As you can see from elsewhere here, and from the crescendo this week of the on-line buzz surrounding the live launch of this year’s 200 plus menus, Dine Out Vancouver has more than earned its place as the country’s biggest restaurant promo of its kind.

Now while you will hear plenty about deals on meals, you won’t hear a whole lot about the fact that Wines of British Columbia also play a major role in this two week dining out extravaganza—that’s turned into a life saver for many restaurants in a typically very soft time of year—post holidays and pre-tax time. Especially this year.

Digging through the raft of on-line info has turned up one revelation: you can tell very quickly those restaurants who take their wine programs seriously, as they include some smart wine pairings along with every dish mentioned on their Dine Out menu.  Or, perhaps we should say, you can easily tell those who really don’t care—because they don’t bother. (However, some places actually do have good programs but, curiously, don’t actually mention them on the site—so it does pay to ask…)

Dine Out owes at least a part of its success to the BC Wine Institute’s earlier promotions, such as the (for its time) ground-breaking Salmon & Pinot Blanc—A marriage made in BC—way back in the 90s, when a score of restaurants participated in Vancouver’s first food and wine pairing festival, as a way to promote what was then BC’s most widely planted white varietal. (Only a few years later did growers jump on the Chardonnay bandwagon.)

As BC Wine Institute executive director Miles Prodan notes in today’s North Shore News, promos such as Dine Out are often responsible for introducing BC wines to new consumers. In fact, those original BC Wine initiatives were often responsible for getting wineries a toehold on lists that previously would never have dreamt of allowing a BC wine within sniffing distance—in some cases (in those early days) with good reason.

Making the most of Dine Out is all about tracking down restaurants that truly do offer good value for your dining dollar, so it pays to also check out the wine angle of your DoV reso. Some rooms offer a smart, optional add-on that pairs three wines (including a late harvest or icewine), usually for a pretty fair price.  There are some exceptions, however, as others see an unfairly inflated by the glass price as one way of getting you, the diner, to subsidize their Dine Out experience.

Read the North Shore News column here.

About the image…

This is a shot from an excellent lunch with St. Hubertus wines, last year at Sun Sui Wah. Read about it in the current issue of Vancouver Magazine, under ‘Liquid Lunch.’