Wine and food: Not just for rich people
Drinking our way through Calgary’s Wine and Food Festival
By Robyn Welsh, Features Editor, & Alec Warkentin, Staff Writer
As the crowds diverged on the BMO Centre on Friday, Oct. 14, some headed to the Calgary Flames game, others to a tattoo convention, and the rest to the Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival. Despite the name – the festival features an array of decadent alcoholic beverages and is the perfect place to taste things you may never get a chance to on a student budget. From smooth, crystal-clear gin, various whiskeys and beer, and surprisingly flavourful vodka (that didn’t even taste like rubbing alcohol), there is no shortage of material to sip on.
However, the featured wines were what many came for. With wine-glass slings around their necks, festival-goers wandered from booth to booth trying pinot noirs, cabernets, malbecs, and more. The festival showcased wine from vineyards all around the world, including selections from Argentina, Brazil, and Spain. A standout among the more conventional wine selections, the Rimon winery from Israel offered a unique experience to thirsty patrons by offering a wine made completely from pomegranate. Unlike regular grape vintages, wines made from pomegranate tend to be sweeter due to a higher content of sugar, which means a higher alcohol content after the fermentation process is complete.
Lindsey Morgenstern donned a party hat adorned with the number 30; it was a telling sign that it was her birthday. When asked why she was attending the festival, she said, “I wanted to drown my sadness about turning thirty.” She then added some words of wisdom after deciding that her statement was too pessimistic. She advocated that we should all, “slay all day and then rosé.” Definitely a good motto to get anyone through a friday.
The festival also featured quite a few crowd-favorite foods. From crab cakes to tacos and empanadas, and barbequed meat, there was no shortage to munch on. Seafood lovers could even indulge at an oyster bar with a choice of seven sauces for five coupons a piece.
To get into the festival, an initial purchase of a ticket to get through the door is required. If individuals bought Early Bird or Front of the Line tickets from May 25 through June 1, a portion of the proceeds were donated to the Canadian Red Cross.
Like most food and beverage festivals, the Wine and Food Festival utilized a redemption process with tickets. Every two ticket have a monetary value of one dollar, but the ticket booth offers deals for purchasing large amounts. It is definitely in your interest to go with a small group and take advantage of this by buying your beverage and food tickets together. While most food cost anywhere from five to ten tickets, a small beverage sample tended cost anywhere from two to eight tickets – depending on the value of the product. Samples were said to go up to twenty coupons depending on the price set by vendors, though we did not see any this expensive.
If people enjoyed what they had tasted at the festival – they were able to stop by the on-site Sobeys Liquor and Safeway Wine & Spirits to pick up favorites to enjoy at home.
Events like the Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival allow people – both young and old – to get together under one roof and indulge in old favorites while sampling some amazing and interesting things that they would likely never get the chance to otherwise. So grab your glass and get ready to start sipping at next year’s Calgary Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival!