Sacred Hill, Rifleman's Terrace Vineyard, Tim Pawsey photo

Time to mark the calendar for May 2nd. Yes, it’s Election Day in Canada but more to the point, it’s the day the Kiwis roll into Vancouver for the annual New Zealand Wine Fair, this year at The Roundhouse —so you can take the Canada Line to right across the street.

A colour for every wine ...

Hard to believe, but it’s already over ten years since the four smart chaps in Marlborough launched the New Zealand Screwcap Wine Seal Initiative. That effectively changed the way we think about twist-tops—once the exclusive domain of such luminaries  as Gallo Hearty Burgundy and Brights ‘sherry.’

Here on Canada’s Left Coast, we got behind screwcaps big time, in part because we were sick and tired of the high percentage of corked wines but also because, in terms of wine (and food) styles, British Columbia is a whole lot closer to New Zealand than you might imagine.

One of the brains behind the initiative, Dr. John Forrest came to Vancouver as part of an early trade mission. He poured wines from identical batches of Forrest Estate, side by side, one under cork and one under screwcap—and the results were very convincing.

Tinhorn Creek staff wave goodbye to their corker

While Marlborough went full bore, we were a little slow on the uptake here in BC wine country. But eventually folks like the Okanagan Valley’s Tinhorn Creek also gave consumers a chance to compare wines side by side, when it brought out Oldfield Collection Merlot packaged in pairs—under cork and screw cap. It didn’t take long before the winery switched everything over and the rest—as they say—is history.

These days, thanks to the Kiwis, this side of the 49th parallel, nobody even thinks twice about twisting off a screwcap. Cork or Stelvin? It’s no longer even an issue …

Riesling (of course!) and a whole lot more, Tim Pawsey photo

You can be sure that almost all of the wines at the New Zealand Wine Fair will be under screwcap, no question. And even though we like our headline, it’s not only about Sauvignon Blanc, of course. We’ll also be nosing around for any Hawkes Bay / Gimblett Gravels Syrah we can find (maybe Sacred Hill will bring theirs), not to mention Pinots from Central Otago and Martinborough (and Marlborough), definitely the odd Riesling, and the entire spectrum New Zealand has on offer.

The evening Consumer Fair (7 to 9.30 p.m.) includes hot food stations with leading chefs, live music and more. A great deal at just $60. Buy tix for the May 2nd. tasting here

In the biz? You can find also full details on the afternoon Trade Tasting, seminars etc. But you must register…

Here’s the rundown of participating wineries.

Oh. And did we mention that Kiwi winemakers have been known to have fun?

Staete Lande owners Dorien Vermaas and Ruud Maasdam, Tim Pawsey photo

Allan Scott Family Winemakers • Astrolabe Wines • Babich Wines • Churton • Elephant Hill Estate & Winery • Georges Michel Wine Estate • Gladstone Vineyard • Goelet Wine Estates • Jackson Estate Ltd • Kim Crawford • Konrad Wines Ltd • Kumeu River Wines Ltd • Marisco Vineyards Ltd. • Matua Valley Wines Ltd • Mount Riley Wines • Mud House Wines • Nautilus Estate • Oyster Bay New Zealand • Pasquale • Rippon Vineyard Ltd • Sacred Hill Wines Ltd • Sileni Estates Ltd • Spy Valley Wines • Staete Landt Vineyard • Stoneleigh • Te Kairanga Wines Ltd • Villa Maria Estate • Waitiri Creek Wines Ltd • Wither Hills Vineyards Marlborough Ltd • Yealands Estate

See you there!

 

And one for the road …

Marlborough, hub of the industry, Tim Pawsey photo