The sun came out from behind the clouds. The sky went from dark to light, the temperature from chilly to warm, and suddenly it all came together. As the breakers crashed on the beach in front of the Best Western Tin Wis the mood lifting effect was immediate. There I was, with a skewer of grilled Humboldt squid and a sip of Anthony Buchanan’s Pinot Blanc in my glass and this "good wine" gal was in gourmet heaven at the Tofino Wine & Dine in Tofino, B.C.
Trip to Tofino, B.C.
When was the last time you visited Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park? A road trip in 2023 rekindled my love for this amazing beach destination. If you need a reason to visit, read on. Attending the Tofino Wine & Dine in June and the Tofino Oyster Fest in November were highlights in 2023 for this wine gal.
A World Class Event
As a wine lover, traveling, tasting and writing about wine is my job. It’s a fantastic lens with which to see the world. With so many incredible destinations available, it was a complete surprise to discover this epic event so close to home that checked all the “good wine gal” boxes. If it hadn’t been for the invitation, I might not have ventured to or recognized that Tofino has become a world class food and wine destination. As it happened, the Tofino Wine & Dine was and is a party for the palate with a menu of local Island purveyors and a gateway to BC wine for gourmet appetites from around the globe and right here at home.
The trip to get from Vancouver to Tofino requires about five hours and involves catching an early morning ferry from Horseshoe Bay crossing to Nanaimo. The drive from Nanaimo up to Parksville and then west to Port Alberni and through the mountains to get to the Pacific Ocean was lengthy but beautiful. The gray sky and rain drops felt appropriate for this West Coast adventure. The winding roads especially after Port Alberni were cause for driving defensively to navigate some of twists and turns especially when behind the semi-trailers bringing provisions to this out of the way community. Taking a "west coast chill pill" was and is the key to slowing down and the right frame of mind. Despite the discussions and preparations for rain and cold, we magically found ourselves in the sunshine and at a one of a kind event that was literally on the beach.
What to Expect
There were local restaurants, catering companies and purveyors offering life enhancing pleasure, fashioned on the slopes of the Tin Wis hotel's backyard and the waterfront of Mackenzie Beach. It was a banquet of grazing delightful dishes with some terrific BC and International wine. Sips could be paired with fresh shucked Effingham oysters, grilled tenderloin on roasted potato galette or beignets filled with rhubarb and pine cream to name a few. The feast was diverse, fresh and eclectic.
Stay & Play
Thanks to Tourism Tofino, Tofino Resort & Marina and the Tofino Wine & Dine festival organizers for making this possible. We stayed two nights at the Tofino Resort & Marina, which offered beautiful views of the harbor from guest rooms, where floor to ceiling glass doors opened onto sun decks. There was plenty of coffee and room for doing your morning yoga and mediation ritual. A highly recommended resort in the heart of Tofino. This is a tribute to the continued commitment to raise the profile of this world class destination of beaches, old growth forests, natural beauty and especially unique food and wine events. Mark your calendars for the 2024 Tofino Wine & Dine, June 1 & 2. You won’t be disappointed.
6 Top BC Wines Tasted at Tofino Wine & Dine 2023
In case you need more tempting, here’s a list of 6 top BC wines tasted at Tofino Wine & Dine.
2022 Anthony Buchanan Pinot Blanc. Anthony Buchanan is a minimalist winemaker with an estate winery and tasting room located in Kaleden, BC. Made from the vineyards of St. Hubertus in Kelowna and grower Reto Gebert this 100% Pinot Blanc comes from vines 20 plus years old, grown on sand, clay and gravel at elevations of 400 meters. Berries are hand harvested mid-October. After whole cluster pressing, the juice settles cool for 24 hours after which time spontaneous fermentation takes place. 50% is moved in stainless steel tanks and the rest in neutral oak barrels. After going through malolactic fermentation (creamy influence), the wines remain on the lees for 4 to 5 months with occasional stirring. Unfined and unfiltered.
You’ll find aromas of fresh delicate pear, ripe apple, citrus like lemon and grapefruit on the nose with similar flavours on the palate. It’s dry with excellent structure, and a balanced long, clean, juicy finish. Great with rich seafood dishes, clam chowder and semi-soft to semi-firm cheeses.
