Calgary Co-op’s Grape Escape tasting events are super fun (hello tasty wine samples) and super educational to learn more about the available wines and liquors that you might want to take home. The twice-a-year events bring together a wide assortment of vendors, wineries, breweries and distillers all together into one place. I’m always game to try new flavours, grow my wine knowledge and find new faves to add to my own collection.
What’s fun about wandering through the halls of Grape Escape is that you’ll get exposed to drinks you may never take a look at in the liquor store. It’s easy to bypass the endless rows of bottles at the store, but when a table is beckoning you with a variety of samples, that’s when you’ll find something new.
Call me surprised to learn that there are wineries just outside of Calgary! In a province that has a noticeable lack of grapes, it didn’t seem possible for a winery to exist in the Prairies. First up, I discovered Field Stone Fruit Wines, based outside of Strathmore, Alberta. While there are no grapes, they use a variety of homegrown Alberta crops including raspberries, strawberries, wild black cherries, black currants and saskatoon berries. Field Stone was Alberta’s first cottage winery leading the charge way back in 2005. Dessert wines are always a great way to end the meal and I’m most intrigued about turning them into cocktails and sangria (summer wine time!).
My other Alberta wine find was Spirit Hills Winery located out in Millarville, Alberta. The winery is home to a bee farm, with honey used in their grape-less wines. They also use local berries like black currants and saskatoons as well as local flowers like rosehips for scent and taste elements. Spirit Hills is a lively brand offering red, white, and rosé-style wines with cheeky names like Wild0 Rosy and Bonfire.
Grape Escape is coming up again March 25, 2017. Get ready to experience a great evening of wine and spirits and discover something new for your liquor cabinet. Tickets available online at Calgary Co-op or in store.