The Wines of British Columbia, celebration of BC pinot noir and VISA Infinite welcome Steven Spurrier for inaugural Okanagan visit

The secret is out: B.C. is producing world-class wines, and this summer, Decanter consultant and editor Steven Spurrier is flying from London, UK to find out first-hand what all the fuss is about!

Through a collaborative effort, Spurrier’s inaugural visit to BC Wine Country comes at an opportune time, as the Wines of British Columbia celebrate 25 years of BC VQA and the BC Pinot Noir Celebration announces a major expansion with VISA Infinite for their third-annual event.

“It’s an absolute honour to bring Steven Spurrier to the Okanagan and a dream we’ve had for years! It’s an exciting time for the B.C. wine industry, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary of BC VQA and we are thrilled to have Steven here to experience the amazing quality wines we are producing,” says British Columbia Wine Institute marketing director Maggie Anderson.

Steven Spurrier, a champion of French wines and famously recognized for his role in organizing the original Judgement of Paris Wine Tasting in 1976, as portrayed in the Hollywood blockbuster Bottle Shock, will be touring wineries in the Okanagan Valley and tasting over 100 of British Columbia’s finest wines from all over the province.

“I have tasted and enjoyed a number of British Columbia wines over the years and am looking forward to visiting this emerging wine region first hand,”  says Spurrier. “Seeing the vineyards, the cellars and especially the people involved adds another dimension to every wine, great or small, so for me this will be a fascinating voyage of discovery.”

“His exceptional wine knowledge, international awards, accomplishments and innovative ideas make him the ideal wine critic to showcase how far our industry has come within the last 25 years,” Anderson says.

In 2014, Pinot Noir was the third most grown grape by acreage in B.C., gaining recognition around the world for intense, lively flavours and winning international awards for their premium quality.

Three years ago, Meyer Family Vineyards in Okanagan Falls hosted the first B.C. Pinot Noir Celebration to gather winemakers, pinot noir lovers, and a talented panel of special guest speakers to showcase the best pinot noirs in the province. Last year, the BCWI was proud to bring renowned wine author Karen MacNeil (The Wine Bible) to present the keynote address for the event held at Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna. This year, the celebration is shaping up to be yet another major success, with Mr. Spurrier in attendance.

“We are honoured to have one of the UK’s top wine critics and reviewers, Steven Spurrier, as our keynote speaker this year. We’ve also increased the number of B.C. pinot noir producers at the event, with 26 wineries participating, which were selected through a blind tasting led by CAPS (Vancouver Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers) earlier in the year. With the help of VISA Infinite and the BCWI we’re able to elevate the event in only its third year to what we hope will become one of Canada’s premier wine events,” says Meyer Family Vineyards proprietor JAK Meyer.

In honour of the third-annual BC Pinot Noir Celebration, VISA Infinite is inviting cardholders to meet and interact with Spurrier over a sumptuous multi-course dinner with chefs Rob Walker, Vikram Vij, Trevor Bird and Dilan Draper at Liquidity Winery, as part of their Wine Country Program on August 21.

VISA Infinite’s Wine Country Program offers cardholders exclusive benefits at 38 participating wineries in British Columbia, which include enjoying advanced access to one-of-a-kind winery experiences and exclusive dining events featuring Canada’s leading chefs.

The BC Pinot Noir Celebration, held on August 22 in Kaleden’s Linden Gardens, will involve interactive breakout sessions alongside top B.C. winemakers; salon tastings with 26 of B.C.’s best pinot noir producers, a canapé competition with Okanagan chefs Jason Leizert, Alex Sielmann, Chris Van Hooydonk and Calgary chef Dilan Draper; a family style dinner by Artisan Culinary Concepts; and live music with local band The Young’uns.

For tickets and details on the BC Pinot Noir Celebration, visit BCPinotNoir.ca.

For information on VISA Infinite, their Wine Country Program and the Celebration of Pinot Noir event at Liquidity Winery, visit VisaInfinite.ca.

For details on BC VQA and the Wines of British Columbia visit WineBC.com or the BC Wine Institute’s trade and media website, WineBC.org. To stay up to date on all the summer happenings, like the Wines of British Columbia Facebook page or follow @WineBCdotcom on Twitter.

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May 19, 2015