Tag Archives: wine

#Calgary and #Italy – Women and #Wine


One of the reasons I love dining in Alberta is because of the wine that’s available here. Did you know that there are more wines available in Alberta than in any other province in Canada? It’s true. We have access to over 20,000 labels and many are among the world’s best.

The reason? In the 1980s a few Calgary business people pioneered the privatization of wine, beer and liquor sales in Alberta. We started with a few wine merchants but now have many private wine and liquor boutiques. Most provinces still have government run liquor control boards. Usually, Calgary’s wine merchants tour the world to visit vintners in their natural habitats but sometimes the best pay a visit to Calgary.

Every other year Italy’s best winemakers come to Calgary for The Great Italian Wine Encounter. This event has raised millions of dollars for a particular kind of cancer and autoimmune diseases treatment known as Apheresis. I’ve had the good fortune to attend the event a few times and tomorrow, I’m going to meet, for the fourth time (pinch me),  Italy’s Women of Wine.

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Savour food – the food and wine of @OKFWWWorkshop – a muse for #writing

The Lavender & Herb Farm, Kelowna, BC

The Lavender & Herb Farm, Kelowna, BC

Every artist needs a muse. For the many artistically gifted chefs that have settled in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia it is the quality of the area’s produce that is the muse that has drawn them to this spectacular setting. That quality produce comes from food and wine growers who work with the land to bring forward the very best of its terroir; its taste of place.

Tasting the place that is the Okanagan is one of the great things about attending the Okanagan Food and Wine Writer’s Workshop (OKFWWWorkshop). Along with workshops on food and wine writing there is the actual inspiration to write that comes from visiting the farms, vineyards, chefs, caterers, restaurants, hotels and food artisans of the Okanagan. I have written about what I learned about writing from the 2012 workshop and how to register for that workshop here.

This blog is a gallery of photos that I took at the 2012 OKFWWWworkshop. The pictures speak to the taste of this place; the terroir of the Okanagan Valley. Sometimes a writer just can’t compete with the perennial “1000 words” a picture gives us so effortlessly. Exploring the food and wine of the Okanagan Valley is one of ways I savour food and savour life. Today, I’ll let these photos do my story-telling.

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Savour Life – Cool thing #1 – VR Wine’s Private Wine Locker Program

I am always out and about. It’s part of my job to explore Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the world’s food scene. I constantly meet exciting people and see the fun things they are doing and the delicious ingredients they are working with. I realized this week that I am constantly saying, “That’s so cool”. The accompanying thought for me is always, wow, everyone should get to know about this, not just me. I love to pause and savour these moments with the proud person who is showing me their idea or their product. I think they are proud because they are sharing something truly creative. I’ve just had the epiphany that I could use part of this blog to help them share their cool things with more people. They deserve it. So here goes, when I catch myself saying “That’s so cool”, you will know about it here.

One really important thing you should know is that you’ll only be seeing and hearing about things I like for their own merit. I will never accept money for this. I’m not running ads or doing commercials. You have to be able to trust that this is just me, communicating my tastes to you. You are free to ignore these things or enjoy them. But no one will ever dictate what cool things get chosen for this website. Thank you very much; I’ll stay a free agent in that regard. I promise to be a curator and editor of cool things that you can count on to come without any paid bias (well, I might accept a sip of wine or morsel of food but that’s it). So here we go.

Cool thing #1 – VR Wine’s Private Wine Locker Program

Phoebe Fun, owner of Vin Room Wine with the wall of private wine lockers available at her store

Phoebe Fun, owner of Vin Room Wine with the wall of private wine lockers available at her store

My friend Phoebe Fung is a business dynamo with so many great ideas its flabbergastingly fun. She owns two restaurants, Vin Room and Vin Room West, and just opened a private wine boutique, VR Wine, that sells all the wines featured at her beautiful restaurants.

Now here’s the cool part. At VR Wine, you can join their private wine locker club (for a minimum purchase of $300/month) and they will stock your locker with new wines each month according to your tasting profile. For people who are gradually building their own cellar collection but that don’t have time to do the research and shopping themselves this could be a very helpful time saver and aid. I know we don’t all have $3600 a year to spend in this way, but that does not take away from how cool an idea it is. If this is your dream go for it. There’s only 12 of these lockers but here’s all the things this service includes as follows:

•Hand crafted, cedar and teak lockers with private combination locks for secure and safe storage
•Temperature and humidity controlled
•Access to lockers during regular business hours
•Access to exclusive offers and special purchases not available to the general public
•10% off all regularly priced wine and accessories purchases (discount not transferable)
•Exclusive invitations to private locker members’ events
•Consultation with one of VR Wine’s sommeliers to design your monthly wine program
•Updates to your personal profile as your needs change and develop

VR Wine
3106, 8561 8A Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2H 0V5

Savour Food Savour Life and now Savour Cool Things while you are at it. Cheers, Karen

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