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Feb 11, 2009 02:38 PM

Winefest in Edmonton and Calgary

Has anyone been to Winefest in Edmonton or Calgary before?

We have never been to a wine festival and are not very familar with wine - we would like to check one out to see what it's like.


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  1. I've been in Calgary, a couple of times. I don't care for all-you-can-drink-for-a-high-fixed-price events, I think you inevitably end up surrounded by drunks, usually only a few but it's annoying. I much prefer cheap entry plus tickets-per-item priced events. In any case, usually after 10+ samples it's hard to remember what was good :-).

    These days I'd rather go to a place like Vin Room if I'm looking to try some different new wines I haven't seen before, price ends up about the same and you get to sit down and have it brought to you (as opposed to line up for it).

    1. Hall D at the Shaw is really nice. It looks over the River valley. I don't know how guided the wine tasting would be. Try it if you dislike it you might want to try some of the wine tasting classes offered locally instead.

      1. If you have never been, then go. It will be a good event to start picking up some wine knowledge, as well as to discover how and where you can further your knowledge.

        However, get there when the doors open and no later. That way you will be able to avoid some of the crowds, meaning you will be able to avoid lineups and leave early to avoid the inevitable crush of drunks.

        BTW Mrs Scary and I have taken a couple of courses from WSET when we were in Toronto. They are excellent

        This is the Toronto organisation that offers the courses, including a home study version (which seems a bit odd to me, but maybe worthwhile


        Too bad no one offers these courses in Calgary. The are quite good having been developed by Brits, the snobbiest wine snobs of all!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Scary Bill

          WSET is now offered at 100 wines in Calgary - I'm currently taking the begginer's level.
          So far it's excellent, i love it and I'm learning a lot

          1. re: pants

            That's good to know as I could not find a Calgary provider on their website. I may look into the next level course as they are excellent as you point out.

        2. I haven't been to Winefest, but it is run by the same people who do the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food thing, which is pretty horrible. The problems with that event were crowds(a good event should limit ticket sales) and low quality, uninteresting wines (do I really need to pay to sample Yellowtail and Little Penguin?).

          There are a lot of charity wine events going on in Edmonton right now, and you would probably be better off going to one of those. There's the California Wine Fair (expensive, something like 300 wines), an Italian showcase (also expensive, with a dinner) and a French one (I'm going to it - $45, about 100 wines, which is enough). I generally find this type of event better as a charity event rather than a money-maker.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Dan G

            Any website to the French one by any chance, Dan? Thanks!

            1. re: Anomay

              Fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation link to event poster is on right side of page. When I called for tickets, they told me it was their first attempt at a wine event and they were trying hard to present something good, with all the competition.

              I chose it because I'm off to France soon, so am in a French mood!

              1. re: Dan G

                hey thanks Dan, I love French wines, this would be a great chance to try some.

                I have been to the Cali Wine Fest, it was quite good, but hard to remember the great ones, my SO got hammered! I paced myself. But b/c you could not actually purchase wines there, I never got around to buying any.

                We were going to go to the Winefest until I found out that it was a lot of the same suppliers as at the RM food & wine, which I agree with your opinions of.

                Might be worth trying out the CF wine event, at least it is a fundraiser, if it is crappy then you know your money wasn't completely wasted.

                The Italian one is very expensive (around $150/per with dinner) could not justify it. $45 is doable tho!

            2. re: Dan G

              California Wine Fair is $55, not expensive (unless you go nuts at the silent auction). It's at Hotel Arts this year, March 4 in Calgary and supports the Calgary Opera.

              1. re: hsk

                the Edmonton one is $60 - which is a bit less than I thought it was, but still way more than the french one. sure, you get more choice, but...can't taste that much anyway.