The Tofino Wine and Food Festival

photo: Black Rock Resort, Ucluelet, BC

Not that I needed another reason to visit the wild wet west coast of Vancouver Island.  My list is long.  For me, like countless others, Tofino and Ucluelet are a special place.  The sheer ruggedness of the coastline, the supreme power of the waves, the majesty of the forest.  I will never tire of the echo of crashing surf, the scree of the eagle and the sound of silence – at times, all at once.

Take that natural wonder and blend it liberally with friendly, open and down-to-earth (figuratively and literally) locals.  Plus – true to my heart – amazing food and drink.  From humble fresh fish tacos to gourmet multi-course wine dinners, my appetite is always happily satisfied.

My newest find?  Ucluelet’s Black Rock Resort.  A stunning, coast caressing architectural achievement.  At every turn, stealthily soothing gray slate and soul warming wood – harvested from the site.   Expansive windows affording ocean views at every turn, Miele appliances in the suite and an enthusiastic and attentive staff are a welcome sight after the drive in.  The use of locality isn’t limited to the fixtures – my skin has never felt so soft as it did after my blissful facial with Sooke’s Sea Flora organic seaweed products.  And incredibly talented Chef Andrew Springett’s nimble skill with local seafood led to the best halibut I’ve had in memory.   My wow moment?  When I found out their wine cellar, built into the rocks and cooled by Pacific waves, has a wall of windows overlooking the active surge channel crashing below. WOW.

So that adds to my growing list for heading westward-ho.  Also securely on said list is the annual Tofino Wine & Food Festival.  In its 8th year, this is such a singular event that I doubt it could be mistaken for any other festival on the planet. The main event – Grazing in the Gardens – is entirely en plein air, rain or shine, with tables of BC beverage and local food spread along the meandering rainforest paths of Tofino’s Botanical Gardens.  This year the sun gods shone down on us – a crowd of wine/beer/cider fans, food lovers, surfers, tourists, artists, wandering musicians, dogs, babies and chickens (yes – I saw chickens!).  The wines showed very well in the fresh coastal air, the food was plentiful and the smiles contagious.  I can’t really vouch for the chickens (were they dancing?), but it seemed everyone else shared my sentiment – this 8th edition was the best one yet.

I’m already booking off Tofino Wine Fest weekend for June 2011.  Seaweed facial, Springett’s seafood, sipping in the Gardens – I can’t wait.  It’s on the list!

Treve’s top sips from Grazing in the Gardens

Lake Breeze Pinot Blanc – perfumed apple and crisp citrus with a lovely mouthfeel, and bright acid.

Elephant Island Stellaport – Solera method fortified Stella cherries = luscious and rich inky cherries, dark chocolate, jammy pure pleasure.

Le Vieux Pin Moscato d’Osoyoos – aromatic and alluring perfumed grape, soft pear and sweet juicy peach, all spritzed up and citrus kissed.

Rocky Creek Ortega – true Island character.  Bright, crisp mineral, gooseberry and lime, zippy and refreshing.

Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

Comments are closed.