Wining and dining
Wine is similar to music, Michelle Bouffard says.
It’s got a history, a tone and culture behind it, says the co-owner of house wine, a wine consulting company. Originally from Quebec, Bouffard came to Vancouver to study classical music at the University of British Columbia. She was introduced to the wine industry while serving in fine dining restaurants and her vinous horizon broadened when she became a flight attendant with Air Canada.
In 2003, Bouffard work as a sommelier at Marquis Wine Cellars and after she completed her wine education with the internationally recognized Wine and Spirit Education Trust’s diploma, Bouffard and her friend Michaela Morris started their company, house wine.
“I just fell in love with wine,” she confesses.
On Thursday, August 4, Bouffard and Morris are sharing their passion for wines with the rest of West Vancouver. The premier event held on the Ambleside Pier — which will be part of the Harmony Arts Festival and coordinated by the house wine — celebrates B.C. Day by pairing 10 North Shore restaurants with 10 B.C. wineries. In the Best of the West gala, one wine is picked from each winery and chefs will prepare a special meal to complement the bottle.
“One of my favourite things in life is eating, drinking wine and being in good company,” Bouffard says noting it would be difficult to find a more beautiful location for such an event.
Picking the 10 wineries was a difficult task, Bouffard says. She chose some crowd favourites mixed with some new wineries and unexpected tastes. There are names such as Mission Hill and CedarCreek.
“What I am excited about is [the event] holds a diversity of style,” Bouffard says.
There will be five red wines, three white, one bubbly and a rosé. The rose is produce by Haywire, which just bottled its first vintage. People often think of a rosé as a sweet wine, Bouffard says. Although that was the popular style in North America in the 1980s, Europe’s rosés have always been dry, she notes. The Haywire rosé is more true to the European form.
B.C.’s wineries are still young and mostly undiscovered around the world, Bouffard says.
“We are still trying to find out what we are doing best and where,” she says.
But she’s encouraged by British Columbians’ enthusiasm for local wines. The majority of wine produced in Canada is divided between Ontario and B.C. Bouffard hopes this event will introduce more people to the province’s different flavours.
There are only 200 tickets for the event due to pier regulations, says Christie Rosta, the district’s special events coordinator. With restaurants including Ambleside’s The Beach House, Louis Gervais and Grouse Mountain’s The Observatory participating, she’s expecting tickets to go fast.
“You’ll be able to go around and get a taste of a dish from each restaurant,” Rosta says.
Despite location challenges, such as getting power to the chefs on the pier, organizing the event has been inspiring, she says, noting there will be live background music and a fabulous view.
“People love the waterfront,” Rosta says.
The event starts at 7:30 and ends at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 and available online at www.harmonyarts.ca or by calling 604-925-7270.