Thursday, February 28, 5:15-6:45 p.m.

Recap by Debbie Trenholm, Savvy Company

Coming soon!

Moderator: DJ Kearney
Panelists: Jamie Benziger, Brian Bostwick, Harvest Duhig, David Gates, Jr., Ralf Holdenried, Randy Lange, Jon Ruel, Emma Swain, Karl Wente, Joanne Wing

Lessons from California

Wednesday, February 27, 12-1:30 p.m.

Recap by Karen Wright, Savvy Company

Over a delicious buffet lunch, celebrated wine writer and author of “The New California Wine”, Jon Bonné shared his thoughts and insights on the lessons that Canada can glean from California’s experience and transformation. If you hadn’t heard before now, a new generation of winemakers has emerged in California; people like Nathan Roberts, Duncan Meyers who forged their own path, much like Paul Draper and Josh Jensen did before them. The “New California Winemakers” didn’t follow the popular style trends prominent in California at the time, but instead focused on the wine they wanted to make; their own reinterpretation of the past. Happily, or perhaps luckily, these small producers were at the forefront, leading a sea change to a fresh new style of California wines…and they were just ahead of the new consumer.

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Keynote Speaker: Jon Bonné


Napa Valley Cab: 2005-2014

Wednesday, February 27, 2-4 p.m.

Recap by Karl Kliparchuk, My Wine Pal

Our moderator was Anthony Gismondi. We had a winery principal for each of the wines we tasted. Our panelists were Gillian Balance MS, Jean-Charles Boisset, Michael Eddy, Vivien Gay, Kirk Grace, Dave Guffy, Ralf Holdenreid, Thomas Price, Ray Signorello, and Emma Swain. The wines were tasted in order from 2005 up to 2014. Each winery principal talked about their wine and what the vintage conditions were for that wine, e.g. was it a hot summer or did it have a cool, rainy fall?

Read more at MyWinePal,com.

Moderator: Anthony Gismondi
Panelist: Gillian Balance MS, Jean-Charles Boisset, Michael Eddy, Vivien Gay, Kirk Grace, Dave Guffy, Ralf Holdenreid, Thomas Price, Ray Signorello, Emma Swain


Growing Forward in California

Thursday, February 28, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Recap by John Schreiner

In 1994, Benzinger Family Vineyards, in the words of vice-president Chris Benziger, “went cold turkey” by completely changing its vineyard practices. The Sonoma winery was a pioneer of organic and biodynamic practices. Today, many producers are following suit, driving California winemaking down the path of sustainability. The sea change in viticulture was a major theme during a panel discussion of California producers at the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

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Moderators: Anthony Gismondi
Panelists: Chris Benziger, Bob Blue, Jean-Charles Boisset, Gina Gallo, Austin Hope, Joel Peterson, Justin Seidenfeld, Randy Ullom, Russ Weis, Karl Wente


Truth in Terroir

Friday, March 1, 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Recap by Kim Gertler

To find the “truth in terroir” is no simple assignment – defining how a wine can somehow express a sense of place – is wine’s elusive “holy grail” that continues to baffle and defy scientists, academics and authors. It’s top of mind here in Vancouver where you can trace your favourite grape’s shifting flavours and aromas through a dozen countries in a single room. But to define that sense of place in a mere eight glasses… is a daunting task indeed. So how did the Truth in Terroir session approach the above conundrum? By presenting a surprising array of unlikely wines grown in precise single vineyard locations from around both worlds – old and new. I recorded the entire session so you can hear some great stories and ‘taste’ along.

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Moderator: Mark Shipway
Panelists: Chris Benzinger, Matt Dumayne, Lorenzo Gucci, Emil Mehdin, Thomas Price, Maria Sosa, Sara Triggs


What’s Cool in Sonoma?

Friday, March 1, 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Recap by David Hopgood

The “speed dating” style of this seminar was a brilliant format that allows wine lovers to get face time with ten different wine producer principals in the space of less than two hours. The room is set up with ten stations, each with two high top tables, the representative from the winery and a bottle of wine. Groups of eight are assigned to one producer and get a close up explanation of the winery and one of their wines. After about eight minutes the music rises and it is time to move to the next producer. This allows the attendees to ask questions directly of the winery person behind the table. This is much more relaxed and effective than trying to raise a question in a room of a hundred people.

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Moderator: Anthony Gismondi
Panelists: Brian Bostwick, Gina Gallo, David Gates, Jr., Vivien Gay, Yoav Gilat, Mike Gilboy, Tom Gore, Justin Seidenfeld, Eric Stine, Randy Ullom


Zinfandel on the World Stage

Friday, March 1, 9:30-11:15 a.m.

Recap by John Schreiner

In the renewed interest in Zinfandel wines, California vintners have the significant advantage of producing Old Vines Zinfandel, wines of depth and complexity from vineyards more than 100 years old. A tasting panel at the recent Vancouver International Wine Festival celebrated Old Vines Zinfandel – and discussed the varietal’s roots in Croatia.

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Moderator: Dave Rudman, DipWSET
Panelists: Mark de Vere MW DipWSET, Keith Nicholson DipWSET