Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jasper to Calgary

After 4 nights in Jasper with hit the road down Icefields Parkway to Cochrane (just outside of Calgary). An unbelievable drive with 3 scenic photo stops, including Columbia Icefields. 
Once we arrived in Cochrane, we were guest of an old teammate of mine from Methodist University Golf Team (North Carolina). Here and I were the only Canadians. This is a great story. I haven't seen or talked my teammate, Tanice, in over 16 years. Last summer she visited Mission Hill winery and I was behind the tasting bar and I hear someone call my name. I look over and it took me a moment to realize who it was....OMG, jaw drop. What a surprise to see her, we stayed in touch and was invited to stay with her and her family.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

On the way to Jasper!!:)

After our visit to Kelowna we hit the road to Jasper with a quick overnight in Kamloops. Thank goodness we were destined for Jasper. We avoided the massive floods of Calgary (June 21st, 3013). 
Visiting Jasper, Alberta has been on the top of my bucket list for a long time now. Not sure why exactly....I am attracted to this natural, untouched area, a true part of Canada, and the chance to see wildlife like Elk, Bears and Moose. Still haven't seen a moose:(

Mt. Robson

Moose Lake

Jasper Park Lodge

Female Elk.....still no Moose sighting:(

Lake Beauvert at Jasper Park Lodge

Downtown Jasper Information Office

14th Hole at Jasper Park Golf Course

Chris at back end of Lake Beauvert

Okanagan Wine Region

In the 2012 season I was employed at Mission Hill Family Estate in Kelowna, BC. I started as a server at the Terrace Restaurant for the first 2 months then was promoted to Campus Sommelier for the rest of the season. I conducted private tours, media tastings and tastings of their premium Legacy wines: Oculus, Quatrain, Compendium, Perpetua, Martin's Lane. An unbelievable experience that helped build my wine knowledge for my upcoming ISG Diploma course. 
After moving to Vancouver for 7 months I have missed the winery, the familiarity of the wines and my wine friends. Time to go visit! My boyfriend Chris and I moved out of our Vancouver rental, overloading my SUV with all of our belongings. We took a beautiful drive on highway 3 to Osoyoos and visited wineries heading north to Kelowna.

Chris and I stopping at Lake Osoyoos for picnic dinenr

View from NK' Mip Winery

NK' Mip Winery. The most southern located winery in BC - stunning Rose and Cabernet Sauvignon!
La Stella - premium Italian style wines, lovely Rose and Merlot's

Orofino from the Similkameen Valley. Tiny little sub region in BC. Bone dry Riesling and gorgeous Muscato Frizzante.

Winery signage approaching to choose? Note sagebrush and desert terrain in this dry wine region.

Gorgeous Lavender outside Stoneboat winery. Chris' favorite Pinot Noir is from here.
Visit back to Mission Hill Family Estates on Lake Okanagan

Keystone and Bell Tower - a magical place to spend the season of 2012

Keystone with Mission Hill Pelicans

2nd dinner course at Mission Hill Terrace Restaurant: Panko Crusted Side Striped Prawns with Pork Hock Terrine, Radish and Borage Flowers

Flight of Oculus in the Oculus Salon....I am now the owner of the '04 - '09 vintages if anyone is interested in tasting the flight????

From Left to Right: Dos Equis (Troy from the Mission Hill shop that knew everything about anything), myself, Andy from my Level 2 ISG class and Astral Media, and my man. Chris.

"Andy's Angels" - part of our tasting group from Level 2. Myself, Andy and Kara (sommelier at Mission Hill)

Our gracious host's in Kelowna, Shannon and Matt from Experience Wine Tours. Matt and I were classmates in ISG Diploma Vancouver. After you go through a course like that you are bonded for life!

Okanagan Cherry Season!!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

My 1st Saber!!!

This was pretty cool and lots of fun. Once you do your first you are ready to saber anything that comes your way! This saber took place after our ISG Diploma mid-term. The exam included 5 Old World related essays and an additional 2 Cellar Management essays. We had 3 hours to write and our writing hands were cramping big play below.

International Sommelier Guild Diploma

Honestly, this course sucked the life out of me. Seven months of 8+ hours of lecture per week plus study/tasting groups.  Eight sections contribute to the final grade. I learned so many things that I didn't really care to know about and tasted too many wines (partly in contribution to my 10lb weight gain..Grrrr). Still waiting for my marks to come in so I can celebrate with some proper vintage bubbles:)

Burgundy Tasting

Alsace & Rhone Tasting

Tasting Event in Florida

Wines of Napa Valley Tasting

Hawksworth Restaurant at the Georgia Hotel: Burrata Cheese with Sea Urchin, tempura asparagus wrapped in nori and burnt nori vinaigrette...paired with SAKE!! Amazing!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vancouver, BC

2010 Vancouver Olympic Torches
I moved to Vancouver in November 2012 to commence my Sommelier Diploma and a work contract with Mark Anthony Group (MAG). At MAG I was a Fine Wine Associate working with Mission Hill, VQA and their International Brands. Living in Vancouver was a chance of a lifetime: walkable downtown, amazing restaurants and the Canucks!

View from my living room to North Vancouver
Canada Place by the Waterfront

Canucks Game vs Calgary
Vancouver Skyline: BC Stadium and Edgewater Casino (a great place to procrastinate studying!)
Vancouver Sea Wall, view to Pacific Ocean

Granville Bridge linking Downtown to Granville Island