Let’s talk wine.

I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me – Winston Churchill

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So I have a little bit of a confession to make. I enjoy wine. It’s something that I will order with dinner and also have a glass on the patio with friends. There are so many different flavour profiles for wine. It can be crisp, refreshing and fruity to woodsy, dark and thick. It can be paired with so many types of foods from snacks such as cheese, big hearty meals of fish or red meat and even with sweet desserts. In recent years I’ve found quite a few wines that I absolutely love and I am always on the hunt for more.

This past weekend, I was out for a walk to Granville Island with a friend when she brought me past this lovely little wine store in Kitsilano that I hadn’t been to before. I will admit, a lot of the time I avoid these small independent stores – I find that they overcharge for these fantastic wines that I fall in love with, and then I have to keep going back because they are the only ones who stock it. However, this is not the case with this lovely little store which is why I am blogging about it.

The wine store was called Village VQA Wines. They actually have three locations: Kits on 1st Ave, and then there’s on in the Dunbar area of Vancouver and one in Edgemont Village in North Vancouver. Here’s what I noticed first about the store: It looked small from the outside, but upon entry: the walls were filled with wine up to the ceiling and there were rows upon rows of VQA BC Wines. We were immediately greeted by three female staff members wearing some fantastic aprons with wine quotes.

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Kitsilano location: 1811 W 1st Ave.

What drew us in in the first place was that Village VQA Wines offers wine tastings on local British Colombian wines every Saturday from 2:00-5:00pm (at the Kits location – please see the website for the other location). This past Saturday, May 26th, Sabrina Hira, a wine representative from Quail’s Gate Estate Winery was there to offer us tastings from the 2011 batch of wines.

We started with the white wines which were their Dry Riesling, their Chenin Blanc, and their Gewurztraminer. My favourite was the Gewurztraminer – I found this to be very nice and refreshing on my palate – excellent for the sunny, hot weather we were having (note were).

They had their Rosé as well – while not my favourite type of wine, this one was quite pleasing.

The red wines included their Pinot Noir and Merlot. I’m not typically a red wine drinker – only with meals and then, only in the winter months. These were quite tasty, but I’ll probably stay away from them until I have a good meal to settle down with to enjoy them more.

As I was tasting the wines, I began asking some questions about the store itself. Here’s what I learned which makes me excited: This wine stores policy is that they maintain VQA standards and also match the price that the BC winery sells them for!

VQA Canada

The Vintners Quality Alliance is a contract between the vintners of Canada and the consumer. The VQA medallion is a commitment to quality and a guarantee that the wine expresses the highest aspirations of the vintner’s art.

VQA is to Canada what AOC is to France, DOCG is to Italy and QMP is to Germany: quality control from the vineyard to the glass.

Every wine-growing country has a body of regulations which sets standards for its finest products. A wine bearing the VQA symbol ensures the consumer that:

  • The wine is made from 100% Canadian-grown grapes;
  • The wine has been made to the VQA standards set by British Columbia and Ontario;
  • The wine has been approved by a provincial tasting panel.

There are many ways to measure success, and when it comes to the products of Canada’s vineyards, recent praise from the wine press is an excellent barometer. The medals awarded to Canadian VQA wines at competitions at home and around the world are testament to the internationally recognized quality of our wines. (from the Village Wines website)

I find this to be excellent news, considering some of my favourite wines cannot be found in the government regulated liquor stores. I either have to go to the winery (ha!) or my typical other location is through Everything Wine, which is like a wine Costco. It’s another fantastic store, but they do mark up their prices for a lot of their wines.

Here’s a comparison:

Therapy Vineyards has my one of my favourite wines: Feudian Sip.

750ml bottle at Everything Wine is $20.99 vs. $17.00 at Village Wines.

Calliope Sauvignon Blanc by Burrowing Owl is another one of my recent fav’s (thank you Italian Kitchen)

750ml bottle at Everything Wine is $17.49 vs $17.00 at Village Wines.

I encourage you to go to both websites and seek out the best deals for yourself! I’ll definitely be trying Village Wines more often, particularly because it’s in my area and that I got such great service.

Note: I still love Everything Wine – their service and selection is impeccable. They also offer tastings and occasionally even have local food companies come in to pair. As well, they don’t limit their selection to just BC wines – they are world wide which helps when you want a broad selection of wines. They also carry some extremely pricey wines (i.e. Portugal’s Taylor Fladgate Scion Port is $3,495.49) and they do carry over 1200 wines under $20.00 which is not too shabby.

So this little bit is just a little food (or wine) for thought. Welcome to my wine talks.

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