Fairmont Banff Springs celebrates 20th Festival of Wine & Food

Banff, Alberta, September 1, 2011 The Fairmont Banff Springs is set to celebrate a milestone and welcome pinnacle wineries October 21-23, 2011 at the 20th Annual International Festival of Wine & Food. This year’s theme of The Roaring 20’s will celebrate two decades of glamorous, educational and memorable festivals as guests embark on a three day journey of intimate tastings, demonstrations, innovative cuisine and luxury.  Taking the stage will be collections from Dom Perignon, Miguel Torres, Cedar Creek Estates, Clos Du Val, Maculan, Lagarde and Glenmorangie Whisky. All this, precisely paired with modern and regionally inspired cuisine in the grand Rocky Mountain setting of ‘Canada’s Castle in The Rockies’, The Fairmont Banff Springs

Headlining this year’s festival is host, and special guest Master of Wine James Cluer. The ‘Master of Wine’ title is considered the pinnacle of professional qualifications in wine. Since the first Master of Wine exams in 1953 there have only been 270 successful candidates, James being one of them. James along with our talented culinary team and the winemakers will reveal new trends in wine and food, discuss tested methods and traditions all the while sharing the best varietals and vintages the industry has to offer. (More about James Cluer below)

Food and wine lovers, from beginner to connoisseur, will not want to miss the chance to learn from the experts, sample rare varietals, while satisfying your taste buds with the finest culinary dishes featuring the best that local purveyors have to offer. Before the weekend wraps up guests will dine and dance in style at the black tie Gala Dinner with live entertainment and dancing in a luxurious ballroom setting. Experience a wine and food festival like no other with the all-inclusive package.

This package includes two-nights accommodation, breakfast daily, two intimate lunches complete with wine parings, Friday night Vintner’s reception and Saturday night Gala Dinner, six formal wine tastings, culinary demonstration and wine pairing, valet parking, and gratuities. This two-night package starts from $1,468 CAD (single occupancy) and $2,438 CAD (double occupancy). To reserve your package please call (403)762-1710 or email at bsh.wineandfood@fairmont.com

Interesting food for thought:

  • 6,000 – 7,000 wine glasses are used throughout the festival weekend
  • Approx 1,450 bottles of wine are poured throughout the weekend
  • Approx 10,000 people have attended the festival over the last 20 years



James Cluer Master of Wine began his career in the wine trade in 1988, working for an importer in Hong Kong. After attending a number of tastings he got hooked, and took his first WSET course at age 18. Barely legal. After University, he headed for Bordeaux and landed an apprenticeship at Milhade et fils. He worked the vintage in 1993, picking and treading grapes, and cleaning out barrels – putting his BA to good use…Eight years later James was still at Milhade but now in charge of global exports to 18 countries. He traveled the world meeting buyers, visiting other wineries and making contacts with key players in the wine industry. He also began studying wine and in 1997 completed the WSET Diploma.

In 1998 James enrolled in the Master of Wine (MW) program. The MW is considered the pinnacle of professional qualifications in wine. Since the first MW exams in 1953 there have only been 270 successful candidates. To prepare, James began working vintages at wineries in Australia and California, and touring more wine regions.  Eleven years later, James became a Master of Wine.

James and Sondra own and operate Fine Vintage, and spend their days running the WSET schools, looking after their consulting clients, running wine tours and wine clubs and writing for magazines. Fine Vintage Ltd. is an Approved Program Provider for the UK-based Wine and Spirit Education Trust, recognized as the gold standard in wine education. The WSET offers 3 internationally recognized wine qualifications – Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced wine studies. We also run our own Fine Vintage Certification courses which offer specialist knowledge on important topics.  Fine Vintage operates five WSET wine schools in Canada.

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