Friday morning in Parksville after Parksville Untapped started off uneventful enough. I started off my morning with an amazing breakfast in the Cedar Room at Tigh-Na-Mara before heading off to do my interview with Jenn on how Parksville Uncorked got started and what they hoped to achieve for the future
After the interview, I decided to take a soak at the mineral pool at Grotto Spa. If you haven’t been there before, I highly recommend it. Not only is it the epitome of luxury at a resort spa, with rain showers and the best tapas grill I’d ever been to where you’re able to sample endless tapas in nothing but a soft bathrobe and slippers; but the minerals inside the pool work miracles. I had been dealing with some shoulder pain from earlier on in the week, but after spending a good half an hour alternating between the mineral pool and the hot tub, my shoulder pain all but disappeared the day after. It was a great way to relax and spend some time pampering myself at one of my all-time favorite spas.
Once I got back to my suite, I prepared for Parksville Uncorked’s signature event, Swirl, by writing down a few more questions I was planning on asking both Wendy & Jenn. I also took another look at my media package to see what sort of wines would be available.
There were several wineries participating that I recognized, including Mission Hill, Jackson Triggs and Sumac Ridge, to name a few. But I was also surprised to see so many other BC wineries and wines being represented at Swirl. All told, over 150 different BC wines were poured at Swirl. 150! It was definitely an impressive number and I couldn’t wait to try as many as I could.
For an event that’s only four years old, it’s amazing how many wineries, food suppliers and breweries have jumped on board. And it’s got nothing to do with revenue. Parksville Uncorked is one of the few wine and culinary events where vendors aren’t charged a cent and neither resort has to depend on sponsorships. It’s entirely independent and one of the main reasons they’ve been able to run the festival in that way is because of the incredible partnerships. As Wendy told me while we chatted at Parksville Untapped, “the cornerstone to the success of Parksville Uncorked is partnership and not just the partnership between Tigh-Na-Mara and the Beach Club Resort. It’s the collaboration between so many partners such as wineries, restaurants, breweries and food suppliers. We are all working together to support not only tourism in the Oceanside Region but to showcase the diversity of our food & beverage.” And that’s what it comes down to, the reason Parksville Uncorked is so successful is because of the partnerships and the common goal of showcasing BC & the Oceanside region as one of the world mecca’s for food & wine.
Once I arrived at Swirl, I wanted to try as many different wines as I could, knowing that tonight’s crowd was anticipated to be twice as large as the one the night before. I noticed a few more familiar names of wineries on the list and decided to hit them up first as well as few others.
In total, I sampled from Muse, Summerhill, MooBerry Winery, Elephant Island Orchard Winery, St. Hubertus and Calliope Wines. And the wine that became the absolute love of my life was the 2010 Framboise from Elephant Island, followed closely by a tart yet delicious Cranberry wine from Mooberry. The framboise was just fantastic, it was the taste of sweet raspberries that turned tart as soon as I sampled a strawberry with the chocolate fountain. I’d also highly recommend the Gewurztraminer from Muse as well as St. Hubertus. The Rose from Summerhill also paired well with the amazing grilled cheese sandwich courtesy of Tigh-Na-Mara’s amazing chefs.
Overall, I loved Parksville Uncorked. It was an amazing firsthand experience of an upscale wine and culinary event in a region I’m only briefly familiar with. Personally, I can’t wait for next year and another opportunity to experience what Parksville Uncorked has to offer!
And what does the future for Parksville Uncorked look like? Jenn had this to say when I asked “Parksville Uncorked is truly a celebration of all things BC. The spectacular wines and amazing cuisine come together in this festival of tastes. Our goal is to continue to provide festival goers with the opportunity to experience the incredible products right in their own backyard.” And that’s definitely something I want to be a part of.
Cheers and always, happy reading.