Come uncorked in Parksville

A weekend of food, wine, beer and fun at the fourth annual Parksville Uncorked

Those who appreciate spirits and good food will be gathering in Parksville soon to eat, swirl, sniff and raise their glasses as they explore the fascinating and ever changing world of wine and beer.

Even if you aren’t a wine aficionado or beer lover, organizers of  Parksville Uncorked say it has something for connoisseurs and novice tasters alike.

Two of Parksville’s beach resorts have come together once again to feature four days of the very best wines and gourmet foods from around Vancouver Island and British Columbia at the fourth annual Parksville Uncorked Wine and Food Festival.

The world of wine is enormous and complex and the four day festival which runs February 23 to 26 is a great way to explore it and enjoy the best B.C. has to offer. The event will include wine education, featured wine dinners, tastings and bubbly libations.

It all gets going on February 23 at Parksville’s Beach Club Resort, which is hosting the second annual Untapped event featuring ale from over 19 breweries.

Beach Club Resort general manager Shawna Broekhuizen said Tigh-Na-Mara hosted Untapped last year and this year it’s their turn.

“It will be a saloon and country atmosphere, complete with a band,” she said.

She added they are also excited to have the event filmed for the new spring series on Shaw TV, Success by Design.

Uncorked is the brain child of Broekhuizen. Before running the show at the Beach Club, she spent five years getting acquainted with wine when she was involved with Cornucopia, Whistler’s premier wine festival.

She said every year the Parksville event gets bigger and better and the wine makers who participate can’t wait to come back.

“It’s the best thing to happen to Vancouver Island and the wine industry.”

She added it is also a great thing for the area’s hospitality and tourism sector, because it attracts a lot of out of town visitors and she hopes it continues to grow.

“My idea is to make it an event that will stimulate revenue upward of over a million dollars in the next few years.”

It’s easy to see why Broekhuizen is so optimistic about the future growth of the festival.  The Beach Club’s Wine Maker’s Dinner on Saturday night at The Pacific Prime Steak and Chop Restaurant  features the award winning Burrowing Owl Winery and she admitted they are lucky to have the president of the winery at their event.

“Chris Wyse is very knowledgeable and easy going. He will walk through all of their wines and talk about the new wines like the Athene,” she stated.

“He only does two winemaker dinners a year and to to have him back is definitely an honour.”

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort’s Winemakers Dinner features the Mission Hill Winery.

Jenn Houtby-Ferguson, Director of sales and marketing for the resort, said Jesse Harnden, Sommelier of Mission Hill will be on hand to discuss Mission Hill’s wine making philosophy.

“Harnden is a great story teller. We are looking forward to having him back. The Mission Hill brand is well respected and their wines are phenomenal,” she said.

Wine lovers won’t want to miss Swirl at Tigh-Na-Mara where they get to sample wines from more than 50 different B.C. wineries and savour gourmet food.

Houtby-Ferguson said if you like amazing wine and food then mark February 24 on your calendar.

“Swirl is like a cocktail party with wine stations and food stations. The idea is to try things you haven’t tried before.  There’s a lot of different food; oysters, cheese, Bernard Callebaut chocolate and amazing B.C. wine.”

She said everyone gets a souvenir glass to take home and if you come every year you can start a collection.

To make it convenient for festival goers, both resorts are offering overnight packages and there is a free shuttle between the two venues.  As always the Beach Club Resort has it’s shuttle bus so local guests can be assured of a safe ride home.

For a list of the entire schedule of events you can visit www.parksvilleuncorked.com.