If you didn’t know that the BC Wine Info Centre in Penticton hosts unique, casual wine education seminars to help folks learn more about our province’s wines, then you do now.
The BC Wine Info Centre, home to over 900 different kinds of BC VQA wine, is not just your average wine store. Re-opening in 2017 after a move into its current home, the Info Centre developed its seminar series to help the general public with gaining knowledge about BC wines, educating on BC wine history, teaching the sensory aspect of wine, and allowing attendees to come into exclusive contact with wine principles themselves.Donna Faigaux, Manager of the wine store, told me about a few key takeaways for those who attend these seminars. “We’re the only store which is nonprofit, [so] every bottle counts. They learn something new, and are inspired to try something new. Everyone gets a new kernel of information; it happens to everybody. That’s the joy of wine and its vintages.”
In its chic, contemporary setting, guests will enjoy intimate tastings of 5-6 wines. With a maximum of 20 people in attendance, guests can relax, sip, and learn. Luke Whittall, the Wine Club and Events Coordinator for the BC Wine Info Centre, informed me that this is a great opportunity for folks to not have to travel too far to experience what BC has to offer in the wine world.What these events offer is an “informative experience beyond what you can get at a wine shop. A much more in depth experience. A winery is limited by what their portfolio is. We have a larger cross section [of wines].”
“A lot of the tickets [sold] are individual tickets,” Whittall added. “Many people don’t come in pairs [and] you meet people who are equally as enamoured” with BC wine.
Each event ranges in price, with some as low as $35.00/pp, and includes not only the education and tastings, but also a beautiful charcuterie board filled with crackers, pickled goods, cheeses, meats, and complementary jellies, to nosh on post-tasting. Some of the seminars are single varietal focused, and others will include the opportunity to compare styles of BC wine against wines from around the world.Faigaux communicated that these events are meant to be easy-going, informative, and educational. “They are meant to be fun, and not so much structured. Everything is so approachable, [and we] speak in a variety of different levels.”
Beyond the exploration, both Whittall and Faigaux shared a key point – that wineries are eager to attend these types of experiential events.
“The winery folks are always impressed by the quality of questions that consumers are asking,” Whittall shared. “Wineries haven’t really been approached for something like this; they’ve never done this kind of thing at the same level. They are often asked to do tastings at wine festivals, for trade tastings, in board rooms, panel tastings, etc. But to do a fairly casual, sit-down tasting where they can present wines on a topic” is unique.Further to that, Faigaux added, “We’ve had wineries approach us about doing tastings. Part of the uniqueness of the centre is that it’s about sharing the story directly from the winery, understanding what is behind that label, what possessed [them] to get into this business. It’s about having the wineries feel like this is partly their centre, too. We get such great industry support.”
With all retail staff in the store having at least their WSET Level II training, you can rest assured that there is a lot to be gained by walking into this store.
Faigaux’s appreciation for BC wine, and wine in general, showed in the pride she held about the store’s operations. “It’s worthwhile to be in this store; there are some really interesting wines in here.”
If you’re not keen on attending any of the fantastic events coming up, stop by if only for the sole reason of checking out one of the coolest wine stores in the province. One will find wines like the delicious 1998 CIPES Ariel and other special bottles. Or you could purchase the newly-shelved 2006 Syrah from Desert Hills or 2012 Buddhafull from Eau Vivre.
The Demystified Vine
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