Founded in 1994 by former commercial airline pilot Paul Sass, The Home Vintner supplies connoisseurs and novices with an abundance of award-winning pours and do-it-yourself kits for individual winemaking and beer brewing. With Winexpert kits, at-home vino makers blend varietal juices from around the world that will be ready to drink or cellar in 4–8 weeks, depending on the kit. Alternatively, brewers dive into barley bubbles with Barons beer kits that contain measured ingredients to make a hoppy Canadian blond ale, an English-style redwood ale, and a crisp Dutch-style lager, among others.
During classes, the staff of certified wine- and beer-makers walks pupils through each step of the brewing and vintning process, such as carbon-dioxide removal, corking, storage, and determining each libation's year by monitoring its reaction to different Bon Jovi songs. Courses dispense both basics of production and new methodologies, so apprentices can discover new approaches and skills to try with their next batches.
The chic wine bar offers a high-quality selection of fermented finds from its amply stocked shelves, alongside an upscale menu featuring locally harvested fare. Start with a selection of savoury charcuterie ($4.75+) or cheese ($4.75+) before moving on to the tapa-esque menu. Small-sized eats, such as the half-dozen fresh-shucked oysters ($19) or a decadent dish of baked cheese dip with marinated artichokes and fresh herbs ($15), stimulate the mouth-economy with their riches and glottal high-fives. The lobster nachos, with pickled peppers, onions, heirloom tomatoes, and hot sauce ($24+), and the wine-braised bison short ribs ($16+) are an elegant accompaniment to any of more than 60 wines from around the globe, available by the taste (2 oz.), glass (6 oz.), half-bottle (13 oz.) and bottle. Servers and sommeliers are happy to direct nervous wine newcomers to a suitable sip. Throw caution to hungry robot dogs and opt for the flights and bites, a trio of small tapas accompanied by sommelier-paired 6 oz. servings of wine ($35).
Whole Foods Market's commitment to the interdependent network of sustainable farms and organic producers can be seen in its carefully selected product lines. The homegrown 365 Everyday Value brand makes it easy to eat naturally, organically, and economically. It features an array of items from all product categories, including groceries, vitamins, household items, and more—each manufactured to meet the rigorous quality standards woven into the fabric of Whole Foods Market, which itself is made from 100% alpaca wool.
The Wine Shop surrounds its wide assortment of whites and reds with enthusiastic staff members and invites customers to sample, discuss, and educate themselves about fine wine. As up to 10 tasters at a time coat their tongues in the grapey goodness of premium rieslings, chardonnays, or pinot noirs, an experienced sommelier schools patrons on each wine's effect on palettes before teaching them the sacred sommelier samba. A charcuterie spread of meats, cheeses, nuts, and olives nestles against taste buds, intermingling solid and liquid flavours, creating a breadth of flavour profiles. Guests can socialize with fellow samplers and The Wine Shop's knowledgeable and experienced staff about the evening's rarer brands or chat with grapes about the weather via Morse code. The Wine Shop contributes portions of its proceeds to community charities such as The Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids.
Staffed by a troupe of award-winning winemakers, The Vineyard equips vino enthusiasts with Winexpert’s World Vineyard varietal kits and wine-crafting gear. After customers explain their taste preferences, the staffs send discerning tongues on blind dates with refined, international grape varietals such as German muller and Italian barolo, and blends such as California trinity red. Before heading home to begin blending, new wine owners undergo a one-hour class with owner Tom Corbett, a certified Level 3 winemaker and accredited wine judge. Tom introduces students to each piece of home winemaking equipment and their kit’s ingredients and outlines the fermentation process from initial mixing to bottling to the wine’s awkward adolescent phase.
Bow Valley Iron Chef & Beer-Fest melds the culinary talents of seven local restaurants with more than 100 international alcohol-fermenting contenders in a picturesque outdoor valley setting. Guests rate pours for potency and bubble-blowing capability, sipping suds from vendors such as Whistler Brewing Company, The Grizzly Paw, Big Rock, Sleeman, and Foster's. Two-ounce taste tumblers provide ample reflection time, and wines, spirits, and ciders sit ready for those with Pavlovian hops aversion.