2022 Bella Buddha's Blend
2022 Bella Buddha's Blend. Bella Homestead is a sparkling wine house located in Naramata Village, established in 2011 that focuses on single vineyard, clonal expressions of Okanagan Valley grapes. Bella Homestead is a biodynamic farm focusing on regenerative agriculture and working towards a closed loop environment. Producing both traditional method and ancestral method sparkling wines, Bella is not to be missed. Here is Buddha’s Blend, named after Jay & Wendy’s bulldog. It is created in one tank of native ferment with topping up as required. After five months on lees this was bottled with zero dosage. 50% Chardonnay and 50% Gamay for a fresh and perky bubble with aromas and flavours of bright crunchy red berries like currant, tree fruit like green apple and cherry blossom. The finish is dry and balanced. Serve on its own or with a charcuterie board.
2022 Lock & Worth Cab Franc Rose
2022 Lock & Worth Cabernet Franc Grey Label Rose, Oliver
Light Glass. Limited Availability $21 at the winery.
Lock & Worth is located at 1060 Poplar Grove Road on the Naramata Bench. Focusing on a single vineyard, small lot offering. Wine lovers wait patiently for news of a release date every year. This Cabernet Franc rosé is made from vines planted in Oliver in 1997. Under the supervision of Matt Sherlock, juice undergoes three hours of skin contact during the press cycle. It is fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral oak barrels. The color has a delicate pink hue. It is dry with aromas and flavours of tart sweet cranberry, orange peel, delicate singed herbs and pink grapefruit. It’s fresh and bright. Unfined and Unfiltered. Vegan. It’s also a steal at $20 a bottle. On its own or with cheese, tapas and sushi.
2022 Nichol Vineyards Pinot Gris
2022 Nichol Vineyards Pinot Gris
Available at the winery and private wine stores near you. $22. Light Glass
Nichol Vineyards is located on the Naramata Bench, with vineyards sloping west towards the Okanagan Lake capturing light and heat for maximum sunlight exposure. This is one of BC’s pioneering vineyards, with first plantings in 1989. The 2022 Pinot Gris is clean and youthful with a pale lemon hue despite 36 hours of skin contact. This sip is dry with aromas of stone fruit like tart peaches, green apricot and citrus like pink grapefruit. It is dry with medium-body and flavours that echo the aromas. The palate is fresh, clean and rich. The finish is long. This is a great food wine especially with the Tofino Wine & Food festival offering.
2021 Sea Star Vineyards Bulla Maris
2021 Sea Star Vineyards, Bulla Maris
Available at the winery $28
Sea Star Vineyards is located on a 26 acre terraced parcel on Pender Island and famed for its star-fish labels. Recognized for its approach to reducing its carbon footprint, Sea Star is a leader in packaging choices, farming organic and contributing proceeds from sales to oceanic conservation initiatives. Bulla Maris is 100% Island Pinot Noir made using Charmat (tank) Method. It offers fresh aromas and flavours of creamy stone fruit and green melon. It is dry and balanced. Try it with fresh shucked Effingham oysters.
Synchromesh "Paddleshift" Riesling Spritzer
Synchromesh “Paddleshift” Riesling Spritzer
200ml Aluminum Cans. Available at the winery and private wine stores near you.
Synchromesh is located on McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls. Alan Dickenson is a minimalist winemaker applying an holistic approach to farming. Synchromesh has become synonymous with and a driving force behind Riesling in the Okanagan Valley with four distinct vineyards and three labels. It was unexpected to find this convenient can of 5.2% abv Riesling Spritzer. Tasting was a complete delight. The flavour profile is all Riesling, brought together with a light soda spritz to make the ultimate anytime sip. It’s fantastically well balanced, with great acidity and sweetness perfectly played. Dangerous in a word.
Book Tickets Now
Are you inspired? I hope you enjoyed the detail, pictures and wine recommendations. The wines are less available than the tickets to the 2024 Tofino Wine & Dine, but don't hesitate. Thank you for reading to the end. Please leave your comments below. Cheers to more BC Wine adventures.
I'm Good Wine Gal.
I blog about "good wine" and how to find it!
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