Years ago, Derrick and Donna Smith began brewing a quartet of ales together, the steaming vats of barley filling their small facility with steam. They quickly gained the attention of beer drinkers and critics and expanded into a 10,000-square-foot space. There, they invite you to check out new craft brews such as Classic Nut Brown Ale, Bold Belgian Pale Ale, and Seasonal Citrus Wit. Rotating seasonal suds fill the recognizable frog-emblazoned bottles with beers whose flavors vary with the season. Derrick and Donna offer clients a peek inside their operation with tours and tastings.
What's proper etiquette for the queen's sommelier? West Coast Wine Education's John Gerum confronted this question head on when he served Queen Elizabeth II. Apparently he made the right choice, as he went on to pour wine for prime ministers, presidents, provincial premiers, and cultural icons during his 20-year career. Gerum's achievement distills three generations of fine-dining experience that was passed down from his father, a chef, and his grandfather, a maitre d'. Wine education was always his passion, so when starting out, he sought personal instruction from the master sommelier Andrew Laliberté and demonstrated a palate refined enough to earn him membership and certification from the International Sommelier Guild. Gerum often merges his know-how with other wine educators to cultivate a roster of classes and hone their delivery. These experts join in delineating scotch terroir and describing the bouquet of a student's favourite pinot-stained shirt with an easy professionalism that has enthralled groups of up to 300 people. They share their expertise with casual drinkers and professionals during two-hour workshops, in consultation for store openings and events, and through appearances on Global TV.
Almost anyone can bake cookies, because cookbooks and ingredients are plentiful. Wine Kitz wants to lend the same ease to the art of winemaking by packing the cookbook and ingredients into one convenient kit. The franchise equips people with quality beer- and winemaking kits that they can brew at home or in-store over a period of four to nine weeks. The low-sulfite kits are made with grape juices from around the world, including vineyards in Italy, California, Australia, Chile, and on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. The passion Wine Kitz' staff has for winemaking goes past ingredients to the root of the process; owner Dario Gigliotti aspires to own a vineyard someday and is always happy quick to lend a tip or suggest a food pairing to amateur vintners.
With Langley's picturesque countryside as its backdrop, Neck of the Woods Winery concocts red, white, and sparkling wines using grapes grown primarily in the surrounding Fraser Valley. The facility takes advantage of the area's cool climate–which is similar to that of Northern France and Germany–to oversee the entire production process from pressing to bottling. After spending quality time with their maker or a court-appointed barrel, products migrate to store shelves throughout Fraser Valley and Vancouver, or stay right at home in the winery's tasting room. There, visitors pass through daily to sample the varietals, or hang out in the showroom, warmly stocked with rustic casks and a crackling fireplace.
Winner of numerous plaudits, including WineMaker magazine's U-Vint of the Year award in 2009, Crescent Wines, an on-premise winemaking store, allows patrons the opportunity to select and bottle their own batches of vino. Would-be vintners can choose from six wine varietals—chardonnay, gewurztraminer, pinot grigio, cabernet shiraz, merlot, and valpolicella—from Crescent Wine's selection of high-quality wine kits for a total yield of 31 bottles of a single style. Once the selection process has run its course, Crescent Wine's staff members take over, using their patented methods of racking and handling your nascent libations during the fermentation process.
Two enormous projection screens and 16 high-definition televisions strategically placed around Golden Spike Pub make each of 250 seats the best in the house. Weekly entertainment, including poker, karaoke, and live music from DJ RockBottom on Fridays and Saturdays, fill the gaps between sports games games. Amid all the live and televised events, Golden Spike's chefs craft classic pub dishes such as yam fries and pan-fried perogies filled with bacon and kielbasa sausage. They also whip up 11 flavours of housemade chicken wings by the pound, including sweet Thai chili, Cajun, and dry Italian, named in honour of the sure-footed gondoliers who never fell into the Grand Canal.