By Stephanie Trembath, Public Relations Manager
Not one to uncork a bottle of red on a weeknight, I consider myself something of a wine connoisseur—for someone on a budget, at least. With a surplus of friends who treat wine as a “show and tell” experience, I feel as if I have acquired an extensive list of wines that complement tastebuds while balancing the checkbook. I value wine the way some purchase lottery tickets. I have a list of favourites that I’ll break out the big bucks for; however, I also enjoy buying a variety of unknown, cheap bottles in case I hit a winner. There is nothing quite like a sweet white Riesling that cost only 11 dollars for a bottle, but tastes like it’s eight dollars a glass!
It was a blessing when, on July 19, the BC government announced a progressive change to our liquor policies. It allows customers to bring their own bottle of wine into participating restaurants. The Bring Your Own Bottle [BYOB] policy was introduced to allow customers more flexibility in fine dining, as they are able to pair their favourite wine with a select meal of their choice, for a more affordable price. A corking fee is charged in some restaurants to take care of the servers, and the wine is served the same as a bottle purchased from the restaurant. For connoisseurs, this experience allows for a wider selection, as franchised restaurants typically serve the stock list of reds and whites. It also allows those on a budget to get out and enjoy Vancouver nightlife more.
[quote style=”boxed”]The BYOB policy will hopefully encourage BC residents to support the province’s wineries, and complement wine culture in BC as a symbol of social health and prosperity. Europeans are known for their lavish means of living, often with glass of wine in hand.[/quote]
British Colombia’s two largest winery districts are Vancouver Island and the sunny Okanagan Valley. With over 200 wineries, BC produces award-winning reds and whites with delectable and distinct tastes. Family-owned or large corporate estates, wining in BC is a weekend holiday, a hobby, or a business to enjoy. The BYOB policy will hopefully encourage BC residents to support the province’s wineries, and complement wine culture in BC as a symbol of social health and prosperity. Europeans are known for their lavish means of living, often with glass of wine in hand. Their progressive policies and lifestyles are comparable to none, but idealized by many countries around the globe.
Earlier this year, Alberta and Manitoba altered their provincial laws to allow a corking fee in restaurants participating in the BYOB policy, with BC as the most recent to follow. Popular in New Zealand and Australia, where customers are permitted to bring in any alcoholic beverage— not just wine—the BYOB policy will hopefully be one of many progressive policies the BC government keeps in the future. Easing into that third (or fourth) glass of wine without having to worry about the dishes may be crushed by the price of your taxi cab home later, but at least you can relish in the price of wine without paying by the glass.
With that in mind, here are three of my favorite bottles for under $10:
Blue Nun Riesling
Perfect with: Everything. Seen with: Victoria Beckham. Dated back to the 1920s, popular in the 1950s, today is the butt-end of bad dinner jokes. Serve before, after, and during your meal. Tastes like juice and goes down just as smooth.
Ogio Pinot Grigio
Perfect with: Summer barbeques. Light and fresh, citrus undertones with a very dry aftertaste. Perfect for: Vegetarians. Best served with fruits and light salads. Also serve with pesto chicken or fish. Winner of World Value Wine Challenge 2011.
Copper Moon Malbec
Perfect with: your budget; a bottle can be under nine dollars! A brand of Peller Estates and produced in the Okanagan Valley. Smooth and zesty with hints of black pepper. Pairs well with: steak, legumes, cold dessert (ice cream). Best as the second or third bottle of the night after you’ve uncorked an expensive red.