From left, Norm Watts of Qualicum Beach Rotary PM, Peter Fenn, manager of the Wembly Centre BC Licquor Store branch and NEWS publisher Peter McCully tip a glass following a wine-tasting contest held at the NEWS office Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The event, which ended in a tie, was held in advance of Qualicum Beach Rotary’s annual Wine Festival April 7 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre. — J.R. Rardon photo

Qualicum Beach Rotary ready to roll with wine fest

Annual festival returns to Civic Centre on April 7

Qualicum Beach Rotary PM will return to the Civic Centre with its 16th annual Wine Festival Saturday, April 7.

The festival will feature an expected 18 B.C. wineries for sampling beginning at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the first 100 people through the door are welcome to attend a special wine-tasting seminar hosted by Peter Fenn, manager of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch outlet at Wembly Mall.

This week, Fenn visited The NEWS offices to judge the second annual blind wine-tasting challenge, pitting NEWS publisher Peter McCully against Qualicum Beach Rotary PM past president and District Governor Norm Watts. After each contestant sampled a pair of white wines, from Ontario and from the Okanagan wine region of B.C., respectively, they were tasked with determining the origin of two samples of red wine blends — one from the Okanagan and another from Vancouver Island.

After both Watts and McCully successfully passed the challenge, the contest was called a tie. Contest organizer Jim Bennett of Qualicum Beach Rotary PM said that The NEWS, as the defending champion, would retain possession of the perpetual plaque for another year.

The public is invited to try its own taste judging at the Wine Festival April 7 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, at 747 Jones St. in Qualicum Beach. Tickets are $40 each and include the seminar for the first 100 entrants. Tickets are available at Mulberry Bush Bookstores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach, via Bennett at, or online at (search for wine).

Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Rotary’s community charities.

— NEWS staff

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