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November 12, 2009
Top Ten Reasons Why You Want to Attend Cornucopia This Weekend

We ran into an acquaintance the other day who declared he was going to give Cornucopia a miss because there would be no rave party this year.  Oh, come on now.  We know that logos painted on nubile breasts can be the most effective form of brand publicity for certain target markets, but really, what man (or woman) of legal age can say they've never seen a naked women before? While on the other hand, how many of us can brag that they know where every good value wine can be found in our local market, or good food for that matter.  At Cornucopia there is always something valuable to be learned .. and with the most knowledgeable experts to guide you.  So get your priorities in order.

Here, in no particular order, is a list of the 10 top reasons why you will want to be at Cornucopia this weekend. (The annual food and wine event takes place at Whistler from Thursday, November 12th, to Sunday the 15th. )


Hey, who doesn't need to know where the best recession proof value wines are to be found these days? And thanks to the big R, who couldn't use a laugh? At the Killer Value Wines seminar, the tasting is blind, wines are revealed one at a time, and the audience is usually surprised by the quality. What's more, the advice and recommendations will be coming from the most brilliant Smart A's in the business: A (Alpha) Gismondi, David (Smilin') Scholefield, DJ (Diminutive Juggernaut) Kearney and Mark (that Grand Cru) Taylor. The banter is guaranteed to get silly. Even if the wines are seriously good.

Killer Value Wines: Sunday, November 15th, 11 a.m. Speakers Anthony Gismondi, David Scholefield, DJ Kearney, Mark Taylor.

There's a wee bit of wine snob in all of us too. If being on the the insider track for those made-in-small-quantity, hard to find wines, is what turns your crank, this is the seminar for you. Anthony and David will join Sid Cross to ferret out the most exciting stuff you can buy in bottles - Old World, New World, gilt-edged classics and dazzling new discoveries, side by side. For a mere 85 bucks you can stick your nose into some very expensive wines such as: Krug Grande Cuvee Champagne, 2006 Bouchard Pere Beaune du Chateau Rouge, 2003 Felton Road Pinot Noir Block 3, and Antinori's 2006 Guado al Tasso from Bolgheri. Plus the  commentary will include a fine wine buying strategy for 2010, so this tasting could even save you money!  "You'll be sure to have fun with the three Stooges!"  And that's Sid's comment, not ours.

Wines for a Blue Moon: Saturday, November 14, 2009. Speakers: Anthony Gismondi, David Scholfield, Sid Cross.


Some joker of a scientist recently shocked the wine world by releasing a paper concluding that terroir has little or no effect on the taste of a wine. Bah, What does HE know? To Michael Bartier, Robert Summers and Shaun Everest, all winemakers for wineries in the Okanagan's Golden Mile, them's fighting words. Not only will this seminar discuss the DVA of the region, and why it justifies being a region, they'll have tastings to back up their argument that wines grown within a certain stretch of geologically similar dirt exhibit a definite flavour consistency.  There will be two vintages each of 6 different wines from 6 wineries on the Golden Mile Bench.  Of the wines to be tasted, several varietals, made from 100% Golden Mile fruit, will include the vintage available, as well as a vintage that will be one to three years older (depending on the varietal).  So not only will participants get to familiarize themselves with the wines' current condition, they will have a chance to extrapolate where the wines will be going as they age. Considering the economy, that's something that few of us can even predict about ourselves.

Golden Mile - Discovering South Okanagan Terroir: Sunday, November 15th, 11 a.m. Speakers: Michael Bartier, Robert Summers, Shaun Everest.


Every now and then Saki, especially if it is an intelligent Saki, gets bored being stuck in a monogamous rut with Sushi.  It yearns to explore fantasies of what it would be like to be with a spicy Charcuterie, or even a dominating cheese. And if Salami and Cheese are equally tired of their usual platter mates of Beer and Wine, the hookup can be a pretty wild time for all. Who knew?  Now you do. BC's very own saki-san, Masa Shiroki, a man who knows Saki's secret side better than anyone, will lead this fun and educational seminar.

Sake Meets its Match: Saturday November 14th, 11 a.m. Speakers Masa Shiroki and David Scholefield.


If you are a baby boomer you've already started to ponder about what to do now that noble rot is starting to set in.  Find out how a formerly lean and mean Semillon has not only managed to deal with it, but has used the natural process to make it a star in its golden years. Yes, Virginia there really is life after botrytis. As well, you will be able to try five other examples of the white wine varietal (from Bordeaux, Australia and BC) that will show off this under-appreciated grape's versatility. But that's not all. As the saying goes, "It's always five o clock somewhere in the world."  Experience a mystery line up of thirst-quenching, appetite-stimulating liquids suitable for kick starting an evening of dining, dancing and debauchery. Both seminars will be lead by the fabulous DJ Kearney (wine educator, not vinyl jockey.)

Mini Tasting 102 Semillon: Sunday, Novemer 15th, 1 p.m. Speaker: DJ Kearney.
It's 5 o'clock Somewhere!: Saturday, November 14th, 2 p.m. Speaker: DJ Kearney.


