Prince Edward Island’s New Festival of Wines 2013

The New Festival of Wines Prince Edward Island is a signature springtime event on the Island.  Now in its 19th year, this is the first time the PEI Liquor Control Commission has hired a private event management company, Versatile Management Group, to manage the Festival. Versatile has pulled out all the stops to make this a high-end event.

This year, there are 39 booths providing samples of 225 wines from twelve different countries.  Many of these wines are new to PEI and are not currently sold in local liquor stores.  These wines will, however, be available for sale at the onsite Wine Boutique during the Festival.  The New Festival of Wines also includes a juried wine competition where six judges, blind testing, chose the top wines and runners-up in five categories.  These wines are also available for sampling during the event.

If you are a wine connoisseur, or simply a lover of fine wines, you will not want to miss this premier event.  The Grand Tasting event allows patrons to explore and sample new wines and learn more about them.  For wineries or their agents, it’s a chance to introduce and present their wines.  Says Jennifer Caseley of Versatile Management Group, “depending on sales at the event’s Wine Boutique, those wines may eventually be listed products at local liquor stores“.

Yes, even Sangria made an appearance at this year’s Grand Tasting event!  In addition to samples, Verano Wines also shared their recipe for this tasty Spanish drink.

Sangria
Sangria

Look for attractively displayed booths at the event.

Each year, a wine-producing country is selected to have its wines featured for the event.  This year, it is France, one of the oldest and most renown wine-producers in the world.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be wines from other wine-producing countries – they are there too.

And, of course, our three Island wineries are participating as well – be sure to seek out the Matos, Newman, and Rossignol booths as you make your rounds at the Festival.

Island Wineries

On PEI, it’s almost inconceivable to have an event of any kind without food!  There is a whole new food element to this year’s Festival.  As you walk into the event, you are greeted with a Raspberry Point oyster from the PEI International Shellfish Festival and along with a glass of champagne.

Be sure to hang on to the wineglass and carry it with you throughout the evening as you will need it to sample wines as you tour the booths.

 

Each evening, there are food stations set up inside the venue.  These stations serve four different appetizers.  Last evening, Chef Andrew Smith of “Top of the Park” Restaurant at the Red Shores Racetrack and Casino created BBQ Pulled Chicken Bruschetta, House Spiced Turkey Meatballs, Seafood Fritters, and Lemon Curd Filled Phyllo Cups for patrons. This evening, Chef Jane Crawford from the Red Water Rustic Grille will tempt palettes with four tasty appetizers as well.

What would wine be without cheese!  The Dairy Farmers of Canada along with PEI’s award-winning Cows Creamery, are serving samples of their fine cheeses that pair so well with wine. This afternoon, there is an ancillary event (separate tickets required) sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada and PEI’s Rossignol Winery that will focus on the art of wine and cheese pairings.

Be sure to also check out Blossoms’ booth.  Blossoms is a new local business on the Island that specializes in making fresh fruit bouquets.  Their colourful and tasty offerings of chocolate dipped strawberries and other fruits were making a hit at the Festival last evening.

Organizers have thought of all the details!  They even offer a wine check so patrons do not have to carry around heavy bottles of wine they have purchased at the Wine Boutique.  Their purchases may be shipped for pick-up at any one of the PEI Liquor Control Commission’s 18 corporate retail outlets across the Island.

This two-day extravaganza is held at the Charlottetown Civic Centre on Kensington Road on May 24-25, 2013.  Tickets to the Grand Tasting event are $44. per person (taxes incl) – note you must be 19 and over to attend the Festival.  The event can accommodate over 1000 guests per evening and tickets are also available day-of at the Civic Centre box office.  The Festival’s hours of operation today are from 7:00pm – 11:00pm.  The Wine Boutique, run by the PEI Liquor Control Commission and from which wines may be purchased, operates from 3:00pm – 10:30pm today.  Tickets are not required to enter the Wine Boutique.

A complimentary shuttle service is available to transport patrons between the Civic Centre and the downtown area.  This service runs from 6:00pm – 11:00pm this evening.  Please enjoy the Festival but do drink responsibly and use the provided shuttle service or a designated driver or taxi.

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