In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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Coming out to Cornucopia in Whistler gave me a chance to visit Vancouver Island. I’ve not been here before, but I’d heard lots of good things about it.

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So for the last few days I have been in Victoria, doing lots of drinks-related things.

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On Monday I visited three breweries in Victoria with Brent Muller, of Vessel, Victoria’s top wine shop. We began at Driftwood, then headed over the road to Koyne, and finished up at Moon. All three were quite different, but really interesting: there’s a vibrant craft brewing scene here on the island.

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Then we had a tasting of top BC beers that Brent and Vessel GM Ross Borland had selected. Vessel isn’t just a wine shop: it also has a superb selection of craft beers and spirits. I spent quite a bit of time browsing the shelves here and came away very impressed. Victoria is lucky having such a good store because the BC licensing laws don’t make it easy to run a high quality operation like this. I’ll be writing up the BC wine scene in full on beeranorak.com.

oak bay victoria

The view from my bedroom in Oak Bay

Tuesday was all about Champagne. Treve Ring, hosted me, Anthony Gismondi and David Lawrason at her home, and we tasted through dozens of Champagnes which had been sent in for a big feature on Gismondi on Wine. It was a great opportunity to try a lot of well known bottles, as well as some lesser known ones, in a comparative setting.

The wines from the VISA seminar

The wines from the VISA seminar

jamie goode seminar

On Wednesday, I gave a seminar for VISA (Vancouver Island Sommelier Association) at Vessel. I’d chosen nine interesting and affordable bottles from the selection at Vessel. I began by giving a talk on perception of wine based on my new book I taste red, and then we tasted and discussed the wines. It was a great group to speak to and taste with because they were really engaged and interested.

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Thursday was judging for Gold Medal Plates. I wrote the wines up yesterday on this blog. And also tasting more wines from BC, including lovely wines from Synchromesh. Le Vieux Pin, Averill Creek, Unsworth, Bella and Haywire.

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It has been fun to hang around here. Victoria is a beautiful place, on the water. It has a relaxed atmosphere. And the light changes all the time: every morning is different. I’m staying in Oak Bay, and the view from my bed is of the sea. It’s quite magical waking up to the dawn each day, as the sun rises over the horizon. Back to London tomorrow for the International Wine Challenge. I hope I get the chance to come back here in the summer.

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