Anyone can build a wine cellar.  All you need are some boxes from the hardware store and a space somewhere in your home that is quiet, cool and relatively free of vibrations - like under your bed. However, Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard, the House Wine girls, want to talk to you about something more critical - what to put IN your cellar. Some wines are just that much more rewarding if they are not asked perform right away, but instead are left alone for awhile to contemplate the bio-dynamic universe, sort things out and improve their act. What kinds of wines are we talking about? Attend this seminar and find out. Besides sampling graceful aging classics such as Bordeaux and Brunello, you’ll discover off the beaten track and well-priced gems such as the Grüner Veltliner from Austria. This is also a rare opportunity to taste the sensational 1991 Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz.

How to Build a Wine Cellar: Saturday, November 14th, 4:30 p.m. Speaker: Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris.

Sure you think you know Australian Shiraz, but do you really? We're talking about a country that's only 4% smaller than the continental USA - so just like that "Is there life on other planets?" question, the math alone argues against there being only one kind of Shiraz. In fact, Australia has 64 regions that vary widely in geographical and climatic differences. How does a Shiraz from a warm climate differ from one from a cool climate?  And which kind do you prefer? What is an "uncut" Shiraz? What is a basket-pressed Shiraz? Why is a Shiraz that sells for $140 at the BCLDB stores (Penfolds RWT) worth so much more than another selling for $19.99 (Evans & Tate Margaret River)? Why does Peter Lehman call one of their top Shiraz "Futures Shiraz", and speaking of that, what is the future for this character rich varietal from Down Under? Mark Davidson, Vancouver's resident Aussie wine expert, will be there to answer all these questions, plus whatever else you always wanted to know. (Within reason, of course.)

Australian Shiraz: Classic, Cool & Contemporary. Saturday, November 14th, 11 a.m. Speaker Mark Davidson.


Even Pinot Noir newbies know that prime examples of the grape are to be found in Burgundy and Oregon. But at this seminar you’ll be able to develop your inner "Miles" by getting to know how delicious Pinot Noirs from other regions such as Australia, Argentina's Patagonia and Chile's Casablanca can be. Take a few minutes with the House Wine ladies and you'll be able to wow them at your next cocktail party. Just don't be like Miles and expect someone will publish your novel about it.

Pinot Noir from Around the World: Saturday, November 14, 2 p.m. Speakers: Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris.


Ever wonder where the word "cocktail" came from? Whether absinthe will really make you crazy? How suave Don Draper made a cocktail so spectacular that Conrad Hilton couldn't forget him? Then check out spirits writer Joanne Sasvari's seminar on Classic Cocktails: Tools, Tips and Techniques. She'll offer stories, recipes for long-forgotten drinks like the 20th Century Cocktail, and all you need to know about making great classic cocktails at home. Note: If Sasvari's class can deliver a 20th Century Cocktail as good as the one they are serving at Pourhouse these days, we're signing up now.

Classic Cocktails-Tips, Tools and Techniques: Saturday, November 14th, 4:30 p.m. Speaker Joanne Sasvari.


Like what? Do we really need to sell this? Wine Diva Daenna Van Mulligen will be popping corks from all the best kinds of sparkling wines and Champagnes. The white, pink and red kinds, plus every shade in between, incuding a wide ranging selection from Spain, South Africa, McLaren Vale Australia, Champagne, Alsace and British Columbia. She'll cover the making of sparkling wine briefly and then give you the opportunity to taste all these styles and regions. Who cares if it's not even noon yet? As WC Fields famously said, "Who stole the cork out of my lunch?"  Don't miss the editor's bribe of choice -- the Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose Champagne.

Bubble-licious. Saturday, November 14, 11 a.m. Speaker: Deanna Van Mulligen


At Whistler, if someone advises you to "to keep your tips up", they may not necessarily be referring to powder skiing techniques. This seminar is for the trade, specifically the trade that will be working the front line in the restaurants during the Olympics. You're going to serving a lot of tourists. Beyond explaining that ice wine does not come from fermented icicles, will you be ready for the questions? At the BC Wines Bootcamp, Ingo Grady and David Scholefield will lay out the Who-What-Where on BC wine, with all the secret insider tips that will fit into a tasting of 9 of BC's best wines, from Alibi to Occulus. Impress your boss, make a visitor happy, and maybe even hot wax your evening's tips.

Bootcamp for BC Wines: Friday, November 13, 2009. 10 a.m. Speaker: David Scholefield, Ingo Grady.


a) Life is a Highway: You will get a chance to test drive the new, improved Sea To Sky highway before it's a bumper to bumper scene in three months time.
b) The wildlife is fascinating: Even if all these valuable opportunities to improve your wine knowledge is not enough to compensate for the lack of good oggle, there is still one thing to keep in mind. While not likely to show up naked, the girls of Whistler tend to get good and tired of their standard wardrobe of down jackets and Doc Martin boots, so when Cornucopia comes around they often take advantage to over compensate in the other direction. At Crush in particular, the sightlines can be pretty interesting.
c) The food is great too. Araxi's Big Guns Dinner is sold out - you snooze, you loose - but the other restaurants have come up with delicious options as well. (Or catch one of the chef hosted luncheons.)

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