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 Lalibert? 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.
More than two decades ago, Frank Gregus and Maurice Hamilton set out on a venture as amateur home winemakers. Their cottage industry flourished into Pacific Breeze Winery in 2005, and since their first professional release in March 2007, their family-owned _garagiste_?or "garage winery"?has hauled in more than 50 international medals, including Intervin's "Best Winery of the Year" award in 2010. From grape to barrel, barrel to bottle, and bottle to kiddie pool, Pacific Breeze Winery's lavishes meticulous attention to each small-lot, handcrafted product. This diligence infuses every sip of robust reds and elegant whites, each of which begins its journey at premium vineyards across North America.
In 1993, Ms. Bonny Brown formed Grapefully Yours to bring the secrets of wine- and beer-making to the masses. Today, her dream is housed inside Grape Plus Wine Cellar, which is owned by Betsy Rong. Her staff walks customers through selecting and fermenting their chosen brew—a simple process that can treat palates to dozens of red, white, and fruit mist wines, which fuse juicy flavours such as banana and pineapple. An air conditioner's gentle breeze keeps mixtures cool on their journey from grape to wine before bottle-filling and corking machines ready potables to pour into wineglasses or empty ice-cube trays. Additionally, the staff can emblazon bottles with custom labels or dispense beer kits that let customers create bubbly lagers and ales.
Backyard Vineyards takes its name literally—it is located less than an hours drive from Vancouver. True to the laid-back atmosphere suggested by the name, visitors are welcome to lounge in the vineyard's covered gazebo and take in views of grape vines or visit the tasting room and shop, open 7 days a week.
Though it?s the newest winery in Richmond, LuLu Island Winery boasts a deeper history. The buisness gets its name from its location on Richmond Island, which was formerly known as "LuLu Island." According to local legend, LuLu was the name of the mistress of the man who first established the land, and the scandal eventually compelled the community to change the name. Today, the winery produces award-winning red and white wines, fruit wines, and ice wines on this historic spot.
LuLu?s resident winemaker has more than 30 years of experience crafting fine wines. Using grapes from the nearby Okanagan Valley, he churns out vintages such as the 2007 Riesling Chardonnay white ice wine, which snagged a gold medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships in 2011. LuLu?s Cabernet Franc, a peppery medium-bodied red wine, won a bronze medal at the International Wine Awards the same year. But it?s the sweet fruit wines, flavored with cranberry, blueberry, and passionfruit, that keep the locals and the humminbirds coming back.
Formerly Sanduz Estate Winery, Canada Berries has an advantage that no other winemaker in the world has: British Columbia's fertile land. The region's lush pastureland is ideal for growing berries, and the facility takes full advantage of its proficiency. Inside a natural cedar building in East Richmond, Canada Berries and its award-winning winemaker churn out a wide range of fruit and grape wines, from blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry to apple, peach, and rhubarb. These products not only taste delicious, they're also packed with health benefits, too. And it's not just local residents who can enjoy them: Canada Berries is located right near the Vancouver airport, meaning travelers can take some bottles home as souvenirs instead of filling their pockets with local rocks.