WINEMAKERS, COME TO ALBERTA FOR THE MOOSE, SPRUCE, AND GOOSE
BY MATTHEW BROWMAN
If you’re from Italy, Spain, or France, you might not come to Alberta for avant-garde fashion. If you’re from California, you may not be keen on our beaches or cutting-edge technology. And if Australia is your home, our diving, café culture, and poisonous animals may not be worth your time.
But there’s a lot you can look forward to here when you visit for both work and play.
Work — In the mountains and cities, we have everything from world-famous restaurants and hotels to excellently executed casual pizza and tapas joints, as well as boutique wine shops and mid-sized retailers. This means hundreds of creative and enthusiastic people in our wine trade. They have passion, experience, and open minds, they follow and set trends, try new things, and take advantage of our bounty to share with their customers.
Many of them have travelled and worked around the world, bringing expertise and creativity to their programs. Their approaches are diverse, too: some are interested in sustainably sourced wines, others in deep and broad lists, and still others in focused value or region-specific offerings. Many allow corkage, a relatively recent phenomenon in Alberta liquor law—a sign of maturity in our market.
Play — While you’re here, you of course get to try our food our way. While beef is our heritage, the last couple of decades have seen an explosion of experimentation and ingredient sourcing. Fresh-daily seafood programs, local lake trout, vegetarian options, and local game meat like moose, caribou, and bison are on the menu. Along with our own Canadian ways to prepare it, we have world-class international influences like southern and west coast U.S., the gamut of Asian styles, European techniques, and South American approaches.
Of course, you may already know about the Stampede, as well as the pine-covered mountains for winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and sleeping in, and the summer hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. As for cannabis, we’ll leave that to you to decide.
Shop — Even though couture isn’t our strongest area, we do have some staples and other local specialties to take home and tell stories about. More iconic brands include Fluevog shoes and Sorel boots, Canada Goose and Arc’Teryx coats, Lululemon pants, and Roots sweatshirts. More local (and not for carry-on) include First Nations painting, carving, and leatherwork, Knifewear (a specialty Japanese knife shop), a range of craft breweries and distilleries, and locally made soap and honey.
All said, we love hosting you. It brings the contact our wine lovers crave being an ocean, continent, or mountain range away.